Wednesday, February 01, 2006

"Perestroika Before Glasnost." But Of Course.

This Tech Central Station article by James V. DeLong has got to be one of the most visionary I've read in months. It may be idealistic, but I like it. Here are the essential points:

"The Chinese are undertaking simultaneously several of the most difficult tasks that any nation can attempt. They are loosening the grasp of an authoritarian regime; fostering rapid economic development; and evolving the proper form of government for a huge population of widely varying sophistication and skill in the technological age, bearing in mind the history and culture of China.

"Were I a Chinese leader, I would be thinking along the following lines.

"We have no model for this daring and difficult enterprise, even if we think that in the long-term we need some variation of a democratic state. The West's assumption that all we need do is ape it represents a presumption that would be amusing if the issue were not so serious, because democracy in the West is in serious jeopardy.

"Look at Russia, where the recommended shock treatment approach was a disaster. The lesson may be that converting to a more capitalistic state requires economic loosening before political loosening -- perestroika before glasnost. The rule of law may have to start at the top and then extend downward, and be followed by a broad voting franchise only after the basics of industrial development are firmly in place. This was, after all, the pattern of the Western democracies. Magna Carta was for barons, not peasants."

Read the full article here.



Build first; inhabit second. I like this idea of perestroika before glasnost. It makes perfect economic sense.

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