ACCUMULATING PERIPHERALS


Iran, China, and the middle of history by mattsteinglass
June 28, 2009, 1:12 pm
Filed under: China, democracy, Iran

Matthew Yglesias had an uncharacteristically weird post yesterday on the #iranelections uprising as part of the old “end of history” thesis:

The geographical scope in which Shi’a Islamism and velayat-e faqih could possibly become the dominant form of government is obviously pretty limited because there aren’t that many Shia Muslims in the world. But despite that limit the Islamic Revolution represented the only real example I think you could come up with of a true ideological alternative to liberal democracy in the world. And part of what we’ve seen over the past several weeks is the collapse of that alternative.

I don’t understand where China is supposed to sit in this narrative. Clearly, the Chinese model of a dominant ruling party which essentially professionalizes the business of government and hands it over to a self-selecting and to some extent meritocratic elite, while dramatically restricting the ability of the populace to participate in politics and limiting freedom of expression and assembly in order to ensure stability, is an “alternative” to the liberal democratic model. And it is, so far, a quite successful alternative.

What Yglesias might be saying is that the Chinese model is not an “ideological alternative” because the actual structure of the regime is not determined by a clearly articulated ideology. The supposed ideology the regime embraces, the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist stuff, is (on this view) not actually believed by anyone, while the real rationale that structures the political system is only explicitly stated in analyses by foreign observers, not by the regime itself. But I think this view, if it is the view Yglesias takes, is wrong. The philosophy that undergirds the structure of the Chinese regime is part of a millennia-old Confucian tradition in much the same way that liberal democracy partakes of the millennia-old Greek tradition. This philosophy has absorbed Marxism in much the mushy and indeterminate way that Buddhism was folded into a Confucian tradition, after temporarily becoming the official state ideology in the Tang dynasty.

The Chinese philosophy of governance is hard to understand and encapsulate for Westerners in large measure because the Confucian tradition of writing and argument is quite dissimilar from the Western tradition, and doesn’t involve as much rigid logical elaboration, so we often can’t figure out what they’re saying. But the underlying precepts are quite consistent and come up over and over when one gets into political arguments. One might argue that because it’s so deeply embedded in Chinese or East Asian culture, this model of governance is not exportable (beyond East Asia, anyway) and thus doesn’t represent an “ideological alternative”. But I think this isn’t quite true, either. There are elements of the Chinese approach to governance that can be embraced by many countries. I’ve heard Ethiopians say that their government seems to be trying to reshape its structure into a Chinese-style single-party mandarinate, under the influence of Chinese success. And, of course, liberal democracy is deeply imbricated in a Western European cultural inheritance and has for this reason been very difficult for many non-European countries to embrace.

In fact, the Iranian political model might be described as a variant of the Chinese one, with the mullahs and the Guardian Council as the moral/ideological “parallel structure”, instead of the Communist Party. (Remember that the Iranian revolution was a late-70s anti-colonialist revolution with plenty of Marxist participation.) The weakness of the Iranian system is probably that because of its fundamentalist religious character, it is proving less adaptable to consumerist capitalism, feminism, and other forms of social change than the Communist Chinese system. Then again, the Iranian problem might simply be that Iran suffers from a resource curse, while China doesn’t.

But the main point is that I think the Chinese ideological challenge to liberal democracy is pretty strong. Let’s take an example. Broadly speaking, Western liberal democracy takes the view that individuals are the best judges of their own interests, and that a society that leaves them to pursue those interests will mostly arrive at greater wealth and happiness for everyone. Confucian political systems take the view that individuals, left to themselves, will engage in destructive feuds and be seduced by charlatans into ruinous schemes, and that every society needs a well-educated class of wise men who have a solemn responsibility to protect harmony and the general welfare. In the aftermath of the global financial crisis, which of these views seems more plausible relevant?

That’s a pretty strong ideological challenge, no?

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12 Comments so far
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Great post. It would be interesting to relate these two dominant and apparently successful paradigms (Confucian meritocracy and Western liberal democracy) with the enduring subsurface success of feudalism, broadly defined as any governing structure constructed by bonds of personal loyalty where the strongest bonds of all are typically family relationships. Pakistan and India both offer examples where the competition between parties is democratic but where the parties themselves often seem to operate feudally.

