Instead of a demonstration of its overwhelming military might intended to intimidate tiny North Korea and pressure China to lean on its defiant communist neighbor, President Trump and the West should try to learn a few things from China.
The President’s trip to the Far East came on the heels of the completion of China’s 19th National Congress, where the current president, Xi Jinping, has cunningly positioned himself as China’s unchallenged leader. In an address at the opening of the Congress, Xi cautioned that the country faced “challenges” that are “extremely grim” yet, despite these, the nation’s future is “extremely bright.”
While Western politicos and pundits bemoan the lack of political pluralism that exists within China and President Trump complained about bad trade “deals,” they miss an important factor as to why China has transformed itself from a socialist basket case some three decades ago into an economic powerhouse which now boasts over a third of the world’s billionaires!
China’s economic ascendancy can be attributed not only to the implementation of market reforms in the 1990s, but also its lack of “political competition.” As a one-party state, resources, time, energy, and capital are not allowed to be channeled into wasteful political processes, but instead are used and “invested” in wealth-creation activities — construction, factories, plants, equipment, research, technology — all of which leads to more and cheaper consumer goods.
The U.S. and the West spend too much on elections, campaigns, polling, political consultation, etc., which diverts scarce resources away from the private wealth sectors of society. For example, in her last failed presidential campaign run, the Wicked Witch of Chappaqua alone spent over a half billion dollars.
Under Western democratic pluralism, public debt and state spending have increased to unsustainable levels. In the U.S. alone — history’s greatest debtor nation — the national debt is in excess of $20 trillion, while its total debt unofficially is $68 trillion with a federal deficit (GAAP) running yearly at $5 ½ trillion.
Such staggering numbers are the result, in part, from political parties seeking public office and once elected exploiting their position to enrich themselves, their constituents, and create dependent classes among the ever shrinking productive segments of society.
China’s foreign policy — an extension of politics — has also been conducive for wealth creation. Instead of wasteful spending on military hardware, the maintenance of a far-flung global empire, and involvement in incessant wars, China has a rather meek military compared to its national income and has conducted a pretty much non-interventionist foreign policy — witness its diplomacy with North Korea.
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