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    (Original post by CherishFreedom)
    Why are you examining before the industrial revolution given that the OP was talking about modern history and the future? The civil war and cultural revolution happened in the mid-20th century whereas the industrial revolution was back in the 18th-19th century.

    The Chinese civil war and Cultural Revolution were very modern history and has real bearing. Their aftermaths form the daily lives of ordinary Chinese citizens.
    You said 'history has shown that Chinese people fight with each other and suppress intellectual pursuits'. If you meant one historical event has shown this then your point is even more misguided. The leaders of the cultural revolution are nearly all dead now and the new generation of Chinese people is growing up in a society unimaginable to the peasants of pre-WW1 China. Therefore I don't think it reasonable to expect them to behave in the same way as their fathers and grandfathers, because the actions of the latter were informed by horrific hardships and suffering that the new generation has not experienced.

    You are suggesting that I 'do not understand history very well'. To be quite frank I don't think you are at all familiar with Chinese history, let alone modern Chinese history. My grand parents survived the civil war and escaped Maoism seeing its impact on the daily lives of ordinary citizens. The fact that you are trying to counter our firsthand observation without even visited China is like telling a Holocaust survivor that he doesn't know the Holocaust very well.
    Let's have a little summary of the path this debate has followed:

    1. I tried to defend the Chinese people from your accusation that they are incapable of innovation and doomed to a future of pollution, corruption, civil war and ultimately the destruction of the entire country.

    2. You then argued that a corrupt society will over time gravitate towards individual freedom, which I agreed with, although I said that it is not a hard-and-fast rule, and that a corrupt society can maintain itself for a long time. I said however that China has the potential to at least become a more developed and cleaner nation than it is currently, as it is already cleaner and more developed than other similar countries, and is in some ways heading in the right direction.

    3. You then introduced the current dispute: that despite your previous claim that all countries gravitate towards progress, it is nevertheless impossible for China to clean up and head in the right direction due to its recent history of civil war and anti-intellectualism. I said that this is not necessarily true, because many developed countries have been through very similar situations but have managed to deal with these problems.

    4. And then you started claiming, oddly, that I was 'insulting the Chinese people', because I argued that China's problems are not insurmountable and that not all Chinese people are intractable fanatics who are intent on stifling all signs of progress.

    And now you are trying to compare yourself to a Holocaust survivor on the basis that your grandparents suffered through the Cultural Revolution (some of my grandparents also lived through similar atrocities for the record). You are not in the slightest some sort of Chinese Holocaust survivor because of what your grandparents suffered, and even if you were, that does not give you a monopoly on knowledge of history.

    Then I must tell you it is my perspective, my family, and those of my friends and their families, that from us witnessing the aftermath of the Chinese civil war we determined that the civil war was harmful to the Chinese society and technological advancement. More than 6 million people were killed and starvation was widespread, intellectuals were summoned to the battlefield. With the utmost respect, I would like to ask what personal experience you have had that qualifies you to make such a judgement on Chinese history?
    I might ask you the same question given that you have openly admitted all your 'experience' has come from talking to the people who actually experienced these things, not from experiencing them yourself.

    I never claimed to make judgments about Chinese history, what I said was that other countries whose histories I have studied at university level have been through comparable situations and have managed to come out of them, sometimes quite quickly, and that indeed China right now is notably more developed than India and other similar countries in nearly all ways, which was not true even 30 years ago, so the damage caused by the Cultural Revolution clearly was not totally irreparable. China is changing and has already drastically changed for the better in many ways.

    You said that you can't compare China to India as you don't know much about India - well I know a fair amount about India, and I know the basics of Chinese history and current affairs, and I have studied German history at university level which is what I was actually discussing before. What exactly do you dispute about my knowledge of Chinese history? I never said that China did not suffer horribly during the Cultural Revolution. It was your interpretation of German history that I was addressing before, I never questioned anything you said about Chinese history.

    If I was using a contrast context, it should be read it as:

    "[In Nazi Germany], intellect is not frowned upon and the uneducated class does not become the ruler of a nation."

    By saying that the uneducated class does not become the ruler does not mean that the educated class becomes the ruler. There are different degrees of education, you don't call the majority of the public educated or uneducated because most are just moderately educated.
    Fair enough, although you could have said 'least educated' to make that clearer. Anyway as I have said, many leading Nazis were very highly educated so I was wrong to use that line of argument.

    It doesn't affect my main argument, which is to agree with the main topic of this thread, that China and other similar countries will eventually realise their potential to become great economic powers and eventually centres of innovation, and indeed China specifically has already showed signs of doing this, despite the problems it has had in the past. It may take a little longer than some expected, but I don't think China is a unique case as regards corruption and pollution and I don't think its culture is uniquely incapable of achieving progress.

    If it does fail to achieve progress, it will still have accomplished much greater things than many other similar countries, and there is a good chance that despite setbacks, it has already laid the foundations for a much more innovative and successful country than recent history would suggest, because the current generation is not the same as past generations, growing up as they are in a prosperous country with great educational opportunities, especially those who study in the UK and US.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    And that also ushered in the industrial revolution across the globe, providing those countries with the ability to pick themselves up.
    Only inasmuch as it served the empire. An example is India - the extensive railway network was developed, because it allowed rapid deployment of troops to all areas and the movement of resources such as tea and raw materials rapidly to the ports for shipment to Britain. However, no sustained effort to industrialise or modernise India generally was made until after independence.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Only inasmuch as it served the empire. An example is India - the extensive railway network was developed, because it allowed rapid deployment of troops to all areas and the movement of resources such as tea and raw materials rapidly to the ports for shipment to Britain. However, no sustained effort to industrialise or modernise India generally was made until after independence.
    So you're saying a good thing is bad if the reasons behind it are bad? Interestingly I find the people proudest of the Empire are those from the colonies, but that's hardly surprising when we're practically taught that the empire was evil and we should be massively remorseful over it.
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    So you're saying a good thing is bad if the reasons behind it are bad? Interestingly I find the people proudest of the Empire are those from the colonies, but that's hardly surprising when we're practically taught that the empire was evil and we should be massively remorseful over it.
    It's a mixed picture. You can see more than a touch of Stockholm Syndrome in the conversation of some people from former colonies. You also have to be aware that in every part of the Empire, the British administrators practised divide and rule policies, advantaging particular racial, religious or social groups over others in order to maintain their power. The result is often that the people from the advantaged group feel nostalgic for the 'good old days'. Also of course independence wasn't always a good experience politically and people from countries run as personal fiefs of deranged klepto-dictators are obviously going to experience some longings for the old imperial days.
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    (Original post by typonaut)
    A "fact" often used by the LEAVE campaign to indicate the UK's apparent position/strength in the world is that it is the fifth largest economy in the world. All indicators appear to show that this is true. But the questions I ask myself are:

    Wasn't the UK the largest economy in the world at one time?