By this reading, “corruption” or “nepotism” for example are just incomplete descriptions of feudal behavior from the point of view of the ruling abstraction; they describe examples of feudalism rather than its essence.

Is there some force countervailing to feudalism at the level of real motivations, as opposed to aspirational abstractions such as democracy and meritocracy? Or will feudalism always be the basis of everything?

Comment by Jarrett

I have never accepted that ‘Confucianism’ is a major factor in the current Chinese political system. Leaving aside the utter and irrevocable destruction of the Confucian system post-1899 (really, this is like saying that Tsarism is the driving force in Russia, or that Prussian militarism drives Germany, or that the values of Shinto and Bushido run Japan), the current system in no major way reflects the current political Confucianism of, say, 13th century China, any more than any other one-party state does. The system of examination required to enter the Communist party is in no way as strenuous or as testing as the old imperial examinations, in fact they are viewed as a joke, consisting mainly of regurgitating large amounts of meaningless rhetoric, and membership is conferred far more on the basis of reliability and social popularity than on the grounds of merit. Membership itself does not confer power above that found in any other communist state, instead promotion within the government relies on a range of factors, performance being only one of those factors, and not the most important.

My theory is that the guys who push this idea (Martin Jacques and Jonathan Spence being chief among them) do so because it actually means they can come up with a total theory as to how the modern China is run without actually, you know, living in China or perhaps even learning the language. Even the modern-day Chinese Confucians speak of it only as something they would like to see come about, or instead (like Shi Yinhong) instead prefer to speak about ‘Chineseness’.

No, in truth, what we see in modern day China has little to do with Confucianism (less, even, than modern-day politics in, say, Buenos Aires or Wellington has to do with their supposed Greek roots) and much more to do with the straight forward force of 20th century nationalism. Shi Yinhong’s ‘Chineseness’ is in fact indistinguishable from this. The reason why China’s modern-day system of governance (rather than its economic reforms) is so rarely touted as an alternative, is because when expressed in simple terms as that . .

” . . . of a dominant ruling party which essentially professionalizes the business of government and hands it over to a self-selecting and to some extent meritocratic elite, while dramatically restricting the ability of the populace to participate in politics and limiting freedom of expression and assembly in order to ensure stability”

. . it sounds an awful lot like the kind of nationalistic dictatorship ‘enjoyed’ by Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Chile, fascist Italy, etc. It is nationalism, far more than centuries-old and three-quarters-forgotten Confucianism that drives modern-day China. Submission to power relies far more on the promise of national strength than it does on the Confucian ideals of virtue and obedience, aggrandisement through territorial conquest and the crushing of domestic opposition is what that promised power will be used for. Modern-day Chinese nationalists are far more likely to speak approvingly of Chiang Kai Shek than they are of Confucius. What drives modern-day China (rather than the oriental never-never land with which observers like Jonathan Spence seem so entranced) is the fascism which dare not speak its name.

Comment by FOARP

In fact, I’ll go further. Never, in the thousands of discussions I’ve had with both academics and ordinary folk about Chinese politics, has one Chinese person mentioned Confucianism as the main driver behind modern-day Chinese politics. If the current system really is a ‘Confucian’ one (remembering, of course, that Confucianism as a national political system came centuries after his death) then the vast majority of Chinese people are unaware of it. Even Marx and Lenin receive more credit. You might as well ask whether the dictatorship of the colonels in 70’s Greece was motivated by the philosophy of Plato and Socrates.

Comment by FOARP

FOARP: I’m about to get on a plane and may not be able to respond to this for some time. But very briefly, in Vietnam, I have also never heard any Vietnamese talk about Confucianism as “the main driver” behind Vietnamese politics (some mention it as influencing underlying attitudes); but if you try to understand what’s going on here without reference to some civilizational ideas about politics common in Chinese-influenced East Asian societies that go back long before the advent of Ho Chi Minh Thought and Marxism-Leninism, you will have no way of understanding anything about power relations in family, society and government. People use “Confucianism” as a shorthand for these civilizational ideas because it’s a pretty serviceable shorthand, like “Judeo-Christian” or “the Greco-European philosophical tradition”. True, almost no one has studied Confucianism in Vietnam since the French barred the exams in I believe 1920. (Though Ho Chi Minh, whose father was a Mandarin who passed his doctoral exams and taught in a Confucian school, did study Confucianism as a youngster.) But confronted by the blunt fact of how differently politics here works — how different it is from Communist politics in Germany, how similar to Communist politics in China — it seems peculiar to me to insist that Confucianism is not relevant. The question is: is there a Chinese ideological model, and is it exportable? Obviously the Chinese model is not Leninism anymore. You seem to be saying that the Chinese model is simply fascism. I think there’s some truth to that description, but that it also misses a lot, and that the Chinese “thing” seems at the moment to be much stabler and more of a challenge than Italian fascism was.

