'Ka Shr' means but. As anyone with kids knows, it's the first word out of the kid's mouth when you crack down on her, but not her sister who was right there doing the same thing, just not as loudly. Now that I have discovered The China Black Hand, I have some expectation that I get to be the less offending sister.
Not that CBH is particularly offensive, in fact it's damn interesting. I wish he would write more and quote less. But he's enough to the left of me that when it comes to African American Expatriate Chinese Bloggers, it won't be me that falls over first when the CCP cracks down.
As in every other experience in my life, there was always another black person interested in doing the same thing. One of the reasons I pay little attention to sentences that start 'black people dont' is because black people do. Whatever, wherever, whenever. We have always been large enough as a nation of folks to have experience wherever. There may be a whole lot of buttermilk, but there is definitely more than one fly.
Be all that as it may, the question of democracy in China is an interesting one. I have come to accept that in my own small way, I will inevitably be responsible for influencing people. I am convinced that there is a new and evolving kind of management style that bridges some of the gaps between what we mean when we say democracy, and the bad old days.
I ask in something of a provocative way, because I sense that CBH would ask me the question, what indeed would be the usefulness of democracy in China. That begs a lot of questions, namely, what is it about democracy works well and is valuable in America? I think when it comes down to it, simply voting is not the answer. So as I mulled over these matters yesterday, I found myself arguing that 'democracy' is inevitable in China, but it won't change much.
The syllogism goes a little something like this. There is a difference between power and control. If you decentralize the power of the CCP, then you will lose control, but you will not lose power. The power of the CCP, or any centralized organization, lies in its ability to command resources. But in a decentralized 'organization' it is the networker who gains power, and it is the substrate of the networking that becomes indispensible. This is just what Scott McNealy was saying forever. The network is more important than the computer.
The great advantage to the CCP or the American Executive Branch or any such central organization to decentralizing, is that you determine exactly what it is you want to decentralize and what authority you want to keep to yourself. This way you diffuse responsibility of those things you try to control but really fail to control, and you retain responsibility for those things you truly control. This is 'democracy'. The important question is what things you retain absolute authority over as to whether your authority is deemed oppressive.
In the US, people have a wide variety of choices when it comes to consumer goods, and even political views. But they have no choice when it comes to matters of monetary policy, foreign policy. So when the government makes certain monetary policy decisions that have broad implications, the results and broadedn or constrain the choices of consumer goods or political views that the general public has. However, since the governmnet is not in direct control of those things, only a very sophisticated analysis can draw the causal link. The masses do not and will not. Only a very expensive and well maintained revolution will allow the masses to retain the link and seek to unseat those in power. But authoritarian regimes, those who seek to control most everything, like consumer goods and political views, will always make mistakes. And since they are always seek control, they will always take the blame. This is the cause of their inevitable downfall. They are too large a target, and everything will get blamed on them.
A smart central authority reduces the size of its control but maintains links and networks to broad areas in society. This way it decentralizes and delegates and puts a buffer between itself and the masses, which it cannot and never will control. A wise strategy is to pursue the decentralization of consumer matters and political 'correctness' and retain control over other areas, like civil infrastructure, military forces and the administration of economic policy, foreign affairs etc, on the model of the US. It isn't clear whether or not matters of health care should be public or private, but I am leaning towards public.
As Laosan mentions, it doesn't make sense for the central Chinese government to get blamed for every insurrection in every village in China. This is where they ought to decentralize. They are going to have to learn how to tolerate a certain level of rebellion, because suppression of it is ultimately more expensive than letting fools have their way.
What I don't know is how deeply felt are the divisions of Chinese regions. I believe that their unity is more organic and historically rooted than that established by the USSR, and that federation would work very well in China if it came to that. Even so, I would encourage every hamlet in the wider area to elect their local representatives, rather than establish any regional positions. For that to work under any circumstances, I believe very strongly is going to take at least a generation. Any reform faster than that would be revolution, and revolutions are always bloody. That's why I'm against them.
So the question I am likely to have for my more liberal brothers in Asia is whether I represent, as a beneficiary of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, a revolutionary example of the power of democracy. I think I have a persuasive argument that ours was an evolution of reform which was enabled by a mature democracy. I mean it took 100 years. There were no beefs in 1965 which didn't exist in 1865. Even so, the state of 'managerial science' has advance considerably. We know how to speed the pace of organizational change without hitting a violent inflection. We can work at the speed of revolution and yet have it be reform, maybe. Either way, there's no need to rely on the marginal capacities of the grass roots to effect the kind of change that ultimately benefits everyone. But that takes wisdom.