Top 10 Reasons America Should Be More Like China
In the wake of the 2012 Presidential Election, the people of America made a definitive leadership choice for the next 4 years. Not everyone however, was in agreement with this decision. In fact, many of the disheartened voices have declared impending doom as the nation, they assert, descends into the pit of socialism.
So, with such dire predictions looming, why not take a look at America, in comparison with the best socialist society example available – The People’s Republic of China. China is a socialist regime that espouses communism, not to mention a world power seeking greater influence on the international stage. So without further commentary, here are the top 10 reasons America should be like China.
10. Unobtrusive And Continual Monitoring Of Citizens (For Their Benefit)
A free society, one would imagine, is one that protects and honors the privacy of its citizenry. A socialist society, following the same line of thought, is one that is generally suspicious and wary of its citizens, mandating a need to keep a very close eye on their activities. Privacy rights happen to be included among the list of inalienable rights that citizens of the Unites States are guaranteed under the Constitution. No, this is not explicitly articulated as such, however the Supreme Court as drawn such inference over the years from constitutional sources such as the Fourth Amendment.
Of course, these rights, according to some, get in the way of such principles as security and safety. Indeed, most recently with President George W. Bush, such privacy freedoms were severely curtailed by legislation under the all-pervasive guise of national security. Socialist societies such as China have recognized this point much sooner than US residents, however. In China, one of the most indicative measures of government monitoring is the limitation on internal migration. Basically, citizens are not encouraged to travel beyond the immediate boundaries of the locality without good reason that benefits the state. In this manner, officials can better keep track of the whereabouts of a very large population.
But the government hasn’t stopped with limiting one’s movement. Chinese authorities are very keen about everyone following the directions and dictates that are mandated. Dissent is especially frowned upon. In the electronic and social media age that we live in, the dissemination of information is as easy – literally – as pushing a button. To this end, China monitors online activity vigorously and maintains a policy of censorship on any material (including private conversations) that is counter to the prevalent government-approved ideology.
And, of course, there is the ever present surveillance camera. If the statistics that were reported in a USA Today article are accurate, Big Brother is indeed keeping a watchful eye on Chinese citizens. The government has apparently spent $16 billion since 2009, to install over 20 million surveillance cameras around the nation.
Add in a robust para-military presence, very active internal security apparatus (the so-called secret police,) and plenty of restrictive laws, and you have the makings of a society that is thoroughly and evasively monitored at all times.
9. Great “Made in China” Products
There was a point in history, especially in the years following World War II, that saw the US as a manufacturing Mecca for exported goods. Today, that has all changed, and the US is on the other end of the spectrum, as the world’s largest importer of goods.
According to recent statistics, America imported over $2 trillion worth of products in 2011 alone (most of which came from China.) In comparison, the US ranks third among the world’s nation in exports, exporting almost $1.5 trillion of goods in 2011. The difference, in this case, is what is known as a trade deficit. This is one problem that our democratic and free market society seems ill equipped to combat (or at least lack the political competence to do so.)
China, not restrained by such ideologies, has managed to set its economy on course, enabling the nation to potentially surpass the US as the world’s richest (currently China’s $11.3 trillion GDP ranks second behind the US’s $15.08 trillion). Equally telling is China’s trade surplus, with its world leading $1.9 trillion in exports and $1.7 trillion in imports (second largest in the world).
A number of conditions have led to this economic disparity, led primarily by the Chinese willingness to actually enact measures that allow for such success. While many initially pointed to the flood of Chinese exported goods, and western industries relocating to China to take advantage of cheaper labor resources, as the key reasons for China’s emergence on the economic scene, the reasons are really broader.
In fact, they actually have little to do with a “socialist agenda,” as many would assume. Essentially, China got smart and opened up their economy to Chinese small business ventures and foreign investment. Equally, the Chinese government modified, or eliminated, many of the protectionist policies and controls that impede growth. The results have been staggering. Consider that China’s improved economy has lifted almost 700 million of its citizens out of poverty. Increased level of income has resulted in better living conditions (and demands for better opportunities.) In a nutshell, it works.
8. No Divisive Abortion Argument
There is, perhaps, no more divisive issue in the US than the one concerning abortion. Harboring no room for compromise, proponents of each side of the issue have drawn distinctive battle lines in the ongoing debate. With the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973 which legalized abortion, this topic has become a hot potato in American politics at every level. Politicians who are on one side of the divide or the other, are almost certain to alienate themselves from the opposing constituents on this issue alone. Even more poignant, some individuals have taken matters into their own hands by committing criminal acts, such as murdering doctors who perform abortions, and bombing abortion clinics. This is the hallmark of a democratic society – ceaseless debate about a singular issue with no end in sight.
