Rise of The Middle Kingdom: Why China Isn’t Going Ex-Growth

A common prediction repeated in various Australian media organs and elsewhere, is that China will not and indeed cannot become a global “superpower”. While this argument takes many forms, it tends to revolve around the same theme that ‘liberty’, ‘democracy’, and ‘free markets’, however defined, are essential ingredients in achieving a stable, industrialsed power.

This argument is an absurd one, only able to hoodwink those profoundly ignorant of history (i.e, the average Australian). One only need look to living memory to remember the Soviet Union, a universally recognized global ‘superpower’ that gave the ‘free’, capitalistic world a run for its roubles, even  despite the fundamental limitations of its command economy, which was managed by abacus wielding eggheads in Moscow.

While you could argue that USSR was not ‘stable’ (it collapsed), the very fact that a state like this could exist let alone have achieved the prominence it did casts problems for the China’s-collapse/stagnation-is-inevitable set, and one could go even further and argue that it’s collapse was not inevitable at all, but a freak occurrence brought about by the grave naiveté and stupidity of Gorbachev and his toadies.

All of this considered, China is not the Soviet Union. It is a mixed economy par excellence headed by scheming, competent-enough ‘technocratic’ Marxist-Leninist cabal with an extreme pragmatist bent unsure of its own ideology. China meets all of the perquisites and conditions, necessary or sufficient, on which global power is predicated; population size, land-area, sea-access, resource endowment, sound (enough) economic and political administration. China as a global power is not an unusual development; China was about on par with that other great ‘superpower’ of antiquity, the Roman Empire, during the Han dynasty, was perhaps the most powerful and technologically advanced state in the world during its medieval Song dynasty, and achieved similar heights during various of its other dynastic periods as well. Like all other states in history, its fortunes and relative global prominence has waxed and waned throughout the centuries, but it has always resumed its position as relatively stable, relatively unitary global power. It is hard to believe it cannot do it again.

Beyond many of its more obvious advantages such as its vast population China have another, hidden, advantage that at the very minimum removes a significant ceiling that looms over the ambitions of many states and their desire to industrialize. The Chinese, along with other ethnicities encompassing the Asian continental human sub-population, have the highest average IQ in the world.  East-Asian populations have an average IQ measured at about 103, compared to Caucasian European populations, which measure at about 100 depending upon the sub-group. This is critical because this high average IQ prevents the economic trajectory of the Middle Kingdom from being curtailed by human capital limitations.

IQ is a central quality in determining human capital factors, and the wealth and prosperity of nations. It is the core of a nexus of traits and behaviours, from obvious correlates such as educability and occupational competency, to more unexpected tendencies such as criminality, promiscuity, interpersonal aggression and mental illness. It is mostly ignored by economists, who do not understand it or refuse to see human populations and individuals as anything other than fungible, interchangeable entities, all equally capable of the same feats and development given the same opportunities. Individually and within cohorts it is mostly heritable; the jury is still ‘out’ on whether group differences, such as the Caucasian – East Asian difference, possess a partial or total genetic etiology, but I am willing to believe that they mostly do. Even if they don’t, it’s irrelevant anyway; IQ seems mostly intractable and stable; even if it were possible to permanently eradicate group differences in cognitive ability through environmental intervention, nobody knows how to, and won’t for a very long time.

By 2050, China’s GDP may well be ~214% that of the United States. Antony Karlin over at the heretical Unz.com speculates on the exact number here. Whatever it will be, China will be a force to be reckoned with, and at the very least will restore the dual-power status quo that characterized geopolitics prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Except the challenge it will pose to the increasingly complacent West will far outweigh that of the CCCP. China isn’t going ‘ex-growth’ any time soon, and we’d do well not to pin our hopes to it suddenly collapsing amongst the ruins of the other great ex-regimes of history.