    If we are declining in the world ranking how fast is that decline, and what is our ultimate position?

    There's a Wikipedia page that helps us out when establishing the initial facts

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._GDP_(nominal)

    You'll see that the UK is consistently fifth, but also, in the rankings that show the EU as a whole the EU is vying with the USA for the top slot.

    So, is there any data that shows the historical position? I found this wikipedia page that shows data back to 1990 - which must be wrong because it is at odds with the page referenced above (shows the UK in 10th position):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_...untries_by_GDP

    This page shows the UK historically between third and eighth place - essentially a decline since 1950:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_...s_by_GDP_(PPP)

    It also projects that the UK will be in 7th place by 2030.

    This article in The Atlantic suggests reasons for this change, and the likely long-term position (make sure to read parts II and III):

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...-graph/258676/

    I think that it is essentially saying that global economic position is linked to population size, and the development of technology. As technology spreads to less developed economies the balance shifts to populations size. That is, the UK has had a distinct advantage in being at the centre of the industrial revolution, that has enabled it to grow well beyond its rank in population - but that advantage is lost as technology spreads elsewhere. This can be seen most clearly in the growth of China over the past 20 years.

    If this premise is true (and I think it is hard to argue that the size each state's economy is not a factor of population - given that all those states ranked above the UK have larger populations), what is the UK's eventual position (if the technology advantage largely disappears)?

    Well, again, Wikipedia can give us the answer:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._by_population

    The UK is placed 22nd in this table. I think that is realistically our global economic ranking in the future - how long it takes to get there is another debate, perhaps 50 years, perhaps 100. But how long to get to tenth, or 15th - 15-20 years? Perhaps 30?

    Look at another "fact", the EU's population is 508 million, in the table referenced above that would place it third overall (even without the UK it would be 440 million, still well above the USA). Doesn't "biggest combined economy in the world" (the EU) for the next 10 years or so sound pretty good? Or "third largest combined economy" (the EU) if rankings are tied to population? Sounds a lot better to me than "22nd largest economy".
    (Original post by ODES_PDES)
    Some very good points.
    Good research
    I' voting in but this is biased and wrong.

    1) British Empire was biggest, not UK.
    2) We aren't declining, we are stalling.
    3) Economist are always wrong... if we listen to them we'd be 9th by 2003

    I do think its better to be a USE though.
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    (Original post by CherishFreedom)
    Why are you examining before the industrial revolution given that the OP was talking about modern history and the future? The civil war and cultural revolution happened in the mid-20th century whereas the industrial revolution was back in the 18th-19th century.

    The Chinese civil war and Cultural Revolution were very modern history and has real bearing. Their aftermaths form the daily lives of ordinary Chinese citizens.

    You are suggesting that I 'do not understand history very well'. To be quite frank I don't think you are at all familiar with Chinese history, let alone modern Chinese history. My grand parents survived the civil war and escaped Maoism seeing its impact on the daily lives of ordinary citizens. The fact that you are trying to counter our firsthand observation without even visited China is like telling a Holocaust survivor that he doesn't know the Holocaust very well.



    Then I must tell you it is my perspective, my family, and those of my friends and their families, that from us witnessing the aftermath of the Chinese civil war we determined that the civil war was harmful to the Chinese society and technological advancement. More than 6 million people were killed and starvation was widespread, intellectuals were summoned to the battlefield. With the utmost respect, I would like to ask what personal experience you have had that qualifies you to make such a judgement on Chinese history?




    You are reading this in a black or white context. In reality there are grey areas.

    "[Nazi Germany] did not engage in cultural suicide such as the 'Cultural Revolution', in which intellect is frowned upon and the uneducated class becomes the ruler of a nation."

    If I was using a contrast context, it should be read it as:

    "[In Nazi Germany], intellect is not frowned upon and the uneducated class does not become the ruler of a nation."

    By saying that the uneducated class does not become the ruler does not mean that the educated class becomes the ruler. There are different degrees of education, you don't call the majority of the public educated or uneducated because most are just moderately educated.
    The sick cultural vandalism that took place is really really disgusting. Both Japan and China have modernised and lost touch with the roots, but you can see elements of East Asian cultural characteristics (politeness, deference to elders, caring for elders etc.) survive clearly in Japanese society whereas I don't think they are nearly so strong in China.

    Have you ever seen the China Uncensored YouTube series? Watching it would be really fruitful for you.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Only inasmuch as it served the empire. An example is India - the extensive railway network was developed, because it allowed rapid deployment of troops to all areas and the movement of resources such as tea and raw materials rapidly to the ports for shipment to Britain. However, no sustained effort to industrialise or modernise India generally was made until after independence.
    Stop being on my side :angry: Go back to talking about ridiculous political correctness topics :angry:
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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    So you're saying a good thing is bad if the reasons behind it are bad? Interestingly I find the people proudest of the Empire are those from the colonies, but that's hardly surprising when we're practically taught that the empire was evil and we should be massively remorseful over it.
    As someone from a British Empire colony, I can tell you that the vast majority of people who hate the British Empire are Brits themselves. Only SJWs though as they tend to hate everything about Britain as an extension of the fact that they hate themselves. And despite what FoS condescendingly suggests, the fact a lot of people in the colonies feel fondly of it is not down to Stockholm Syndrome lol. Incredibly as it may be for her, the dumb dumbs out there actually have functioning brains and they can use these brains to think for themselves.

