Friday, August 08, 2008

Nostalgia for Times that Never Were

Recently, I've been hearing comments from a few people who are seemingly repulsed by "what they've done to the environment over there" in China. Lost in the concern over air quality during the Olympics, is a remarkable economic revolution. One wonders if these "concerned" people would be happier if China were still a lush largely industrial-less and state run economy as people starved to death as they do now in places like Zimbabwe? The reality is that there is little nostalgic about the abject level of poverty my progenitors and other relatives experienced.

From The Club for Growth on what people will learn from watching the Olympics in China:

People will learn about China's amazing capitalist revolution and the huge impact it's having on the country and the world. Once they learn the facts, I think it will take their breath away. As Boaz writes, "The changes in China over the past generation are the greatest story in the world–more than a billion people brought from totalitarianism to a largely capitalist economic system that is eroding the continuing authoritarianism of the political system."

Couldn't agree more. People need to know this.
Indeed. More from Cato's David Boaz.

Update: Silk Road's David Dayton also makes the case that this is why the government is tolerated - even appreciated. From what I've seen, people have longer memories than this. Things are better, but guess who made circumstances that bad to begin with? That said, I think the government has done a good job at deflecting the blame, but with the wealth of a larger middle class comes an inevitable threat that could be impossible to manage. It's also useful to note that while things may be better than they ever were, the Chinese government did not change because it wanted to, but because if they didn't, their survival would have been at risk with their economy stagnating and people starving while the rest of the world - particularly the decadent and greedy Americans, would have continued to leave them behind.

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