By: Paul Craig Roberts
April 19, 2012

Americans, the British, and Western Europeans are accustomed to thinking of themselves as the representatives of freedom, democracy, and morality in the world. The West passes judgment on the rest of the world as if the West is God and the rest of the world are barbarians in need of chastisement, invasion, and occupation. As readers know, from time to time I raise questions about the validity of the West’s extreme hubris. (See for example, the following articles: Washington’s Insouciance Has No Rival and Is Western Democracy Real or a Facade? )

China is often a country about which Washington’s moralists get on their high horse. However, China’s “authoritarian” government is actually more responsive to its people than America’s “elected democratic” government. Moreover, however incomplete on paper the civil liberties of China’s people, the Chinese government has not declared that it can violate with impunity whatever rights Chinese citizens have. And it is not China that is running torture prisons all over the globe.

For some time I have had in mind a realistic comparison of the two countries instead of the standard propagandistic comparison, but Ron Unz has beat me to the task (see, China’s Rise, America’s Fall and Chinese Melamine and American Vioxx: A Comparison ). Unz provides a chance for an education. Don’t miss it.

Unz has done an excellent job. Moreover, he cleverly understates the case for China and overstates the case for America so as not to unduly arouse the flag-wavers. Nevertheless, the conclusion is clear: The Chinese are less threatened by their “extractive elites” than Americans are by their counterparts.

Moreover, it is America’s, not China’s, extractive elites who are bombing, occupying, and droning other countries. As the bumper sticker says, “Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country.”

As for economic management, there is no comparison. Unz reports that during the past three decades China has achieved the most rapid rate of economic development in human history. Moreover, most of the new income has flowed into the pockets of Chinese workers, not to the one percent. While American real median incomes have been stagnant for decades, incomes for Chinese workers have doubled every decade for three decades. A recent World Bank report attributes more than 100 percent of the drop in global poverty rates to China’s rise.

In the last decade China’s industrial output quadrupled. China now produces more automobiles than America and Japan combined and accounted for 85 percent of the increase in the world’s production of cars in the past decade.

In 1978 the American economy was 15 times larger than China’s. In the next few years China’s GDP is expected to exceed that of the US.

This is heady stuff providing astonishing details of how poorly Americans are served by their elites.

America has failed, because political elites represent only the powerful special interests that write the country’s laws in exchange for funding the political campaigns of “lawmakers.” To divert attention from their failures, American elites point fingers at external scapegoats. China, for example, is accused of manipulating its currency. As Unz says, the scapegoating is political theater designed for the ignorant and gullible.

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