    Of course the empire was maintained as a cartel for the rich elite in Britain (and supported by taxing the rest of the British) but - like you mentioned - this does not mean it did not have positive side effects. Technology etc is one of these things but also anybody who is brave enough to be honest about it will acknowledge that British culture is far superior to the existing cultures of the time.

    No? BRB, reverting to caste systems, slavery and 12th century life expectancies......just because, lol.
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    (Original post by Copperknickers)
    You said 'history has shown that Chinese people fight with each other and suppress intellectual pursuits'. If you meant one historical event has shown this then your point is even more misguided. The leaders of the cultural revolution are nearly all dead now and the new generation of Chinese people is growing up in a society unimaginable to the peasants of pre-WW1 China. Therefore I don't think it reasonable to expect them to behave in the same way as their fathers and grandfathers, because the actions of the latter were informed by horrific hardships and suffering that the new generation has not experienced.
    The Cultural Revolution and the Civil War were two separate events, they both happened not so long ago, in the last century. The civil war was the result of a competition for power between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. The cultural revolution was initiated by the Communist Party after winning the civil war. No so long ago, in 1989, the very same Communist Party used tanks to run over democracy protesters in Tienanmen Square. These are very recent events. These happened. You can feel all you like about whether I am fair to state that they have a tendency to fight against each other but these are the facts. I am sure that if I ask any third-party whether this is true, they would agree with me.


    Let's have a little summary of the path this debate has followed:

    1. I tried to defend the Chinese people from your accusation that they are incapable of innovation and doomed to a future of pollution, corruption, civil war and ultimately the destruction of the entire country.

    2. You then argued that a corrupt society will over time gravitate towards individual freedom, which I agreed with, although I said that it is not a hard-and-fast rule, and that a corrupt society can maintain itself for a long time. I said however that China has the potential to at least become a more developed and cleaner nation than it is currently, as it is already cleaner and more developed than other similar countries, and is in some ways heading in the right direction.

    3. You then introduced the current dispute: that despite your previous claim that all countries gravitate towards progress, it is nevertheless impossible for China to clean up and head in the right direction due to its recent history of civil war and anti-intellectualism. I said that this is not necessarily true, because many developed countries have been through very similar situations but have managed to deal with these problems.

    4. And then you started claiming, oddly, that I was 'insulting the Chinese people', because I argued that China's problems are not insurmountable and that not all Chinese people are intractable fanatics who are intent on stifling all signs of progress.

    And now you are trying to compare yourself to a Holocaust survivor on the basis that your grandparents suffered through the Cultural Revolution (some of my grandparents also lived through similar atrocities for the record). You are not in the slightest some sort of Chinese Holocaust survivor because of what your grandparents suffered, and even if you were, that does not give you a monopoly on knowledge of history.
    Then quote me where I said 'they are incapable of innovation and doomed to a future of pollution, corruption, civil war and ultimately the destruction of the entire country.' I think you have mistaken a lot of what I said. I noted the tendency to gravitate towards personal freedom, this implies it is not a hard-and-rule. I did not say that China will never progress, I simply noted that they have regressed in the last century and as of right now, they do not have an innovation culture. You don't have to be an expert to know that China is not at the forefront of innovation. You have taken so much of what I said out of context, assuming that there is something to defend the Chinese on when in fact I am giving a very fair view and description of its history. My description of China is accurate and I have made my case on why they are not progressing the correct direction right now.

    I might ask you the same question given that you have openly admitted all your 'experience' has come from talking to the people who actually experienced these things, not from experiencing them yourself.

    I never claimed to make judgments about Chinese history, what I said was that other countries whose histories I have studied at university level have been through comparable situations and have managed to come out of them, sometimes quite quickly, and that indeed China right now is notably more developed than India and other similar countries in nearly all ways, which was not true even 30 years ago, so the damage caused by the Cultural Revolution clearly was not totally irreparable. China is changing and has already drastically changed for the better in many ways.

    You said that you can't compare China to India as you don't know much about India - well I know a fair amount about India, and I know the basics of Chinese history and current affairs, and I have studied German history at university level which is what I was actually discussing before. What exactly do you dispute about my knowledge of Chinese history? I never said that China did not suffer horribly during the Cultural Revolution. It was your interpretation of German history that I was addressing before, I never questioned anything you said about Chinese history.
    I am the 8th descendent of an affluent family in China. We basically lost everything during the Cultural Revolution. My grandparents were forced to become farmers and gave up their lands at gunpoint. You can compare China with any country that you like, however this does not make your version of China's history accurate. This is why I found you disputing our experience an insult. I have personally lived in Hong Kong and many cities in China. You have not lived in China, you have not even visited China. However somehow you feel qualified to tell the witness what really happened.

    Fair enough, although you could have said 'least educated' to make that clearer. Anyway as I have said, many leading Nazis were very highly educated so I was wrong to use that line of argument.

    It doesn't affect my main argument, which is to agree with the main topic of this thread, that China and other similar countries will eventually realise their potential to become great economic powers and eventually centres of innovation, and indeed China specifically has already showed signs of doing this, despite the problems it has had in the past. It may take a little longer than some expected, but I don't think China is a unique case as regards corruption and pollution and I don't think its culture is uniquely incapable of achieving progress.

    If it does fail to achieve progress, it will still have accomplished much greater things than many other similar countries, and there is a good chance that despite setbacks, it has already laid the foundations for a much more innovative and successful country than recent history would suggest, because the current generation is not the same as past generations, growing up as they are in a prosperous country with great educational opportunities, especially those who study in the UK and US.

    I should not have to adjust my sentence so that you won't make a mistake on reading it.

