Random Musing

Handicapping the Gap: China

In a discussion at APDIP Internet Governance mailing list, Suresh forwarded this interesting article by Thomas Barnett.

The Chinese Communist Party is betting that wiring up the country is essential to unleashing the nation’s future economic potential, and they’re right. They’re also betting they can control the intellectual power enabled by all that connectivity, and they’re wrong. For now, the leadership does little to crack down on the nationalistic rumblings of their growing web community, believing it reflects a general support for the CCP’s authoritarian rule because it suggests that what most Chinese Yuppies want is not another form of government, but a government that pushes the nation’s agenda more forcefully in the global community of states. But this is a fool’s gamble, because over time this growing technocratic elite will surely turn against the communist leadership simply because the latter’s emphasis on order over efficiency will prove too much for the former to swallow as China’s economy matures. In short, Chinese webheads will want both order and efficiency, and while authoritarian rule can provide order, it takes genuinely free markets to produce efficiency, and while that power can be unleashed by central authorities it can never truly controlled by them.

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