Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

How Social Darwinism Made Modern China [American Conservative] #China #US

A deft flick from the US to suggest it is Chineseness, that is foremost responsible for China’s latest rise.

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How Social Darwinism Made Modern China
A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.
Source – American Conservative, published March 11, 2013

Source - American Conservative, 2013

Source – American Conservative, 2013

During the three decades following Deng Xiaoping’s 1978 reforms, China achieved the fastest sustained rate of economic growth in human history, with the resulting 40-fold rise in the size of China’s economy leaving it poised to surpass America’s as the largest in the world. A billion ordinary Han Chinese have lifted themselves economically from oxen and bicycles to the verge of automobiles within a single generation.

China’s academic performance has been just as stunning. The 2009 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests placed gigantic Shanghai—a megalopolis of 15 million—at the absolute top of world student achievement.1 PISA results from the rest of the country have been nearly as impressive, with the average scores of hundreds of millions of provincial Chinese—mostly from rural families with annual incomes below $2,000—matching or exceeding those of Europe’s most advanced and successful countries, such as Germany, France, and Switzerland, and ranking well above America’s results.

These successes follow closely on the heels of a previous generation of similar economic and technological gains for several much smaller Chinese-ancestry countries in that same part of the world, such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, and the great academic and socioeconomic success of small Chinese-descended minority populations in predominantly white nations, including America, Canada, and Australia. The children of the Yellow Emperor seem destined to play an enormous role in Mankind’s future.

Please click here to read the rest of the article at its source.

Although these developments might have shocked Westerners of the mid-20th Century—when China was best known for its terrible poverty and Maoist revolutionary fanaticism—they would have seemed far less unexpected to our leading thinkers of 100 years ago, many of whom prophesied that the Middle Kingdom would eventually regain its ranking among the foremost nations of the world. This was certainly the expectation of A.E. Ross, one of America’s greatest early sociologists, whose book The Changing Chinese looked past the destitution, misery, and corruption of the China of his day to a future modernized China perhaps on a technological par with America and the leading European nations. Ross’s views were widely echoed by public intellectuals such as Lothrop Stoddard, who foresaw China’s probable awakening from centuries of inward-looking slumber as a looming challenge to the worldwide hegemony long enjoyed by the various European-descended nations.

The likely roots of such widespread Chinese success have received little detailed exploration in today’s major Western media, which tends to shy away from considering the particular characteristics of ethnic groups or nationalities, as opposed to their institutional systems and forms of government. Yet although the latter obviously play a crucial role—Maoist China was far less economically successful than Dengist China—it is useful to note that the examples of Chinese success cited above range across a wide diversity of socioeconomic/political systems.

For decades, Hong Kong enjoyed one of the most free-market, nearly anarcho-libertarian economic systems; during that same period, Singapore was governed by the tight hand of Lee Kuan Yew and his socialistic People’s Action Party, which built a one-party state with a large degree of government guidance and control. Yet both these populations were overwhelmingly Chinese, and both experienced almost equally rapid economic development, moving in 50 years from total postwar destitution and teeming refugee slums to ranking among the wealthiest places on earth. And Taiwan, whose much larger Chinese-ancestry population pursued an intermediate development model, enjoyed similar economic success.

Despite a long legacy of racial discrimination and mistreatment, small Chinese communities in America also prospered and advanced, even as their numbers grew rapidly following passage of the 1965 Immigration Act. In recent years a remarkable fraction of America’s top students—whether judged by the objective winners’ circle of the Mathematics Olympiad and Intel Science competition or by the somewhat more subjective rates of admission to Ivy League colleges—have been of Chinese ancestry. The results are particularly striking when cast in quantitative terms: although just 1 percent of American high-school graduates each year have ethnic Chinese origins, surname analysis indicates that they currently include nearly 15 percent of the highest-achieving students, a performance ratio more than four times better than that of American Jews, the top-scoring white ancestry group…

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Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Communications, Culture, Domestic Growth, Economics, Government & Policy, Greater China, History, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Modernisation, Overseas Chinese, Peaceful Development, Politics, Public Diplomacy, Reform, Social, Soft Power, Strategy, Tao Guang Yang Hui (韬光养晦), The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

One Response

  1. Godfree says:

    Yes, it couldn’t possibly be the government of China that’s responsible for all those good things. Perish the thought!

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