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Stewie

Good article Stag’s and I agree with most of it. I think the question is less about whether China wants to replicate the US as a ‘Global Power’ and more about whether China wants to be sufficiently powerful that it can operate as it pleases and in contrary to the wishes of whatever global hegemon it may face. For instance I can’t ever imagine China launching an Atlantic blue water navy, but it may still end up with a Pacific blue water Navy and an Indian Ocean blue water navy, and have submarines scattered all around the world.

The only fly in the ointment is the rapidly changing demographics. I really don’t know how this will play out, as the only modern precedent to China in terms of rapidly ageing has been Japan, and for all their similarities they are quite different in terms of their political leadership and structure.

The gender imbalance in China is also off the scale, and is something that should be considered. There are some 80m young men who will in all likelihood never find a wife, and if there is one force that is incredibly destabilizing for any nation, it is having lots of angry, idle young men with literally nothing to lose and everything to prove.

bjw678

an aging population is an issue all industrialised countries will have to deal with eventually. i don’t think it is anywhere near the problem that it is made out to be.

China’s will be much worse than others after running a one child policy for more than a generation.

Djenka

not a guaranteed outcome as chinese have culture of vertical integration of the family and elderly don’t just roam the landscape idling and nibbling on the super income… they kee on working in supporting their family (child care, menial work etc…) which generates income indirectly (saved $ is earned $).
This is probably across most of Asia.

Chinese Astroturfer

Cambodia is effectively a satellite state of China, with Myanmar, Laos and even Thailand heading that way. They are lost causes for the west.

That’s about 130-140 million people with Cambodia and Myanmar having young populations. Over time I’m sure they will look to economically colonise the rest of south-east Asia apart from Vietnam. There’s another 270 million people in Indonesia.

They will find young bodies for factories one way or another. They won’t want Chinese men to breed with them though because it taints the bloodline. The blood must remain pure in Chinese culture.

I don’t see 80 million young men rioting BLM style in China. Look at the number of young men in Japan who are voluntarily celibate. While not the same cultures of course, there are many similarities unlike Australia which has no similarities.

Stewie

True to an extent, ironically it is actually men who are generally more likely as a total percentage to enter into a successful long term inter-racial relationship, the benefits of a mate outweigh the cultural stigma. This extends back to primitive times, where societies that permitted men to marry more women, were generally outwardly expansive. A large number of men who can’t find mates due to lack of availability are more likely to invade other competing groups, kill the men and boys and take the land and women as their prize.

I imagine the intra-sexual competition would be a little more sophisticated in China nowadays, certainly you are correct in doubting the likelihood of a BLM revolution. But the point for a large body of angry men looking to find success and unable to achieve it financially through say academia or commerce, the Armed services is the perfect choice. Combine that with a political structure increasingly focused externally in order to strengthen its position internally, then the large surplus of single men may express itself differently than in China than America or Japan. I don’t know really know, other than it isn’t a good idea to have a large group of angry you men with giant blue balls.

Last edited 8 months ago by Stewie
stewie da cucksta

They may just follow your strategy stewie and go bat for the other team. Dunno whether they’ll share your affection for BBC though…

Coming

Well written stagmal

We know from the hardest possible evidence that intelligence is approximately 80% genetic (from twin studies comparing mono and dizygotic)

It’s delusional to think that these genes aren’t more prevalent amongst some racial groups than others

The woke religion is holding back progress

However, I think you’re overestimating the importance of average intelligence
(Average being mean : median and mode and overall distribution being more important )

What’s most important in terms of national success is having a good number of very intelligent people, and having the average and dumb people be culturally homogeneous and compliant

Coming

You’re assuming a normal distribution but isn’t the case

For example men have more outliers on the high and low end than women

Probably whites have similarly more outliers compared to asians (just my stereotypical assumption)

patrick

I’ve often wondered why east asians have such a shithole society and life if they have iq slightly higher than average whites.
I think what coming has mused … that the brightest whites are brighter than the brightest east asians is quite likely.
East asians just are not very innovative relatively.
Look at all the innovation the Germans came up with during the war, the Japanese could only come up with suicide pilots.

