19 March 2009

on the future of China

I have always thought that the peaceful revolution in Eastern Europe in the 1990s was a result of the good and free education systems in the countries of the communist block. Marxian theory states that a dictatorship is necessary in order to prepare a nation for a completely free communist social order. The idea is that the dictatorship provides the political stability to allow for economic and social progress. Once the people are well educated enough, a peaceful, free (and communist) state will emerge. As ironic as it sounds, Marx was right about the freedom and peace, but he was wrong about the communism. It turned out that the people of Eastern Europe were smart enough to start peaceful revolutions and take government into their own hands, but the system adopted was social capitalism, not communism.

When we apply this logic to China, what will our predictions be? Does China have an education system which will give all citizens a fair start and thereby prepare an eventual liberalization?

The Taipei Times writes what Scott Rozelle of Stanford University has to say about this:
China has the entrepreneurs and the money to make this happen, Rozelle said, but it remains critically weak in one respect — education. While in Taiwan, South Korea and Japan education from kindergarten to grade 12 was almost universal by 1978, in China today, less than 2 percent of Chinese in rural areas receive higher education and only 8 percent of junior high graduates go to senior high.

Education at a rural high school costs US$160 a year, which, in US terms, is the equivalent of sending a child to an Ivy League university. Adjusted for purchasing power, putting a child in high school represents decades of work for an ordinary worker in rural China, he said.
Look at this: even High School in China is capitalistic and therefore unaffordable for most. This looks like the country is bound for a couple more decades of evil dictatorship! (And even if they were to change the education system now, it would take at least one generation of people growing up for the changes to take effect... )

It's true that China has some very good universities and probably a lot of educated people, too. But what is this compared to hundreds of millions who lack proper education? And a government who relies un manipulating those uneducated masses in order to remain in power? Also China seems to have a general mentality of the "right of the stronger" as opposed to at least some spirit of community that was present in the communist regimes of the Eastern Block. But let's see what the future brings...


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