    If you read my original response to the OP, I stated that the 'natural position' of a country's economy is not directly proportional to its population. There are other variables. Innovation culture, political stability, personal freedom are all important. Hence my claim that this is a flawed theory to think there is an equilibrium point in which countries will simultaneously reach at one point. This is all there is to my response but you just dramatised my claim as if I am saying that China will never achieve its potential.
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    As someone from a British Empire colony, I can tell you that the vast majority of people who hate the British Empire are Brits themselves. Only SJWs though as they tend to hate everything about Britain as an extension of the fact that they hate themselves. And despite what FoS condescendingly suggests, the fact a lot of people in the colonies feel fondly of it is not down to Stockholm Syndrome lol. Incredibly as it may be for her, the dumb dumbs out there actually have functioning brains and they can use these brains to think for themselves.

    Of course the empire was maintained as a cartel for the rich elite in Britain (and supported by taxing the rest of the British) but - like you mentioned - this does not mean it did not have positive side effects. Technology etc is one of these things but also anybody who is brave enough to be honest about it will acknowledge that British culture is far superior to the existing cultures of the time.

    No? BRB, reverting to caste systems, slavery and 12th century life expectancies......just because, lol.
    It really depends on the colony. Colonists invested a lot into barbarian cultures where they could exterminate or displace the people, and conversely taxed and stole from advanced cultures that they weren't able to destroy.

    The caste system was much better than the feudal system, and it's a good system in principle.

    Life expectancies fell tremendously with British rule in the advanced countries they raped.

    If you're interested in the subject, look up the paper "Reversal of Fortune" by Acemoglu et al.
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    As someone from a British Empire colony, I can tell you that the vast majority of people who hate the British Empire are Brits themselves. Only SJWs though as they tend to hate everything about Britain as an extension of the fact that they hate themselves. And despite what FoS condescendingly suggests, the fact a lot of people in the colonies feel fondly of it is not down to Stockholm Syndrome lol. Incredibly as it may be for her, the dumb dumbs out there actually have functioning brains and they can use these brains to think for themselves.

    Of course the empire was maintained as a cartel for the rich elite in Britain (and supported by taxing the rest of the British) but - like you mentioned - this does not mean it did not have positive side effects. Technology etc is one of these things but also anybody who is brave enough to be honest about it will acknowledge that British culture is far superior to the existing cultures of the time.

    No? BRB, reverting to caste systems, slavery and 12th century life expectancies......just because, lol.
    I would say more important than the technology was the institutions such as British freedoms, common law, and democracy. Perhaps there is a reason nearly as many people voluntarily fought from the colonies as fought under the stars and stripes in WWII

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    (Original post by 41b)
    The sick cultural vandalism that took place is really really disgusting. Both Japan and China have modernised and lost touch with the roots, but you can see elements of East Asian cultural characteristics (politeness, deference to elders, caring for elders etc.) survive clearly in Japanese society whereas I don't think they are nearly so strong in China.

    Have you ever seen the China Uncensored YouTube series? Watching it would be really fruitful for you.
    I must admit despite its current state China still has some admirable culture that survived the Cultural Revolution. There seems to be a genuine respect for the elders and a strong sense of personal responsibility.

    I've just looked at the China Uncensored series and I'm glad they have recently made a video on the Chinese censoring tumblr's contents on the Tienanmen tragedy.
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    (Original post by CherishFreedom)
    The Cultural Revolution and the Civil War were two separate events, they both happened not so long ago, in the last century. The civil war was the result of a competition for power between the Kuomintang and the Communist Party. The cultural revolution was initiated by the Communist Party after winning the civil war. No so long ago, in 1989, the very same Communist Party used tanks to run over democracy protesters in Tienanmen Square. These are very recent events. These happened. You can feel all you like about whether I am fair to state that they have a tendency to fight against each other but these are the facts.
    I am well aware of all of those things. A tendency implies repeated action over a long period of time. One civil war and one protest are not the same as a sustained tendency. Again, you seem to know Chinese history but not the history of other countries - many countries had civil wars in the 20th century, even more had civilian massacres during protests (incidentally, I can't find any reports that anybody was run over by tanks in Tiananmen Square itself - the killings took place mainly in other parts of central Beijing, and the vast majority were shot).

    Then quote me where I said 'they are incapable of innovation and doomed to a future of pollution, corruption, civil war and ultimately the destruction of the entire country.' I think you have mistaken a lot of what I said. I noted the tendency to gravitate towards personal freedom, this implies it is not a hard-and-rule. I did not say that China will never progress, I simply noted that they have regressed in the last century and as of right now, they do not have an innovation culture.
    Regressed in what sense? I don't see many ways in which China has got worse. China is a much more peaceful and prosperous country now than it was. It is more polluted but that is an unavoidable side product of economic growth, and as I say it is reversible. It has stayed the same in many aspects too, and has not really progressed in terms of personal freedom, but I think it is too early to judge whether or not there is a total lack of 'innovation culture' since as I say, most people who have grown up in the current version of China are barely out of school.

    Of course China is not going to be an innovative country when its economic model is built on mass-production of cheap products for export. The UK is not the most technologically innovative country in the world for that matter, because again our economy is built on services and knowledge - we do have a type of 'innovation' but its in areas like science and marketing and to a lesser extent digital tech (app development and gaming for example). But this is a very new development - once upon a time Britain was a global centre of innovation. Even more recently Japan was one of the main centres of tech innovation but now even giants such as Sony and Toyota are not doing anything hugely impressive. This is my point - economies change, and they especially change after major economic shifts, like the one China is poised to experience in the next 20 years.

    You can compare China with any country that you like, however this does not make your version of China's history accurate. This is why I found you disputing our experience an insult. I have personally lived in Hong Kong and many cities in China. You have not lived in China, you have not even visited China. However somehow you feel qualified to tell the witness what really happened.
    Again: firstly, you were not a witness of the cultural revolution, your evidence for that is only verbal reports - thanks to the wonderful inventions of writing and television, I also have access to those. Secondly, which area of Chinese history have I got wrong? I have not once questioned your profile of Chinese history, what I am questioning is your ability to compare it with the histories of other countries and realise how it fits into global economic history and current events.