Chinese Astroturfer

It’s quite bizarre claiming those countries are shitholes the infrastructure leaves the US and Australia for dead.

High tech, modern societies with great infrastructure and very low levels of crime. Violent crime virtually non existent.

Peachy

There’s quite a few things there, as you range from society, to iq, to innovation, to war technology.

Probably best to separate these, as they are different things.

I’d think that attitude to and appetite for innovation are very much shaped by society, so I wouldn’t assume that the people are less capable of it. Only that they may have been historically less strongly incentivised to innovate. (Eg by social structure rendering innovators unable to enjoy benefits of innovation, say)

Also, by all accounts, Japanese air tech was superior to most nations in the early 40s. That their pilots flew suicide missions is, again, a reflection of their society, rather than their technology.

Peachy

On the whole I would agree, although intuitively I would rebel somewhat against the suggestion that society is shaped by personality. For some reason that formulation rubs me the wrong way.

Clearly there is an interaction and feedback between society and personality, but society is so big and personality so little, and the two are so qualitatively different that it ….just rubs me the wrong way! 🤠

Maybe someday I’ll be able to express that better.

Freddy

 ‘society’ is ultimately shaped by personality, which is caused by genetics as well

I have seen scientific experiments that suggest some DNA modifications are environmental rather than random (evolutionary). That would imply that society can also alter genetics rather than always the other way around. Some examples that come to mind is the domestication of wild foxes causing chemical changes to the brain and grey (instead of red) fur in offspring. I have seen some suggestion that if you exercise (weights etc) results in dna changes in children. A more complicated example below where memories can also be passed through DNA.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/fearful-memories-passed-down/

The implication being that IQ is probably being overstated. It may be a simple case of exercising the brain causing immediate changes in self or offspring rather than assuming perpetually low IQ for the entire race.

That does not detract from the arguments about culture. Clearly there is very little chance for progress in cultures that believe in breeding like rabbits and strictly avoiding any form of non-religious education.

Djenka

That would imply that society can also alter genetics rather than always the other way around.

I believe there is a confusion here between environmental DNA change and causation by a society (as explained above). Environmental DNA is probably defined as natural mutations as well as mutations from exposure to chemicals and radiation etc.

Also, there’s a lot fishy in definition of progress as used here and in most of the Westworld as well over time.
My granpa’s biggest worry was if there will be springtime rain and he enjoyed life to a level I cannot even imagine possible now. My life is clearly easier in terms of labour output but opposite from progress in social, mental or environmental areas. To me, that is not a progress. Name a tech progress that actually made life easier and your head may start spinning.
Chinese used to reproduce like rabbits.

Stewie

The implication being that IQ is probably being overstated. It may be a simple case of exercising the brain causing immediate changes in self or offspring rather than assuming perpetually low IQ for the entire race.

Nah – that same differences in median IQ are observed in the same population groups where ever they reside, African 85, Caucasian 100, East Asian 105. There are then sub groups that have even higher medians, like Ashkenazi (East European) Jews being 110 or 115 – equivalent to the same standard deviation gap between Africans and other Caucasians, making their domination of things like Noble prizes for Physics and Science far less surprising.

There are some environmental factors, like nutrition and access to education, but once you remove those and place them in an ideal location – then they’re presumably reduced to insignificant. That is why African’s thrive in America, relative to Africa, and achieve a median IQ as a population group of 85 as opposed to 75 which is more the case in Africa.

Furthermore, studies of median IQ of population groups of biracial individuals, show a broad linear relationship between the percentage of genetic admixture and the likely IQ of the individual in the sample.

Note that I said likely, because the thing with IQ is that it is most important at a group population level – in any sample there will be individuals at either end of the bell curve. As I’ve said many times, just like Schrodinger’s cat an individual is an unknown quantity until their individual traits are measured or encountered, they are potentially smart/dumb, good/bad, healthy/sick. However, when we measure population groups those qualities become statistically predictable for the group.

