China? Capitalist? Ha, ha
June 09, 2010 - "(China has) the second most millionaires. They have the second most billionaires . . . You cannot be communistic and have people who own property and acquire wealth." – Dr. William Skilling
In my previous columns about China, I've been a bit harsh.
I shouldn't be focusing on the fact that the Chinese government is still a brutal authoritarian regime that sadistically oppresses people, murders them, tortures them and denies them the most basic of civil liberties like freedom of speech, religion, assembly, press, etc.
That's way too negative and in Oxford these days, we're all about ignoring mean old reality and living in a big, blue turf-lined bubble of positivity.
I should be focusing on all the good stuff in China. Like the fact that China has a booming free-market economy.
Clad in their red ties with little dragons on them, the pro-China cheering section is constantly telling us these days that "Communism's out! Capitalism's in!"
Yes sir, the Chinese have traded the iron fist of Marx and Mao for the invisible hand of Adam Smith. Isn't that great?
I mean the Chinese government still forces women to get abortions as part of its Draconian family planning laws and sure, China has the highest female suicide rate of any country in the world, but hey, we can overlook minor stuff like that, especially when there's an opportunity to make a few bucks.
I take back all the bad stuff I've written, said and thought about China because they're capitalists now just like us.
China is tops in my book and furthermore . . . wait a minute, what's this? Oh, no!
Apparently, China is nowhere near as economically free and capitalistic as we're being led to believe by our leaders.
According to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom, China is ranked 140th out of the 179 countries surveyed. (The U.S. is #8.)
China received an overall Economic Freedom Score of 51 out of 100 (2.2 points lower than last year), which puts it in the "mostly unfree" range. Anything below a 49.9 is in the "repressed" range.
Now, don't go blaming these numbers on me. I'm just as angry as you are.
In fact, I'll bet these numbers are the product of some unreliable, disreputable source like . . . what? You're kidding?
Well, apparently the Index of Economic Freedom was created by The Wall Street Journal and The Heritage Foundation, a highly-respected conservative think tank in Washington D.C. Using a series of 10 economic measurements, the index's objective is to annually measure the degree of economic freedom in the world's nations.
But hey, numbers aren't everything, right? Let's see what the index said about China – "The state still directs most economic activity, and the Communist Party, while allowing some response to market forces, still maintains ultimate authority over economic decisions."
Oh. But at least they respect property rights. No?
According to the index, "China's judicial system is weak, and many companies resort to arbitration. Local officials can ignore court decisions with impunity. All land is state-owned, but individuals and firms may own and transfer long-term leases (subject to many restrictions) as well as structures and personal property. Intellectual property rights are not enforced effectively. Copyrights, patents, brand names, trademarks, and trade secrets are routinely stolen."
Well, I know for a fact the Chinese government is doing everything it can to encourage entrepreneurship. No?
"The overall freedom to establish and run a business is constrained by China's regulatory environment. Starting a business takes about the world average of 35 days, but obtaining a business license requires more than the world average of 18 procedures and 218 days. China lacks legal and regulatory transparency."
Say what you will about its brutality and oppression, at least the Chinese government is honest to a fault. No?
"Corruption is perceived as widespread. China ranks 72nd out of 179 countries in Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2008. Corruption affects banking, finance, government procurement, and construction most severely, and there is a lack of independent investigative bodies and courts."
Well, at least the index doesn't mention anything about China's lack of political freedom. Really? You're killing me here.
"China remains a one-party state in which the Communist Party maintains tight control of political expression, speech, religion, and assembly. Any social group that can organize on a large scale is deemed a threat, as are many individual dissidents."
You know what?
I don't care what a bunch of crackpots at some think tank and national newspaper say.
I believe my superintendent of schools.
If he says China's now a capitalist nation, I believe him because we've got to have more faith in our community leaders.
They're our Saviors.
They will be the ones to lead us to glory if only we let them do our thinking for us.
Stop questioning. Stop criticizing.
Reject the chaos and discord generated by truth and facts. Embrace the bliss and serenity that comes with surrendering your Free Will to the local leadership collective.
Whenever you feel that something's not right or you doubt our leadership, just begin chanting, "Oxford rocks! Oxford rocks!"
Your mind will be blank in no time.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.