    I should not have to adjust my sentence so that you won't make a mistake on reading it.
    I see. My apologies, how dare I ask you to communicate your points clearly using English in the correct way. I hope I didn't insult the Chinese people again by saying that. I have to say, for a person who calls themselves 'Cherish Freedom', you are doing a wonderful impression of a Chinese General Communist Party Secretary, taking every single minor criticism of yourself as a catastrophic slur against the Middle Kingdom.

    If you read my original response to the OP, I stated that the 'natural position' of a country's economy is not directly proportional to its population. There are other variables. Innovation culture, political stability, personal freedom are all important. Hence my claim that this is a flawed theory to think there is an equilibrium point in which countries will simultaneously reach at one point. This is all there is to my response but you just dramatised my claim as if I am saying that China will never achieve its potential.
    Shockingly (or not) I agree with that, as I have been largely agreeing with you all along. But it is clear nevertheless that gross population is obviously a major factor in economic status, all else being equal. I think the OP's point was predicated on the fact that many emerging economies are generally going through a similar process that Western countries went through during the industrial revolution. The logical continuation of that would be that one day not too far from now, they will become fully industralised economies and thus will be able to compete directly with Western countries, or vastly outcompete them in the case of countries like Brazil, China and India which dwarf most Western countries' populations. That is what already happened with Japan, and is probably going to happen soon with China.

    My point is, if you follow that same model, and if you know something about modern history of countries other than China, you will see that many if not most industrialised countries went through a process of political liberalisation nearly simultaneous to their economic transformation. Admittedly, China is a very repressive and undemocratic country compared even to many 19th Century European powers and is not showing many signs of changing that, but it also has some very considerable advantages which have already banished late 20th Century predictions that it would be impossible for an autocratic oligarchy to achieve economic success in a capitalist global economy.

    China would probably be an even more successful country than it is today if not for its political system and endemic corruption, but trying to claim that it has been irreparably damaged, or even that it has regressed since the days of the cultural revolution, are just not borne up by the facts. China is doing better than India, better than Indonesia, in some ways better even than Brazil, all of which are emerging democratic countries with vast populations.*

    So you are right: "It is a flawed theory to think there is an equilibrium point which countries will simultaneously reach at the same time." It is a flawed theory because China proves it wrong, by being at the vanguard of economic development and leaving others in its dust. Its political system has many setbacks but clearly not enough to prevent it from racing forwards for the past 20 years. Maybe indeed the stage management of China's economic miracle has actually helped, since it means it is not paralysed by ineffective bureaucracy and plagued by stability problems brought about by electoral division and violence, as has happened in South Asia, Africa, and now Brazil.

    *It has a lower crime rate than Brazil, it has higher GDP per capita (PPP) than India and Indonesia, it has a higher EIU quality of life index than both of the latter countries and also Turkey and Russia, and it has a 'High' UN human development index rating, whereas India is rated 'Medium', along with the Philippines, South Africa, Indonesia.
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    (Original post by typonaut)
    A "fact" often used by the LEAVE campaign to indicate the UK's apparent position/strength in the world is that it is the fifth largest economy in the world. All indicators appear to show that this is true. But the questions I ask myself are:

    Wasn't the UK the largest economy in the world at one time?

    If we are declining in the world ranking how fast is that decline, and what is our ultimate position?

    There's a Wikipedia page that helps us out when establishing the initial facts

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._GDP_(nominal)

    You'll see that the UK is consistently fifth, but also, in the rankings that show the EU as a whole the EU is vying with the USA for the top slot.

    So, is there any data that shows the historical position? I found this wikipedia page that shows data back to 1990 - which must be wrong because it is at odds with the page referenced above (shows the UK in 10th position):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_...untries_by_GDP

    This page shows the UK historically between third and eighth place - essentially a decline since 1950:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_...s_by_GDP_(PPP)

    It also projects that the UK will be in 7th place by 2030.

    This article in The Atlantic suggests reasons for this change, and the likely long-term position (make sure to read parts II and III):

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...-graph/258676/

    I think that it is essentially saying that global economic position is linked to population size, and the development of technology. As technology spreads to less developed economies the balance shifts to populations size. That is, the UK has had a distinct advantage in being at the centre of the industrial revolution, that has enabled it to grow well beyond its rank in population - but that advantage is lost as technology spreads elsewhere. This can be seen most clearly in the growth of China over the past 20 years.

    If this premise is true (and I think it is hard to argue that the size each state's economy is not a factor of population - given that all those states ranked above the UK have larger populations), what is the UK's eventual position (if the technology advantage largely disappears)?

    Well, again, Wikipedia can give us the answer:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._by_population

    The UK is placed 22nd in this table. I think that is realistically our global economic ranking in the future - how long it takes to get there is another debate, perhaps 50 years, perhaps 100. But how long to get to tenth, or 15th - 15-20 years? Perhaps 30?

    Look at another "fact", the EU's population is 508 million, in the table referenced above that would place it third overall (even without the UK it would be 440 million, still well above the USA). Doesn't "biggest combined economy in the world" (the EU) for the next 10 years or so sound pretty good? Or "third largest combined economy" (the EU) if rankings are tied to population? Sounds a lot better to me than "22nd largest economy".
    do you have a poiint? I think the UK being the largest economy in the world now is pretty dim, unless you believe it's 1850....
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    (Original post by CherishFreedom)
    Two questions:

    1. Why would you assume that the our technological advantage will 'largely disappear' in the future? Isn't this a bit pessimistic considering the UK was responsible for inventing some of the most innovative inventions in the modern age such as the World Wide Web and fibre optics? The UK also has some of the most research intensive universities in the World, factoring in population we have the highest concentration in per capita basis.

    2. Have you considered maybe it's the different political system that some countries run, that prevents them from developing its resources? Take Angola for example, it is abundant in natural resources, enormous reserves of oil, gas and diamonds, good rainfall and fertile soil. It is also one of the poorest oil rich nations in the world.