Comment by mattsteinglass

Sorry to do multiple posts, but this really needs to be said: a big reason why the Chinese system of governance has not had the kind of effect on other countries that the Russian revolution did, is because the Chinese government has not sought to promote its system of governance in the way the USSR did. Deng Xiaoping’s “don’t argue” not only expressed the tacit abandonment of Marxism as an economic system, but also the abandonment of any expressed ideological contention or promotion of the Chinese system in other countries. Chinese communist party members, who are happy to identify themselves as such in their own country, will even refuse to say whether they are members when overseas. The recently promulgated “6 Whys” (which can be read here: http://cmp.hku.hk/2009/06/19/1668/ ) may signal a change in as much as it explicitly argues against widely expressed criticism, but it does not actually promote anything in place of this criticism except a silent assertion of nationalism under the disguise of ‘serving local conditions’.

And yes, once again, Confucius has nothing to do with this. There is no place for the Confucian virtue of ‘shame’ in modern-day Chinese politics, as the “Six Whys” clearly demonstrate.

Comment by FOARP

Really? That would be quite different from Vietnam, then. The virtue of shame is an extremely powerful more here.

Comment by mattsteinglass

The problem here is to bag up Chinese culture with the Chinese political system. If you go to Taiwan, for example, which is actually far more marked by the Chinese cultural heritage than mainland China (even if its relative modernity and military alliances drive certain commenters to label it ‘westernised’) you will find an active democracy highly antagonistic to the supposed ‘Confucian political system’ on the mainland, even as both political leaders and ordinary people there openly appeal to Confucian ideals (as compared to the mainland China where they are almost never mentioned).

Obviously China and Vietnam share the same cultural heritage, one having been a colony of the other for a thousand years and a feudatory thereafter, but their geographical and historical connections explain more about their current political system than their cultural links. Korea is also joined to China in roughly the same way that Vietnam is, but the guns of the UN army prevented the political system found north of the Yalu from reaching the straits of Tsushima. That they were able to do so is a result of Korea’s geographical location, cultural factors simply didn’t come into it. Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Mongolia and Laos are also similarly linked to China to varying degrees, but their presumed ‘Confucianism’ (or ‘Buddhism’, or ‘Sinism’, or whatever) has not prevented them developing in totally different ways.

I guess right now you can see that I’m the kind of guy whose first reaction to Clash of Civilisations was to throw the book away, before spending the best part of two months forcing myself to read it (of course, Guns, Germs, and Steel I read cover-to-cover as quickly a possible). Just because something is ‘serviceable shorthand’ for something doesn’t validate bundling up a billion and a half people. ‘Judeo-Christian’ as a shorthand is even more meaningless, given the historical persecution of Jews by Christians, the fact that large Christian communities (Eastern Europe, South America) often aren’t included in it, and the fact that Christianity is as much a Jewish heresy as Islam is a Christian one (is the Iranian system ‘Christo-Islamic’?). ‘Greco-European’ is equally open to criticism. At best these terms describe rough cultural zones, and have little political relevance.

China most definitely has a political system. The current system most definitely is a threat to the development of democracy inside China, but come now, this is a system where the government actually fears democracy so much that it has to issue “Six Whys” explaining “why” it has to keep imprisoning and torturing those who commit acts of treason like writing a list of reforms they would like to see happen, or campaigning for better treatment for AIDS suffers, or greater environmental protection. So long as China continues to obey Deng’s strictures “don’t argue” and “don’t claim the leadership” (that is, “don’t argue” that China’s political system is better, and “don’t claim” ideological “leadership”) it will be no more than an economic prop for authoritarianism in other countries, not an ideological one. Since the downsides to the Chinese political system are so obvious, the only thing that justifies it the eyes of the majority of Chinese people’s minds is the possibility that China will become a rich superpower under CCP rule. Chinese people are only willing to sacrifice based on dreams of national glory. Like Ross Terrill put it, nationalism is the nearest thing China has to a national religion.