China, of course, takes a more straightforward approach to the matter. Born partly out of necessity with a population that exceeds 1.3 billion people, China has legalized abortion, and provides the procedure as a government service for any woman that requests it. China has a one-child policy as a part of its population control measures so, in many cases, abortion is a legal necessity. In fact, as a part of its national efforts to control its ballooning population, Chinese officials actually encourage (and provide) use and access to contraceptive methods and, yes abortions. One statistic estimates that in 2008, there were over 13 million abortions performed in China.
7. Efficient Political Apparatus
If anyone has become disgusted with the political party gridlock that epitomizes Washington DC, perhaps the more efficient — albeit vaguely dictatorial — Chinese method would suit them better.
China has a very efficient way of doing the country’s business. It’s kinda funny, but there are several different types of styles that can be used to accurately describe the Chinese government, in addition to socialism and communism. One of these is oligarchy. Essentially, the power and ultimate decision-making in China is controlled by a collection of 4 to 9 old men (sources are not sure of the exact number,) who sit on the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China. These guys give the orders, and approve of any significant national course of action, with everyone else in the government scurrying to carry out the dictates. Sure, this can allow for a bit of home-grown oppression – but hey, what’s a bit of dictatorial-styled tyranny when it comes to getting the government moving and doing its job?
No doubt, China has its own versions of political scuffles between the various ministries that administer the day-to-day affairs. Still, at the end of the day, having a select few individuals charting the course of the nation alleviates a whole lot inefficient inter-party bickering that is seen in American politics. The proof of its effectiveness is the Chinese economy. Once a desire is expressed to grow, and a plan is developed, it’s implemented. Period. And we already know the results of that.
6. Easy-To-Understand Presidential Election System
If you ask 10 random people to explain what the American electoral college system is, and how it plays a part in the election process of the presidency of the United States, you are almost certain to obtain a majority of blank stares. Indeed, even people who know what it is cannot explain exactly how the process works. What should be understood, however, is that winning the nationwide popular vote does not necessarily equate to a victory on election night. To date, the US has had four presidents who won their jobs without capturing the popular vote (George W. Bush, Benjamin Harrison, Rutherford Hayes, and John Quincy Adams). Not exactly democratic, but true enough.
In actuality, when a voter heads to the voting booth, he or she is voting for how their state will vote for the presidency. In a nutshell, each state has a number of delegates that is equal to the number of senators and representatives it has in congress. The presidential candidate who wins the popular vote of each state is awarded all of that state’s delegates (except in Nebraska and Maine). The delegates, in practice, cast their votes for the candidate who captured their states popular vote. The presidential candidate that has the most delegate votes wins. The process, actually has quite a bit more complexity and nuances, but I’m sure you get the point.
Under a socialist regime like that in China, the process is a bit more straightforward. On paper, the Chinese have what is termed a hierarchical electoral system. What this means, in theory, is that lower government bodies indirectly elect members to serve in higher government bodies. In other words, it sounds good and in line with communist principles. In actuality, however, the Communist Party of China controls the whole process, and only those individuals who are members (or sympathetic thereto) win “elected” office (in short, they’re appointed.) Generally speaking, higher government bodies look to lower ones to replenish their ranks when needed. In this manner, the Chinese government is able to maintain a consistent ideology that is not generally subject to external forces (such as the irritating will of the people).
In China, there are a lot of government bodies – one supposes to give the illusion of a worker’s environment. At any rate, while China has a president and vice-president, these offices are primarily ceremonial. The actual leader of the government is the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China. This office is filled on the recommendation of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China (consisting of about 25 high ranking individuals) and, specifically, the Politburo Standing Committee – China’s ruling oligarchy. Essentially, the Politburo decides who becomes a part of their ruling body. The Chinese people have no real say in who their “elected” leaders are.
5. Successful Immigration Policy
As the last election cycle illustrated, immigration reform is a hot-button issue in the US. While America was established, built, and flourished as a result of the immigrants who made a home here, many citizens today say that enough is enough. The resulting sentiment has motivated many states to pass tough immigration laws that are intended to stem the tide of illegal entry into the country. In addition to the various initiatives by individual states, the federal government maintains a robust border patrol force, numerous laws, and has plenty of ideas/suggestions on what else to do.
The entire issue, however, can be resolved by becoming more like China. One of the benefits of being a totalitarian regime, is that not a lot of people want to reside within its sphere of influence. China even goes as far as to place internal restrictions on the movement of its people, so working and traveling beyond where one resides can be difficult. As such, China hasn’t had the impetus to worry too much about an effective immigration policy, as no one was particularly trying to go there. Today, this is changing somewhat, as the Chinese economy begins to grow and present economic opportunities that are attractive to the less fortunate in neighboring nations. Nevertheless, if the US presents itself as an unattractive destination, it too will experience a decline in the amount of immigrants seeking entry.