    Another point to note is that you may be assuming that some countries are undergoing sustainable growth. Since I am Chinese by origin I will use China as an example. China has been the 'factory of the world' for the past 30-40 years, since Deng Xiao Ping introduced introduced free trade between China and the rest of the world.

    During these time China experienced rapid economic growth, with double digit GDP growth for much of the 4 decades period. Many countries have since shifted their manufacturing to China and replaced its manufacturing sector with Tertiary sectors such as finance and consultancy. This is due to China's willingness to accept low pay, bad working condition and the environmental impacts of dirty industries such as extraction of rare-earths. In essence they are willing to do the 'dirty job' other Western countries refuse to do for good reasons.

    As a result China is experiencing wide-spread air and water pollution, and the public have little confidence over the safety of its food produce. It may be glamorous to be the world's 3rd largest economy at the moment, but one question to ask is whether this growth is sustainable in the long term, and whether it is approaching a plateau because of its short-termism?

    In my opinion, Britain's future standing in the world will largely depend on its level of commitment on sustainable development and technological investments. This is hard to forecast but there is no indication at the moment that we are heading the opposite direction.

    You may be using far too many assumptions to conjure up the '22nd largest economy' statistic, which would happen if all variables are the same in all countries and that their developments are static and not dynamic. Where things are dynamic ie. changing, you must analyse at least one dimension deeper ie. not just its current state but the direction in which it is changing. With respect, your hypothesis seems odd and rather simplistic.
    common sense.

    We may have invented comptuer science (Turing) or the Web (Sir Berners-Lee) but then the UK's ICT industry is very small compared to the US. The USA made it a big global industry that it is now, and there is no British Apple, Oracle or Microsoft. It's the USA that took this innovation to its full value, not us.

    And it makes sense that if more Chinese get richer, China gets more developed, then China will continue to have a far larger economy, as will India. The UK only industralised since it was in the right place at the right time, and got a huge headstart. That headstart has long been done in, and Europe has to accept its days on top have gone.

    ANd innovations? Yep, China never innovated anything, did it? hahaahaha
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    (Original post by Copperknickers)
    I am well aware of all of those things. A tendency implies repeated action over a long period of time. One civil war and one protest are not the same as a sustained tendency. Again, you seem to know Chinese history but not the history of other countries - many countries had civil wars in the 20th century, even more had civilian massacres during protests (incidentally, I can't find any reports that anybody was run over by tanks in Tiananmen Square itself - the killings took place mainly in other parts of central Beijing, and the vast majority were shot).



    Regressed in what sense? I don't see many ways in which China has got worse. China is a much more peaceful and prosperous country now than it was. It is more polluted but that is an unavoidable side product of economic growth, and as I say it is reversible. It has stayed the same in many aspects too, and has not really progressed in terms of personal freedom, but I think it is too early to judge whether or not there is a total lack of 'innovation culture' since as I say, most people who have grown up in the current version of China are barely out of school.

    Of course China is not going to be an innovative country when its economic model is built on mass-production of cheap products for export. The UK is not the most technologically innovative country in the world for that matter, because again our economy is built on services and knowledge - we do have a type of 'innovation' but its in areas like science and marketing and to a lesser extent digital tech (app development and gaming for example). But this is a very new development - once upon a time Britain was a global centre of innovation. Even more recently Japan was one of the main centres of tech innovation but now even giants such as Sony and Toyota are not doing anything hugely impressive. This is my point - economies change, and they especially change after major economic shifts, like the one China is poised to experience in the next 20 years.



    Again: firstly, you were not a witness of the cultural revolution, your evidence for that is only verbal reports - thanks to the wonderful inventions of writing and television, I also have access to those. Secondly, which area of Chinese history have I got wrong? I have not once questioned your profile of Chinese history, what I am questioning is your ability to compare it with the histories of other countries and realise how it fits into global economic history and current events.



    I see. My apologies, how dare I ask you to communicate your points clearly using English in the correct way. I hope I didn't insult the Chinese people again by saying that. I have to say, for a person who calls themselves 'Cherish Freedom', you are doing a wonderful impression of a Chinese General Communist Party Secretary, taking every single minor criticism of yourself as a catastrophic slur against the Middle Kingdom.



    Shockingly (or not) I agree with that, as I have been largely agreeing with you all along. But it is clear nevertheless that gross population is obviously a major factor in economic status, all else being equal. I think the OP's point was predicated on the fact that many emerging economies are generally going through a similar process that Western countries went through during the industrial revolution. The logical continuation of that would be that one day not too far from now, they will become fully industralised economies and thus will be able to compete directly with Western countries, or vastly outcompete them in the case of countries like Brazil, China and India which dwarf most Western countries' populations. That is what already happened with Japan, and is probably going to happen soon with China.

    My point is, if you follow that same model, and if you know something about modern history of countries other than China, you will see that many if not most industrialised countries went through a process of political liberalisation nearly simultaneous to their economic transformation. Admittedly, China is a very repressive and undemocratic country compared even to many 19th Century European powers and is not showing many signs of changing that, but it also has some very considerable advantages which have already banished late 20th Century predictions that it would be impossible for an autocratic oligarchy to achieve economic success in a capitalist global economy.

    China would probably be an even more successful country than it is today if not for its political system and endemic corruption, but trying to claim that it has been irreparably damaged, or even that it has regressed since the days of the cultural revolution, are just not borne up by the facts. China is doing better than India, better than Indonesia, in some ways better even than Brazil, all of which are emerging democratic countries with vast populations.*

    So you are right: "It is a flawed theory to think there is an equilibrium point which countries will simultaneously reach at the same time." It is a flawed theory because China proves it wrong, by being at the vanguard of economic development and leaving others in its dust. Its political system has many setbacks but clearly not enough to prevent it from racing forwards for the past 20 years. Maybe indeed the stage management of China's economic miracle has actually helped, since it means it is not paralysed by ineffective bureaucracy and plagued by stability problems brought about by electoral division and violence, as has happened in South Asia, Africa, and now Brazil.