As for Iran, it is very hard to see what the Chinese influence there is outside of the obvious economic one. China’s links to Japan and America are far greater and more important than its links to Iran, for that matter Iran’s links with the ‘west’ are more important than its links with China. The total destruction of the Tudeh party, and the Iranian regime’s express anti-communism preclude any great communist influence in it politics. Iran is also a much richer and younger country than China, having a per capita GDP either 30% or 100% greater than mainland China’s depending on whether you use the nominal or PPP measurement. The ‘failure’ of the Iranian system is in providing the perfect catalyst for anti-government revolution in the form of a stolen election. Whilst local corruption and government excess may bring people onto the streets in individual Chinese cities and towns, no national catalyst has been allowed by the government, and short of a coup I cannot think what might.

Re: ‘Shame’. I cannot remember one CCP official making an appeal to this virtue in any official statement. Whilst the Confucian values have a residual weight with the general populace, they have no place in official thought. Compare this to Taiwan, where the trial of Chen Shuibian has seen regular appeals to it by both the KMT and the DPP.

Comment by FOARP

Are you really sure that “Since the downsides to the Chinese political system are so obvious, the only thing that justifies it the eyes of the majority of Chinese people’s minds is the possibility that China will become a rich superpower under CCP rule”? You don’t think average people share instinctive negative responses to “splittism” and concur quickly that dissidents condemned by the regime are “against China” and so forth? That people accept the idea that human-rights groups are “conspiring to overthrow the government”? In Vietnam I find a strong cultural and political antipathy to disunity. At the same time there is a strong positive pressure to form consensus within groups; a continuing value on “self-criticism” and “improvement”; and a strong appreciation of the value of creative ambiguity for smoothing over differences. Of course one can pick all this apart the moment one suggests it: young people and Southerners are more vocal and individualist, Western politicians also value ambiguity in many circumstances, and so forth. But I think the difference is real, it reinforces and is reinforced by aspects of the Communist system, and it contributes to the striking difference of Vietnamese politics from European politics in ways that are likely to persist for quite some time and could even potentially be adopted by other countries with local modifications, if they found the Vietnamese model attractive. Which people in the US or Europe or Taiwan wouldn’t, but people in Tanzania might.

I think you’re right that I’m having trouble drawing a good line between Chinese culture and the Chinese political system, and I don’t really claim to know much about either one. But I think when speaking of political models, one shouldn’t drop their cultural and long-term historical antecedents out of the picture. The similarities between Tsarism, Soviet Communism and Putinism aren’t coincidental, but that’s also not to say that it was foreordained that true multiparty democracy would not take hold in Russia in the ’90s. I think one has to keep all of these things in mind at once, though I also accept that it is important to try and phrase clearly when one is talking about a concrete contemporary political system and when one is talking about something longer-term and fuzzier. But at times you seem to be implying that those longer-term things don’t even matter and aren’t real; and I wouldn’t follow you there.

I think we’re probably having negative reactions to two different sets of arguments. You, I think, are arguing against Western philosophy profs who have a soft spot for academic Confucianism and wishfully conflate it with the actually existing Chinese state. But I’m arguing against those Westerners — and there are far more of them — who complacently assume that liberal democratic capitalism is the inevitable end-state of all modern states and that multiparty liberal democracy will inevitably arrive in China. I agree with Martin Jacques that this is not necessarily the case and that we should face the uncomfortable possibility that an illiberal autocracy of the Chinese type MAY be a workable, stable state that can handle a modern economy. (Though I don’t know anything about the rest of his argument.) I think for the purposes of our discussion, I might be able to phrase this as agreeing with you that the CCP is basically fascism with Chinese characteristics, but that the problem is that fascism with Chinese characteristics may be a lot more stable and economically successful than fascism with Spanish or Italian characteristics was.

Comment by mattsteinglass

Matt, the only thing I’m unsure about with that statement is the awful “eyes of the Chinese people’s minds” bit. The only Chinese people I spoke to who did not think that China required eventual democratic reform were the convinced ideological communists (whose membership only weakly corresponded to that of the official communist party) who believed that China was already a democracy. These, though, believed this in much the same un-critical and absent-minded way that a home-schooled evangelical Christian believes in the literal truth of the bible. One such person even described government officials to me as self-sacrificing people who lived for the people and rode to work on bicycles, as if on cue a limousine with military plates rolled past.

