[ExI] Meanwhile in China...

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Wed Aug 11 15:08:07 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: John Grigg <possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com>
> To: ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
> Sent: Tue, August 10, 2010 7:15:10 AM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Meanwhile in China...
> I have very mixed feelings about China.  I don't quite have the
> "neocon knee-jerk reaction" I used to possess, but their nation still
> does greatly disturb me.  I find it interesting that the Bush
> administration put a greater focus on preparing for a future war with
> China, than they did the current Middle Eastern war, which they had
> started.  But as Secretary of Defense Gates later said after
> correcting course, "if we are going to have this war, we must put all
> available resources into it, to support our troops!"  And I agree with
> him, though we do need to end the current war fairly soon, to better
> focus on the economic & political & military struggle we now have with
> China.

What we need is a specific and definable victory condition. Something we can 
achieve and say that we won the war. Otherwise we face the possibility of simply 
running out of money and pulling out like the Soviet Union did just before it 
collapsed and broke up. I hate to say it but China is doing to us what we did to 
the Soviets. That is not interrupting an enemy who is making a mistake, to 
paraphrase Napoleon.

> It frightens me to think that a nation with little or no respect for
> civil liberties (even of their own people), is going to probably be
> the greatest economic and military power on the planet within several
> decades!  I realize some experts say the upcoming generation of savvy
> young Chinese college professionals are going to change everything,
> but I suspect pursuing money and status will be their burning goal,
> and not Western-style basic human rights.

The Chinese government is generally good about recruiting well-educated young 
professionals for party membership and cushy appointments in the beauracracy. 
China has a long history as a meritocracy. If the best and the brightest are 
well taken care of, little will change. If the attrition of the middle class and 
unemployment amongst well-educated professionals continues in this country, 
there might be a revolution here before there is one in China. Student loan 
default rates are higher than they have ever been in the U.S., that should be a 
huge red flag, but the news barely reports it. 

> The U.S. will burn itself out if we think we can single-handedly stand
> up to the growing might of China (some experts say by 2050 their
> military budget will be larger than ours).  We must have allies to do
> it, as we did during the cold war years with the NATO Alliance.  The
> U.S. could fence in China's ambitions, at least up to a point, by
> having a strong bond with Japan, Korea, Vietnam, India, Europe and
> even Russia (Russia controls extremely mineral rich areas north of
> China, that used to belong to China, and China wants them back even if
> war comes of it, but Taiwan will be dealt with first, Russia's best
> military forces face China and not Europe!, always keep that in
> mind...).  This would discourage China from a Tibet-style invasion &
> occupation, but this time on a much bigger and more powerful neighbor
> (such as Korea, Vietnam or even Japan).

Agreed. But keep in mind that experts said that the Chinese auto industry 
wouldn't surpass ours for another couple of decades. But it already did, this 
year. I expect the Chinese military to be ahead of schedule. 
> But with China owning so much U.S. debt, and being so connected at the
> hip with us, in regards to trade, I wonder to what extent it is
> probable that the two nations will really get into a shooting war.  It
> would greatly harm both our economies, and my impression is that China
> has a "victory without a single shot ever fired" economic world
> domination strategy in dealing with the United States.  They have a
> vastly more sophisticated playbook than the old Soviet Union ever
> had...

Indeed. I too think that China will mostly flex economic muscle, until the 
surplus of men gets too high there.

> China will have a major challenge when the rising generation of young
> men don't have enough young women to be their brides (due to Chinese
> parents wanting male offspring and the highly enforced one child only
> laws, that only recently has been softened somewhat).  And this could
> be a major cause of social discontent, if not properly dealt with.  I
> suppose foreign girls from the Philippines and elsewhere may be
> brought in.  Black market smuggling of young women into China will
> also probably be a very big industry.

Perhaps. Also, historically, populations with surplus men have been more 
belligerent. Consider arabs from Islamic theocracies, for example. Because of 
the three wives law, the wealthy men get three wives and the poor men get 
none. The promise of virgins in paradise in exchange for martyrdom feeds 
directly off of their sexual frustration. 

> Through the lens of transhumanism, I especially worry.  I don't want
> to see AGI and advanced nanotech subverted by China and used to
> control the Earth and beyond.  As much as I cringe at some of the
> things the United States has done, a China that masters such
> convergence technologies ahead of any other nation, would potentially
> be a terrifying force for tyranny at a level never before seen.

Well if Keith is right and the combination of AGI and nanotech is going to cause 
the extinction of the human race, maybe we are better off having it start in 
China. It would give the west time to prepare. Maybe I am a bit humanocentric 
but most of my loved ones are human.
> We Americans think the good times can go on forever and the bills will
> never come due.  The Chinese will be waiting...

Well said, John, as was your whole post. Thanks for understanding.

Stuart LaForge

"Old men read the lesson in the setting sun.
Beat the cymbal and sing in this life, or wail away the hours fearing death.
Their choice is their fortune." - I Ching 


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