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Saturday, July 27, 2013

A One Party System vs. Democracy

The link below is to a TED talk by a fellow by the name of Eric Li.  He argues that China's current version of a one-party system is better suited to future success than the countries that are run by democratically elected leaders.  He makes some good points. 

The thing that I find most striking is that his description of how China's political system works sounds a great deal like a corporate structure. 

I have argued in the past that government is not a business, does not have the objectives of a business, and should not be run like a business, but the corporate structure of promotion based on performance and merit has its definite advantages over electing leaders because we think we would like to have a beer with them.  I don't know how many times (a lot) I have heard people say they were going to vote for a particular candidate either because "I don't know, I just like him/her" or because they don't "like" the opponent.  And even if they have actual political reasons, often times those reasons are simply not even true and are based on something they saw on a TV ad.

The biggest problem, Li admits, is corruption.  Luckily, we don't have that with democratically elected leaders.;-)

I would be interested in any reactions others may have to this.



  1. I agree that this is a very good question and similar to one asked in an earlier generation about competing with Jaapan's "corporate or state" capitalism.

    I have two preliminary thoughts:
    a) The Chinese will eventually have to deal with their people's wishes for freedom and democracy, and
    b) I think that the future will belong to those who embrace freedom (both economic and personal), because freedom of the human spirit is the source of economic power. (Thank you Ayn Rand.)

  2. Some thoughts:

    a. If people have freedom why insist on democracy? i.e., if freedom is the ultimate objective, and that objective is met without democracy, does democracy still have a high priority?
    b. What exactly is freedom and how do you know when you have it? Or, how do you know when you had it, but then you lost it? We know that total unfettered freedom does not work, so we have laws. We also have decided that zero freedom, slavery, is great economically but bad morally. Somewhere between those 2 extremes we have what we call freedom. Where on that spectrum is the freedom to which you refer?