The overwhelming majority of people who did believe in the need for democratic reform were willing to forego it out of fear that it might lead to political instability which might derail economic growth. The ultra-nationalists among them also feared that it might prevent China’s emergence as a superpower with the strength to right perceived historical wrongs (Taiwan, Mongolia, Japan etc.). However, the internet exaggerates the degree to which such opinions are held as it does with all extreme opinions – although reluctance to admit holding such opinions in open conversation and when speaking to a foreigner probably down-plays it also, so perhaps we can take the average of the two? Let’s say (as a very rough guess) 10-25% of the populace can be described as ‘nationalists’ of the type who will condemn people like Liu Xiaobo as a spy. I have no experience of other dictatorships, but I doubt that this percentage would be all that different for any other reasonably well-established and secure autocracy exercising the powers over the media that the CCP does. However, I’m willing to concede that some account might have to be made in these figures for the number of opponents of the regime (or even just unlucky members of that regime) who have been executed or otherwise silenced. I would say that had this not taken place there might be more tolerance for ‘splittism’.

You see, whilst I don’t discount cultural factors, they are usually the least predictable, the least knowable, and the least important in creating the modern-day situation. Any estimate as to what the culture of a country actually is relies on either a likely-to-be-critical outside opinion or a likely-to-be-self-congratulatory inside opinion, and will be be based on little if any real-world data. For examples of this in relation to western societies, we need only compare the assertions coming from people like the late Samuel Huntingdon as to the ease with which our supposed ‘Judeo-Christian’ civilisation naturally accommodates democracy, with the characterisation by certain Chinese observers of western people as little better than turbulent monkeys due to our supposed ‘hunter-gatherer’ ‘nomadic’ cultural origins, as opposed to China’s peasant-farmer culture. Taken too far, analysis of this kind looks an awful lot like racism.

Even where it clearly isn’t the result of prejudiced thinking, it can suffer a great deal from hindsight and post-facto determinism. The example of Vladimir Putin is instructive. Whilst every Russian I’ve met (all three of them) spoke approvingly of the man and referenced the Russian culture of ‘the big boss’ as a reason for his popularity, how many would have done so when he came to power as Yeltsin’s hand-picked successor? Why is it that Putin is thought of as ‘the boss’, when it is Yeltsin – dancing, boozing Yeltsin – who did not hesitate to answer domestic opponents with tank-gun fire, rig elections (as the head of the OSCE 1996 observer mission conceded), attack separatists etc. etc. etc.

All of this is even before you consider the special circumstances inside a dictatorship. Whereas in a democracy the government is at least notionally an expression of the will of the people and unlikely to set itself against an important element of national culture, dictatorships mould national culture to serve their ends, quite literally killing off those elements they wish to repress, and accentuating those elements they find most useful. In the case of China, since at least 1912 traditional culture has been under ceaseless assault, first from the nationalists, and then, much more effectively, by the communists. It is important to note that the very cultural elements ‘collectiveness’ which is identified as facilitating dictatorship was little remarked on before 1912 (except mainly in the Boxers and the Taipings, themselves anti-Confucian ‘rebels against heaven’), was first noted in revolutionary organisations (hence ‘Gung Ho’), is a natural development of communist ideology, and is, of course, very useful to the government. You can only conclude that if ‘collectiveness’ is an integral part of Chinese culture, it required the killing of the landlords, the destruction of all cultural artefacts and niceties, the elimination of all independent thought, and the brainwashing of the populace to expose it as something facilitating dictatorship. Those places where traditional Chinese culture survives to a greater extent (such as Taiwan) show an equal love for faction, whilst people avoid open disagreement ‘collectiveness’ does not prevent the operation of more major political parties than can be found in the United States.

What, then, are the factors which must be considered before culture? Well, my knowledge of Vietnam is derived entirely from books, but I’m going to take a stab at saying that the success of communism there relied firstly on the relative ease of infiltration across her borders, the relatively low degree of economic development and education, the skill of the communist leaders, and the obviously corrupt and hopeless nature of their colonial and nationalist opponents. That is, geographic, economic, political and historical factors, cultural factors are outweighed by these.

