25 August 2023

Video of the day -- a dying nation

China's demographic implosion just gets worse and worse.  Large majorities of young people have decided against ever having children, and many don't even want to get married -- attitudes which until recently were almost unthinkable in Chinese culture.  In a society which, for most, offers only grueling work hours at meager pay, under the rule of a ghastly, corrupt, totalitarian state, it's hardly surprising that so many people no longer wish to start families or even contribute to the economy beyond the bare minimum necessary to survive.  The regime has destroyed most of the culture that once gave people a sense of meaning and connection.  With life brutal and empty, and no hope of a better future, there is little to work for or even live for.

I've always considered the regime's claims of spectacular economic growth over the last few decades to be exaggerated, and the predictions of China someday becoming the world's leading power utterly absurd -- but really, economic statistics are beside the point.  What matters is the fundamentals.  In the long run a paranoid surveillance state with strict controls over information and international contact, demographically strangled by the one-child policy of 1979-2015 and by a society into which no sane person would want to bring children, can never compete with the youthful dynamism, relative freedom, and openness to the world of countries like the US and India.


Blogger NickM said...

They banned Winnie the Pooh.


It is beyond parody.

It is also why I buy my 'tronics mainly from Korea, Japan and Taiwan. I mean not just because of the bear of very little brain but because that is truly indicitive of a deranged state. I have actually been accused of racism over this. Seriously. Some people utterly fail to see that my stance is against the government of the PRC and not against Chinese people. If I had a beef against the ethnically Chinese then surely that would include Taiwan? I have typed this on an ASUS laptop BTW. Made in Taipei.

I suspect the Chinese Politburo are terrified by the potential of India. Alas, I'm not sure they're right to be just yet. It isn't just Modi but the fact that Modi is kinda globally symptomatic of the rise of religio-nationalism (you've got it in the USA, Turkey has Erdogan, India has Modi, Russia has Putin and various forms of nationalism are all over Europe). It's the fashion. Fashions pass of course. And when this one does the PRC might discover India has the mettle to be the real Tiger of Asia. It's not just demographics (though they matter) but little things like the fact every Indian I have ever met who was at least college-level educated is fluent in English. And despite the gloomsters there is still a lot of gas in the Anglospheric tank.

25 August, 2023 03:20  
Blogger Mary Kirkland said...

It's no wonder that so many of the younger generation there don't want to get married or have kids.

25 August, 2023 12:18  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NickM: I heard about the Winnie-the-Pooh thing. Of course gangster-states tend not to have any sense of humor. Just imagine if the US or UK banned everything that mocked their politicians.

If you really hated Chinese people and wanted them to suffer, I can't imagine any more effective way to express that hatred than by supporting the current Chinese regime.

Modi is a lot like Trump or Bolsonaro -- a politician with authoritarian aspirations, but still working within the constraints of a democracy, however much they chafe at those constraints and however many abuses they still manage to commit. Like Trump and Bolsonaro, Modi will eventually pass from power, but India and its democracy will remain. Dictatorships are fragile and tend to collapse when the leader dies; democracies are much more resilient and not dependent on any one person.

Mary K: It's a nightmare. I can't imagine wanting to bring children into that, or submitting to the even more grueling life of overwork that would come with that responsibility.

25 August, 2023 22:54  
Anonymous Annie said...

This is a riveting and deeply sad video and commentary. It’s hard to fathom that the CCP leaders didn’t consider such a scenario when they introduced the “one child” policy years ago. Well, no, I guess it’s not hard.

It seems likely that the Chinese government will become more punitive, thereby further alienating young people, to no good end.

Not incidentally, the US Secretary of Commerce flies to China today with two goals: to seek trade agreements that will presumably assist both countries; and to prevent China from using its technological knowhow to endanger our national security.

I don’t know of a nascent democratic movement there such as in Iran, for example, or in the days of Tiananmen Square. The description of the young people’s alienation would suggest there’s little will to effect dramatic political change. But now would certainly be the time to try.

26 August, 2023 06:23  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It's very sad indeed. China had such potential. Even after the horrors of the Mao era, a more risk-taking liberalizing government might still have been able to take the country down the same path as Taiwan and South Korea. But the regime now can't seem to imagine any way to do things except brute force. It's too set in its ways. As the system becomes more coercive and punitive, people will probably just tune out more and try to focus on their own inner lives, as many people in the later USSR did.

The results of the one-child policy are a stark warning to any other bunch of politicians with similar ideas.

The best way to prevent China from endangering our national security is to disengage from it as much as possible. Their science and technology are still completely dependent on ripping off that of the democracies. But any country or company that remains heavily invested in China is likely to get sucked down with it.

There is clearly a lot of anti-regime sentiment -- the protests against the covid lockdowns showed that. Whether there's much understanding of democracy is hard to say. It's a population almost as isolated and brainwashed as North Korea.

26 August, 2023 08:42  
Anonymous Reaganite Independent said...

This could come apart faster than anyone thought. Unfortunately makes a move on Taiwan more likely, as Putin attempted to legitimize his failed rule. I guess that makes the result in Ukraine all the more important.

28 August, 2023 23:12  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I often think about that. Most experts on China say a collapse of the regime is impossible, but they said the same about the Soviet state, right up until the point when it happened. Certainly the anti-lockdown protests showed a rebelliousness no one expected.

I hope the regime is learning from Russia's humiliation in Ukraine. Certainly they must realize that invading across a hundred-mile strait creates even greater risks of failure.

29 August, 2023 02:35  

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