    *It has a lower crime rate than Brazil, it has higher GDP per capita (PPP) than India and Indonesia, it has a higher EIU quality of life index than both of the latter countries and also Turkey and Russia, and it has a 'High' UN human development index rating, whereas India is rated 'Medium', along with the Philippines, South Africa, Indonesia.
    Yet it was the CCP which made China was it is now, by reversing Mao's policies. Deng xiaoping was without doubt imho one of the best leaders of the 20th century,, imho THE best.
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    (Original post by Copperknickers)
    I am well aware of all of those things. A tendency implies repeated action over a long period of time. One civil war and one protest are not the same as a sustained tendency. Again, you seem to know Chinese history but not the history of other countries - many countries had civil wars in the 20th century, even more had civilian massacres during protests (incidentally, I can't find any reports that anybody was run over by tanks in Tiananmen Square itself - the killings took place mainly in other parts of central Beijing, and the vast majority were shot).
    Then it will be up to you to decide what defines a 'tendency' to you. Also I have mentioned three events in a 60-70 years span, not two. Let me know the countries that had similar modern history and let's see if they can be considered 'advanced'.

    Regressed in what sense? I don't see many ways in which China has got worse. China is a much more peaceful and prosperous country now than it was. It is more polluted but that is an unavoidable side product of economic growth, and as I say it is reversible. It has stayed the same in many aspects too, and has not really progressed in terms of personal freedom, but I think it is too early to judge whether or not there is a total lack of 'innovation culture' since as I say, most people who have grown up in the current version of China are barely out of school.
    In my post I did mention China's growth and they were impressive. You say pollution is an unavoidable side product of economic growth, this is not true. A country can experience similar growth without pollution to the extent of China's. It is reversible, but will take hundreds of years. At the moment it does lack an innovation culture, this was what I stated. Simply ask yourself what significant innovations China made in recent times, and how that compares with Western countries. The future will very much depend on its leadership however their population is still suffering the aftermaths of many tragedies from the last century. There is no assurance that these tragedies will not reoccur, and indeed highly likely given that the last one only happened in 1989.

    Of course China is not going to be an innovative country when its economic model is built on mass-production of cheap products for export. The UK is not the most technologically innovative country in the world for that matter, because again our economy is built on services and knowledge - we do have a type of 'innovation' but its in areas like science and marketing and to a lesser extent digital tech (app development and gaming for example). But this is a very new development - once upon a time Britain was a global centre of innovation. Even more recently Japan was one of the main centres of tech innovation but now even giants such as Sony and Toyota are not doing anything hugely impressive. This is my point - economies change, and they especially change after major economic shifts, like the one China is poised to experience in the next 20 years.
    This was what I was talking about exactly on my original reply to the OP. This is why I critiqued his assumption on statistic variables when they are constantly changing. Therefore I don't see why you would feel the need to debate on something we agreed with at the first place.

    Again: firstly, you were not a witness of the cultural revolution, your evidence for that is only verbal reports - thanks to the wonderful inventions of writing and television, I also have access to those. Secondly, which area of Chinese history have I got wrong? I have not once questioned your profile of Chinese history, what I am questioning is your ability to compare it with the histories of other countries and realise how it fits into global economic history and current events.

    Was your family affected by the cultural revolution and the civil war? Have you been to China and talked to its people personally? I have described China in its current state. I have also stated that variables change and I did not dismiss China's development in the future. What are you trying to dispute?

    I see. My apologies, how dare I ask you to communicate your points clearly using English in the correct way. I hope I didn't insult the Chinese people again by saying that. I have to say, for a person who calls themselves 'Cherish Freedom', you are doing a wonderful impression of a Chinese General Communist Party Secretary, taking every single minor criticism of yourself as a catastrophic slur against the Middle Kingdom.
    No need to apologise. You have already apologised and admitted that you made a mistake of misinterpreting my statement correctly. However I do regret not rephrasing it for people who may fail to identify that level of education is not a discrete but a continuous variable.

    Shockingly (or not) I agree with that, as I have been largely agreeing with you all along. But it is clear nevertheless that gross population is obviously a major factor in economic status, all else being equal. I think the OP's point was predicated on the fact that many emerging economies are generally going through a similar process that Western countries went through during the industrial revolution. The logical continuation of that would be that one day not too far from now, they will become fully industralised economies and thus will be able to compete directly with Western countries, or vastly outcompete them in the case of countries like Brazil, China and India which dwarf most Western countries' populations. That is what already happened with Japan, and is probably going to happen soon with China.
    I hope you can now see that I was merely using China as an example to demonstrate that economic development is not one straight path. I never dismissed China's chance to progress in the future but stating that in its current state it is not innovative and its pollution level threaten its long term development (ie. for a long time in the future, not indefinitely) . In theory every human being is capable of innovation. Therefore unless all countries have the same culture and political system there will not be a 'natural position' based purely on population size as the OP suggested.

    My point is, if you follow that same model, and if you know something about modern history of countries other than China, you will see that many if not most industrialised countries went through a process of political liberalisation nearly simultaneous to their economic transformation. Admittedly, China is a very repressive and undemocratic country compared even to many 19th Century European powers and is not showing many signs of changing that, but it also has some very considerable advantages which have already banished late 20th Century predictions that it would be impossible for an autocratic oligarchy to achieve economic success in a capitalist global economy.
    As above.

    China would probably be an even more successful country than it is today if not for its political system and endemic corruption, but trying to claim that it has been irreparably damaged, or even that it has regressed since the days of the cultural revolution, are just not borne up by the facts. China is doing better than India, better than Indonesia, in some ways better even than Brazil, all of which are emerging democratic countries with vast populations.*

    So you are right: "It is a flawed theory to think there is an equilibrium point which countries will simultaneously reach at the same time." It is a flawed theory because China proves it wrong, by being at the vanguard of economic development and leaving others in its dust. Its political system has many setbacks but clearly not enough to prevent it from racing forwards for the past 20 years. Maybe indeed the stage management of China's economic miracle has actually helped, since it means it is not paralysed by ineffective bureaucracy and plagued by stability problems brought about by electoral division and violence, as has happened in South Asia, Africa, and now Brazil.