Take something like the one-child policy. Would an analysis based on Chinese culture have predicted such a move? Certainly not, but an analysis based on China’s pressing demographic problems combined with an appreciation of the sheer ruthlessness of the Communist party might have.

Fascism with Chinese characteristics is a very good name for where the Chinese government is headed, but I don’t think they have reached there yet. At least, nationalism is still something which is only whispered. Nationalist movements (such as the 2005 anti-Japanese protests) are tolerated in a way that other movements are not, but they are not in the driving seat. This, however, could change when the leadership changes in 2012, but the current ‘ideology’ is nothing but a cobbling together of many strains. The best comparison (and the one most often made) is that of Wilhelmine Germany, where everyone from militarists to social democrats showed themselves willing to accept the leadership of an absolute monarchy, despite not having any real ideological reason for doing so. The fact that Germany under the Kaiser did not have an attractive ideology did not prevent it from being a threat to democracy though.

Comment by FOARP

Perhaps all these erudite commentators are correct and Confucianism has no part in coloring the Chinese system. That Chinese don’t mention it may however be no more significant then a successful rapper who has a multi-million dollar clothing line but never read The Protestant Work Ethic. It’s embedded in the culture I suspect no? And culture is persistent. Even after the Japanese ruthlessly suppressed the Korean culture for 60 years it popped right back up. (The North may however have succeeded where no other tyranny has in producing a truly new man. Pity.)
Anyway, Richard Nixon predicted all of this in an oped he wrote in the times in 93 in which he warned that tomorrows threat would come from authoritarian capitalism. He was almost right- that would be one threat. But Islamacism is a far deeper ideology then Marxism ever was. The Shia may not be its chief beneficiary, but in any case it no longer requires great numbers of adherents to be devastating to the rest of the world.

Comment by joe

I’m no Sinologist (view them with a bit of suspicion, actually). I do agree with one point Joe made, which is that while Confucianism no longer exerts literary or academic force on contemporary Chinese political thought in a citational way, it’s entirely possible that Confucian notions are embedded (naturalized) in society in much the way individualism tacitly undergirds US democratic thought. Rugged individualism is so pervasive its operation is ideological–disguised by psychological, socio-political processes–that it appears self-evidently “obvious.” Hasn’t “individualism” always existed in a seemingly transhistorical and transcultural way? To describe it would be like writing down instructions on how to breathe.

Have you taken a look at diasporic theorists of neo-Confucianism, much work of which was done in the mid- and late-1990s, for example? Tu Wei Ming explained the go-go capitalism of the Five Dragons (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and Korea) by likening the way Confucian capitalism works (less flatteringly, “crony capitalism”) to the Weberian Protestant Work Ethic. Tu was arguing for the easy fit between Confucianism’s hierarchical social order and family-based capitalism. But I would’t be surprised if his work was resurrected by mainland Chinese to now authorize their ballooning GDP and slow efforts at privatization as “indigenous” *because* it’s “Confucian.”

That’s why I’d situate Confucianism as a discourse that opposes individualism, and not democracy or capitalism. As I understand it (I’m Chinese American), Confucianism is a way to describe and order the extended family as opposed to the nuclear one. It proscribes an ideal of relational selfhood always embedded in a web of prioritized, hierarchical relationships, i.e., the Five Relationships, and not an atomized individual who is the primary political agent. In theory, these nested relationships span from the bedroom to the meeting hall/the emperor’s chambers.

Do we even know what a democracy constituted by these relationally-obligated subjects looks like? I don’t think it’s been done yet; perhaps Tiananmen was an attempt. Just as we barely got to see the outlines of a version of Islamic democracy appear in Iran before that possibility was crushed within the last two weeks.

The fact that political and economic systems cleave together/apart seems crucial to how labile the PRC can be with its social/economic discourse. Confucianism is but one discourse individuals, relationally-defined individuals, and nations can use to shape political as well as social behavior. One trick to understanding its unpinnable, shape-shifting behavior is to see it as discourse–a substrate upon which many other things can be blended.

Comment by cynematic

[…] July 19, 2009, 10:40 pm Filed under: China, Development A couple of weeks back Matt wrote a piece asking whether the Chinese political/economic system (i.e., a single-party dictatorship combined […]

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