As the West continues its increasingly-fast spiral down the toilet bowl of history, nervous sorts are eying the putative next superpower: China. What sort of a world would be one in which China was the equal of the United States, or even its superior? Did we fight a half-century-long Cold War to save the world from Soviet communism, only to wind up dominated by the Chinese variety of Communism?
We certainly don't enjoy watching the decline of America or the West in general, and a Chinese world would not be an improvement from our point of view. That said, though, the one thing we don't have to worry about from China is Communist world domination - at least, not in any way Karl Marx would recognize communism.
The fact is, China itself is no longer Communist in any way Mao would recognize. When it comes right down to it, it's more capitalist than we are.
Sure, Party leaders mouth allegiance to the old slogans, but they don't let slogans about equality get in the way of making money. They have completely sworn allegiance to Deng Xiaoping's dictum "To get rich is glorious;" their job, as they see it now, is to ensure that all Chinese do exactly that.
What a contrast to the environmentalist true-believers we find over here! How can the leader of a modern economy say with a straight face, as did Barack Obama,
Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.
Energy is the lifeblood of all modern technological nations. He might as well have said, "Under my plan, you'll all have a lot less blood in your bodies, and it'll be thinner."
China's Communists would never commit national suicide in that way, and for good reason: in the world's most populous country which has finally tasted the riches of modern technological life, they dare not do anything to stand in the way of their citizens getting more and more of the good stuff.
The Chinese people understand from whence they have come. They haven't been rich for generations like Americans, so they haven't forgotten what it's like when you literally have nothing and things get really bad. Any Chinese leader with the stupidity to threaten his nation's so very newly received pleasures would quickly find his throat slit.
In addition to the "revolution of rising expectations" which they've barely forestalled through economic growth, China has a worse problem, or depending on how you look at it, even stronger security. For all of China's many thousands of years of recorded history, the #1 problem confronting any ruler is how to feed the teeming masses. China has always been one of the world's most crowded places by the standards of each era, now more than ever.
Can China feed its hordes if it listens to the organic, sustainable-growth, all-natural elites of the decadent West? It flatly cannot. China avoids starvation solely by taking total advantage of every scientific discovery, every miracle of modern technology, every erg of fossil-fuel energy it can generate.
What would happen if the diktats of anticapitalism and no-growth world environmentalism were applied in China? Actually, we don't have to guess. We know, because the ideologies of anti-capitalism and anti-technology were applied in Cambodia in the 1970s under the reign of Pol Pot.
Wikipedia sums up his economic program thus:
During his time in power he imposed a version of agrarian socialism, forcing urban dwellers to relocate to the countryside to work in collective farms and forced labour projects, toward a goal of "restarting civilization" in "Year Zero." The combined effects of forced labour, malnutrition, poor medical care and executions resulted in the deaths of approximately 21 percent of the Cambodian population.
Is this not precisely the dream of the "small is beautiful" crowd - shutting down the great cities and sending everyone out to healthy country farms where they can grow their own food, fertilize it with their own wastes, and eat it right where it's grown?
The problem is not merely that most people have no idea how to farm and don't particularly want to learn, but that individual muscle-powered hand-farming is grossly inefficient. One farmer driving a modern tractor can produce more food than a hundred men with hoes - and you still have to feed those hundred men and their families.
The Chinese know this, even if our environmentalists have forgotten it. Modern China's leaders are old enough to have lived through the famine and starvation of Mao's "Great Leap Forward," or at least their parents did; they have no desire to return to those times.
The only way to set back the clock of technology and capitalism would be for them to do as Pol Pot did: murder at least 20% of the population if not more. In China, that's 260,000,000 people, pretty close to the total population of the United States.
No, the core competitive principles of capitalism have resoundingly proven their worth to everybody that matters in China; they will not soon be abandoning them as we're doing over here. We may have decided to ditch our history, our culture, our traditions, and our world power, but China's history of starvation and mass murder is entirely too fresh for them to fecklessly forget.
A world dominated by China will not be a particularly nice or altruistic one. But it won't be a Communist world either, nor a time of technological backwardness - if you're Chinese. Would that we could say as much here!