    It has a lower crime rate than Brazil, it has higher GDP per capita (PPP) than India and Indonesia, it has a higher EIU quality of life index than both of the latter countries and also Turkey and Russia, and it has a 'High' UN human development index rating, whereas India is rated 'Medium', along with the Philippines, South Africa, Indonesia.
    Again to clarify, I did not state that China is irreparable, but it would take a long time to clean up its pollutions ie. hundreds of years. This threatens its development when some cities becomes uninhabitable. If its leadership allows this to continue, the world will shift its manufacturing elsewhere. By then what are ordinary Chinese citizens going to do? Is the government prepared to adapt its economy like the UK and Germany? Does its political system incentivise its leadership to make the necessary changes for the long term?

    These are the big question that the Chinese government needs to address, and there is no way of knowing definitely what they will do.

    The reason why I mentioned the three tragic events is because they happened not so long ago and involved the same ruling party that is ruling China now. These events have regressed China's social progress with 2 of these events greatly damaging its economy. This does not imply that it is all freefall from then on. However it is worth noting that as long as the Communist Party remains in power, it is likely for similar tragedies to occur. You may be uncomfortable with my use of the word 'tendency' and thinking that I am making a biased stereotype on Chinese people. I am using it to describe that the fact that the Communist Party is making infighting and reversal of social progress very likely, hence there is a tendency for Chinese people to fight against each other as long as this government remains in power, as their policies had allowed these to happen in recent history.

    If the leadership changes, my expectation would of course change as well.
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    (Original post by typonaut)
    A "fact" often used by the LEAVE campaign to indicate the UK's apparent position/strength in the world is that it is the fifth largest economy in the world. All indicators appear to show that this is true. But the questions I ask myself are:

    Wasn't the UK the largest economy in the world at one time?

    If we are declining in the world ranking how fast is that decline, and what is our ultimate position?

    There's a Wikipedia page that helps us out when establishing the initial facts

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._GDP_(nominal)

    You'll see that the UK is consistently fifth, but also, in the rankings that show the EU as a whole the EU is vying with the USA for the top slot.

    So, is there any data that shows the historical position? I found this wikipedia page that shows data back to 1990 - which must be wrong because it is at odds with the page referenced above (shows the UK in 10th position):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_...untries_by_GDP

    This page shows the UK historically between third and eighth place - essentially a decline since 1950:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Angus_...s_by_GDP_(PPP)

    It also projects that the UK will be in 7th place by 2030.

    This article in The Atlantic suggests reasons for this change, and the likely long-term position (make sure to read parts II and III):

    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/...-graph/258676/

    I think that it is essentially saying that global economic position is linked to population size, and the development of technology. As technology spreads to less developed economies the balance shifts to populations size. That is, the UK has had a distinct advantage in being at the centre of the industrial revolution, that has enabled it to grow well beyond its rank in population - but that advantage is lost as technology spreads elsewhere. This can be seen most clearly in the growth of China over the past 20 years.

    If this premise is true (and I think it is hard to argue that the size each state's economy is not a factor of population - given that all those states ranked above the UK have larger populations), what is the UK's eventual position (if the technology advantage largely disappears)?

    Well, again, Wikipedia can give us the answer:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o..._by_population

    The UK is placed 22nd in this table. I think that is realistically our global economic ranking in the future - how long it takes to get there is another debate, perhaps 50 years, perhaps 100. But how long to get to tenth, or 15th - 15-20 years? Perhaps 30?

    Look at another "fact", the EU's population is 508 million, in the table referenced above that would place it third overall (even without the UK it would be 440 million, still well above the USA). Doesn't "biggest combined economy in the world" (the EU) for the next 10 years or so sound pretty good? Or "third largest combined economy" (the EU) if rankings are tied to population? Sounds a lot better to me than "22nd largest economy".
    The US and UK (espcially the UK) have their great economies atop the backs of slaves who built them.
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    (Original post by calmingforzzzz)
    common sense.

    We may have invented comptuer science (Turing) or the Web (Sir Berners-Lee) but then the UK's ICT industry is very small compared to the US. The USA made it a big global industry that it is now, and there is no British Apple, Oracle or Microsoft. It's the USA that took this innovation to its full value, not us.

    And it makes sense that if more Chinese get richer, China gets more developed, then China will continue to have a far larger economy, as will India. The UK only industralised since it was in the right place at the right time, and got a huge headstart. That headstart has long been done in, and Europe has to accept its days on top have gone.

    ANd innovations? Yep, China never innovated anything, did it? hahaahaha

    Your assumption would be correct if China is undergoing sustainable growth, however it is not. Of course I would welcome to you argue otherwise but this is the general consensus. Development is not one straight path, however you can say that in the very long term there will be development overall. How will that place them with other countries by the time its economy becomes sustainable again? You also seem to be assuming that there is a glass ceiling on Western countries' technologies, or that the gap would always become narrower.

    Just so you know I am now making a case for the UK, which you could be assuming. I am critiquing the OP's method and pointing out that while population has its bearing, it would not produce a 'natural position' since there are other variables and they are not the same for every country.

    Regarding innovation, China is not at the forefront of innovation at the moment. Again if you want to dispute that I invite you to provide examples of significant Chinese inventions in modern history, say for the past 100 years. I would happily counter that with a list from either the UK or USA. We can then look at the magnitude and the quantity of these inventions.
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    (Original post by Fullofsurprises)
    Nostalgia about a lost role in world affairs (a role which incidentally was often extremely exploitative and oppressive) should not be a basis for deciding about current actions or future political affiliations.
    Directly i agree however it speaks to the fact that this sense of ambition, ability to stand alone and wish for self rule pervades our culture even today.

    Your point about the empire is somewhat irrelevant since most people don't feel shame and nor should they.
 
 
 
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