The Chinese economy is outgrowing and out-innovating ours. The Chinese manufacturing sector now outperforms ours to the tune of almost $1 trillion US dollars a year. But why exactly is China beating us?
Even though we still hold a decent edge over them in terms of our total GDP, they are closing the gap fast. In recent years, the issue of America’s geopolitical and economic rivalry with China has come to the fore. President Trump made this issue a major one during his campaign, and the idea that “China is beating us” became one of his main selling points.
This is, of course, true.
Although the issue is a complex one, there is one major reason that the Chinese are now beating us, and will probably continue to beat us for the foreseeable future. It has little to do with industry and a lot to do with cultural and societal norms. Ultimately it all comes down to this: the Chinese are beating us because they still have a meritocracy, and we do not.
Think on it this way. Both the US and the PRC are semi-capitalist industrialized nations with large wealthy populations, powerful cadres of elite rulers, and hordes of under-educated poor. The differences between us and them, however, are crucial.
In the United States, we drain the pockets of the wealthy and the middle class to appease the non-working poor. We spend this money inefficiently, distributing it through a massive bureaucracy of government agencies, funding dozens of duplicate programs and spending vastly on entitlements for non-productive members of society.
Meanwhile, our roads and bridges crumble, our defense department wastes billions on semi-functional jets designed by committee, and our government-subsidized universities graduate more women’s-studies and sociology majors than engineers and chemists.
In China, they drain the pockets of the wealthy and the poor and expend the money on infrastructure, especially educational infrastructure to bolster the middle class. In China, if a poor child is talented, his gifts are fostered and encouraged. If he does well in school, he is able to find a well-paying job and climb his way into the middle class.
China makes sure to nurture exceptional individuals, a spirit of intense competition drives children to do their very best in school. Here in the United States, children are babied, coddled, and taught to believe the ridiculous notion that everyone is equal and therefore everyone will be equally good at everything and equally successful in life.
When Chinese children enter adulthood, they have already been prepared for the difficulties of the real world by the pressure-cooker environment of their educational system. When American children enter adulthood, they are often broken by the unexpected difficulties of real life, and most now retreat back to their parents’ basements.
Chinese children are taught that they owe a debt to society. American children are taught that society owes a debt to them. Chinese children are taught that it is their responsibility to serve their government and drive their society into the future. American children are taught that it is their government’s responsibility to serve them, and that only the government can be entrusted to uphold society now, let alone in the future.
Bizarrely, China has almost become more true to Western principles than the United States; here in America we have surrendered our rights and freedoms in exchange for the government’s promises of safety and prosperity. And we have done this wholly on our own, with our own foolish votes; no Chairman Mao ever swept into our country and forced a big government on us.
In America, many people expect the government to solve every problem for them, and Americans are trained to ask permission before they are allowed to innovate or profit. In China, the average person works to enrich himself without the government’s say-so, because the Chinese elite understand that all economic growth benefits their society.
Our government hampers businesses and working people with thousands upon thousands of regulations written by egg-headed bureaucrats who have never worked a day in their lives. The interest of the government regulator who simply wants to justify his job now outweighs the interest of the real American worker. In China, the government invests heavily in its valuable industries and protects its natural interest with legal and monetary policies that are pro-Chinese.
Of course, the political atmosphere of China is still one of communist repression. But the same can now be said of the United States as well. Here in America we must now be sure not to say or do anything that does not reflect the party line. Political Correctness has become crippling; we live in an environment of fear and self-suppression.
The same is certainly true in China, but the difference is that the Chinese have crafted a regime of censorship that orients their society towards technological and scientific achievement. In America, the political elites have crafted a system of censorship that orients society towards weakened industry, mealy-mouthed liberalism, and moral and spiritual laxity.