more chinese (fractal) history .
it’s the chinese economy that is the subject of attention these days… and rightly so. while worst case scenarios picture the usa looking something like Afghanistan on a bad day within a few years, despite its problems, china presents a welcome alternative vision.
there has been a major correction.... the proletariat revolution has altered the structure of china at the deepest levels but old (fractal) patterns die hard. the elders of the land know what they are doing. I am confident of it. and have much confidence in them.
so .. what has been the traditional economic structure of china? how does it relate to the present (mind-blowing and environmentally catastrophic) growth model ? and when the revolution is over, what is the synthesis going to look like?? I think these are fair enough questions. probably not that easy to get the head around in one night. but here goes with the basics and some observations at least.
chinese society is traditionally divided into 4 classes. at the top is the scholar or public official as part of the structure answerable to the son of heaven..
then there is the peasant.. agriculturist.. then come the merchant and artisan who seem to compete not to be last. (Confucian society was at least formally anti-commercial--- viewing the profit motive as disharmonious in society/not respectable.)
the seeds of the system’s demise were in the problem that the merchant or landlord class tended to acquire all the peasants’ property leading to huge disparities in wealth. and the system collapses under the stress of peasants being reduced to serfdom and their revolt. over and over again... (han , tang, ming.)
unchecked landlordism... has led to the peasant having the final say.
land tenure became transformed during the qing dynasty when the smart money started going to trade and increasingly sophisticated financial services…it led to small land-holdings and petty-landlords.. obviously the trend has accelerated in more recent times.
the 4 traditional class distinctions broke down.
1949 was more a coup de grace. the revolution began a long time before then.
so you get a maoist/communist system where landlordism is ideally not going to be a problem.. but .. instead you have the problems caused by social upheaval.. the huge bulk of the population drifting to the city .. and an organic restructuring of society/economy.. with cadre still on top (or vying with merchant) merchant coming next, then artisan and finally peasant put on the bottom of the pack. suddenly there is no longer a peasant class with the clout it once had.
that seems to be what has happened. its what basically happened in the industrial revolution in Europe.. I guess ;; farmers have some political muscle.. but nothing like they once did..
since the industrialization of agriculture, things have changed. there is no need for 90% of the population to be engaged in growing food. its more like 9%. difficult to see a going back.
one point that is seldom made is that a source or even the source of economic prosperity is in innovation.. this has certainly been true in the usa.
that it is true also of china is ignored.. mostly by the chinese themselves though it is changing.
paper.. about 1000 years before it arrived in Europe. printing, gunpowder. the use of cast iron.. were innovations that have transformed one economy after another that has been able to harness them. the robe of the mandarin has certainly spent time in the laboratory before.
chinese simply lost the initiative in the qing dynasty. these things go around in cycles. (fractal time)