4. Controllable Crime Rate
Crime is a major problem in the Land of the Free. There are a number of reasons that this is so. One major issue is the availability of firearms. Another issue is the growing disparity between the rich and poor. There is the problem of the disadvantaged not having equitable access to the opportunities and mechanisms that would alleviate their condition. And, lest we forget, there is also the cultural attitude of immediate gratification, that often will motivate some individuals to circumvent the traditional path of success, that mandates hard work over a prolonged period of time. In short, a lot of stuff that is primarily related to being an open and democratic society contributes to the overall crime rate. For this reason, the US places more individuals in prison than any other country (about 2 million).
By comparison, the socialist environment of China is relatively tranquil. Gun-related crime is virtually unheard of, and violent crime overall is very low. In recent years, China has reported an increase in non-violent crime, such as bicycle theft and larceny. This is being attributed to the growing economic prosperity that many Chinese are experiencing.
As for the reasons why Chinese commit less crime than their democratic counterparts, that is a tougher nut to crack. For certain, the absence of readily-available firearms is a prominent point to mention. There is also an attitude of conformance with authority (which can be argued to be the exact opposite of American attitudes,) that govern Chinese behavior towards legality. Equally, punishment in China, even for what many would consider minor infractions, is very stiff. Consider that China has the world’s second largest incarceration rate, imprisoning about 1.5 million of its citizens. Getting rid of the guns, accepting the absolute authority of the government, and draconian laws that lead to incredibly harsh imprisonment, are the steps the US need to realize a more peaceful society (and we already have plenty of harsh imprisonment laws, so we are 1/3 of the way there already!)
3. Effective Gun Control
In the wake of the most recent mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, there has been what some would consider a misplaced rage at the state of gun control in the US. As the National Rifle Association is quick to announce, “guns don’t kill people; people with guns kill people.” The NRA’s solution to growing violence is simple: arm more people. In the meantime, if you happen to want a military grade assault rifle for … well, whatever you would need one for (maybe the zombies,) you are free to own one. Still, the statistics on gun-related crime in the US are staggering, with close to 300,000 people dying from gunshot wounds since 2000, with countless more non-fatally injured.
China, by comparison, doesn’t experience the level of gun related crime that is found in the US. Why? Simple: by and large, ordinary citizens are not allowed to own firearms. There are exceptions for hunting but, beyond that, guns are strictly in the hands of official entities (military, police, etc.) And the laws that dish out punishment for people who decide to arm themselves anyway are tough, ranging from from 3 years in prison, to the death penalty. Granted, such draconian laws make it much more difficult for Chinese citizens to rise up against oppressive government regimes, but they have effectively eliminated a significant motivational element for crime.
2. Thriving Military Industrial Complex
In a public address before leaving office, President Dwight Eisenhower warned the American people about looming dangers of a burgeoning armaments industry that was taking shape in the United States, what he termed the military industrial complex. His fear was that these corporate entities, whose motivation would be profit, would exert undue influence over government affairs for their own purposes (such as advocating US involvement in prolonged military engagements and promoting general fear among the population for continued justification of a bloated defense budget…whew).
After the end of the Cold War, America finally had a reason to slash defense spending, which was more than what any other nation of the world invested, by far. Good for America, but not so good for armament business. Interestingly, the American government over the last 10+ years has been … “influenced” to find other military-related activities. This too is coming to an apparent end, and some folks are not happy about it, arguing that invasion is imminent if we don’t continue to spend upwards of $695 billion annually.
A socialist regime, such as China, does not have to be concerned about a citizenry that demands a different course of action. Once the government decides on a course of action, resources are allocated to accomplish the task at hand. In this case, China has decided that it wants to be a major player in the world, and not just a regional power. To this end, they have the world’s second-largest defense budget, only behind the US, spending about $120 billion a year. They already possess nuclear weapons, have the world’s largest standing army, and are now working to upgrade their navy, from a coastal force to one that is able to truly project Chinese military power abroad. Their military efforts are consistent, and not subject to disruption by such bothersome mechanisms as democratic intervention, or a desire to fund education or health care instead.
1. Universal Health Care
The recent passage of Obamacare, a measure intended to ensure that all Americans have access to suitable medical services, has been hailed as further proof that America is heading in the direction of a socialist society. The premise, of course, is that only a government with notorious intent could possibly want every citizen to have adequate medical assistance.
Such nefarious ambitions certainly have found purchase in China, which features a government-sponsored health care reimbursement system. The idea is to make health care affordable and accessible to everyone (a very dastardly concept indeed.) Therefore, under the Chinese structure, about 70 to 80% of medical expense is paid by the government (both central and local,) for poor rural residents, compared to about 30% for citizens residing in cities.
Is the system perfect? Of course not – many rural Chinese (well over a billion people) cannot even afford the minimal amount they are required to pay, and then there is the issue of quality of service. Chinese officials have recently undertaken an overhaul of their existing system to address this particular problem. The bottom line is, China provides a sliding scale of government assistance for health coverage, based on financial need. In the US, which actually has quality health care services, opponents of any type of universal health care essentially advocate that those who can’t afford it probably deserve to die anyway.
Hmm … this all sounds vaguely familiar …