For individuals it is actually much more important that they live in a relatively high IQ society, than actually having a high IQ themselves. More than 6 times there overall well being is derived from society than their own efforts.

Epigenics is where there is some suggestion that environmental factors can influence DNA of subsequent generations. Things such as stress can influence gene expression – while I remain doubtful as to whether fearful memories can be passed down, I am still open to the possibility given tests have shown higher fear responses in small children from objects resembling spiders to other more innocuous objects.

As you noted with the domestication of foxes their coat becomes greyer, their ears are also less upright and their tails tend to be more curly. However this doesn’t play a role or has not noted to play a role in IQ, if there were then there would be some evidence of closure of IQ gaps between racial groups living the same lives in the same locations – there hasn’t been.

There are suggestions that as well as IQ having a basis in genetic inheritance, personality is also shaped by DNA:

https://www.discovermagazine.com/mind/your-political-beliefs-are-partly-shaped-by-genetics

The possibility that both IQ and personality are shaped by genes is extremely controversial – mainly from our Christian cultural viewpoint pertaining to free will. But in all likelihood there is a component of both IQ and personality embedded within our genes. How they are expressed though will depend on environmental influences as well as chance.

Our lives as individuals are really little more than Monte Carlo simulations for our population groups gene pool – with the most successful run making it through to the next simulation.

IQ isn’t only a human trait, intelligence in problem solving is found in all organisms, it is just that it has been taken to the Nth degree in humanity. If intelligence is a natural occurring trait then it makes sense that environmental factors will influence it. The degree of problem solving required will influence it. The harsher the environment, the more problem solving that will be required to live there.

The most harsh environmental climates are generally found in the higher latitudes, harsh winters require a significant degree of planning in order to survive, than say living in the tropics and shimming up a tree in order to get something to eat. This is true for humans as it is for animals:

https://phys.org/news/2016-12-bigger-brains-outsmart-harsh-climates.html

My view is that there is an environmental feed back loop in terms of evolution for humanity in terms of Environment, Culture and Genetics.

Environment for the reasons I have outlined above, Culture, because our culture has gotten to the point where it can effectively influence and change the environment in which we live, and genetics, because that it where it all gets inscribed for the next monte carlo simulation for the next generation.

Last edited 8 months ago by Stewie
Stewie

True*

*as per the median African American in that population group, but again, not for all (does potentially explain or contribute to the IQ diff between Africans and African Americans).

bjw678

Our lives as individuals are really little more than Monte Carlo simulations for our population groups gene pool – with the most successful run making it through to the next simulation.

It’s been quite a while since that was true in any way. Unless your definition of “most successful” is very warped.
Virtually everyone passes their genes onto the next generation.

Stewie

Yes – but only a couple generations, for white populations about 200 years, for Asians about 150 and for Africans barely 50.

I imagine as life becomes more difficult through resource exhaustion and depletion the monte carlo simulation will become more fitting as an analogy once again.

“Success” here is limited by only one criteria, passing on genes to the next generation. Only about 40% of men ever born were successful enough to pass on their genes, while the majority of 80% or so of women managed to do so.

https://psmag.com/environment/17-to-1-reproductive-success

Stewie

I think there are other personality traits that also play a role over IQ or “g” – agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, etc and their ability to impact societies and the narrative they settle on.

I have read that traits such as agreeableness and conscientiousness are more highly prized in East Asian societies, and so it is possible those characteristics were more selected for and thus slightly more prevalent in those societies.

In terms of how they can manifest themselves in technological advancement, the very act of inventing something, requires at least sufficient disagreeableness to ask if there is a better way to do something. The more radical the proposition, the more radical the degree of disagreeableness required in order to contemplate it.

Last edited 8 months ago by Stewie