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Let’s replace China with X so there is no xenophobic rebuttals.

X is an authoritarian regime that has no rule of law, president has self declared perpetual status in the office, piracy is rampant, no respect for privacy of others, there is an app called ourchat that is effectively owned by the government and is increasing becoming a necessity, no media let alone any kind of investigative journalism especially against the government, your social score goes down if you buy a particular book, you cannot sue the government or even think about it, punishment can include selling your organs for arbitrary reasons, the list goes on and on.

If X were an impoverished country like Somalia, the tune would change and most people would condemn such a society. I want to do so fearlessly but sometimes people see it as an attack against the Chinese people. I’ve been to China and have spent many months there, made lifelong relations, etc. I have no room for any concession or bargain for the argument that authoritarian rule has benefits - yes it does but at aforementioned costs. China has risen above due to government’s iron grip over every aspect of the country. It is doing so at a cost. Fundamentals don’t change even if one sees the strategy panning out. An eagle in the world of doves can kill a lot of doves and have short term evolutionary imbalance. But soon, the marginal cost of turning into an eagle is so small so there are new eagles popping up in the population all of a sudden. This balance oscillates in the short term, but evolutionary pressure returns it back to an equilibrium. Fundamentals of eagle and dove dynamics don’t change even though the state of this system shows “success”.

I’m in the position to criticize any authoritarian regimes in the strongest way possible - be it China or any other country, it doesn’t matter. I don’t want to die seeing this world turn into a power grab for a few with a consequence of a dystopian society. I wish the next superpower would be a country such as Norway or Sweden, it would set such a utopian example for the world to move into the right direction.




I think you can take one more step backwards and still have an argument.

X is a huge country. Y is a small island/peninsula nearby, with shared cultural roots, but very different recent history (decades to centuries) and different government & economic structure. People living in Y are free to leave Y and move to X. Then I think it's better if Y continues to exist.

Even if Y is worse on some measures, e.g. if it were Y that had an "authoritarian regime that has no rule of law, president has self declared perpetual status ", then I'd like it to continue. It's good to have a diversity of approaches to problems. Even if Y gets 90% wrong, maybe it discovers something in the 10% right, or maybe it's just an interesting study in what not to do. Its people are (by assumption!) free to leave, and have a culturally similar neighbor that will take them.


> An eagle in the world of doves can kill a lot of doves and have short term evolutionary imbalance. But soon, the marginal cost of turning into an eagle is so small so there are new eagles popping up in the population all of a sudden.

This looks like a reference to the Hawk-Dove game. For those who haven't heard of it:

You have a population of two groups, hawks and doves. When they come into conflict (say, over a source of food), two doves will spend a lot of time staring each other down (each incurring a minor fitness penalty), and two hawks will fight (each incurring a major fitness penalty), but a dove facing a hawk will immediately surrender, incurring no penalty at all.

Depending on the amounts involved, there is a percentage of hawks which maximizes the total benefit enjoyed by the population, and that percentage is more than zero. A few hawks save a lot of doves time they could spend doing more productive things.

What I find interesting about this game is how it interacts with some popular notions of government. A traditional utilitarian perspective is that the purpose of government is to maximize the welfare of society. As applied to the hawk-dove game, that would mean the government should anoint some people "hawks" and set rules that mean a hawk in conflict with a dove automatically wins, regardless of the merits of the conflict. This is a pretty traditional aristocracy setup. It would then be the business of the government to make sure the number of nobles stayed within an appropriate margin relative to the number of commoners.

But another very popular model of the government says that it should make sure everything is fair. ("All men are equal before the law.") That would mean abolishing the concept of the nobility's inherent superiority to commoners, ensuring that everyone is a dove. It sounds better, but in terms of societal welfare, it's worse.


>It sounds better, but in terms of societal welfare, it's worse.

Within the very contrived confines of the hawk-dove model sure, but I highly doubt that the hawk-dove game is a particularly useful model for society as a whole.


Thanks for the additional insight, I learned about this type of strategy in "The Selfish Gene", by Richard Dawkins. Although, I personally don't think that the analogy alone can describe an incredibly complex structure such as the global society.


Norway is a petro-economy. That doesn't really work as a role model for countries that don't have vast easily-exploited natural resources.

Lucky for Norway that they've transitioned out of petroleum before the climate disaster comes due.


They have?


Yeah OK, it's declining, but they aren't out of it yet. https://www.norskpetroleum.no/en/production-and-exports/expo...


And wait until islands (and Florida) start sinking under the sea and there is this big Norwegian oil fund there sitting like a target...


Norway just happens to have a ton of oil money and a tiny population, whenever they get mentioned as an example for the rest of the world I can't help but laugh.


You're responding to the words "Norway or Sweden". Sweden doesn't have a ton of oil money.


It's still small and affluent, and therefore not a good place to make an x to y comparison.


And Sweden is nowhere near as well off either.


> I wish the next superpower would be a country such as Norway or Sweden, it would set such a utopian example for the world to move into the right direction.

The counter-argument is that ANY nation that becomes powerful will try to exert the same type of imperialism, no matter the era / technology / culture: Italians did it with the Roman Empire (10-15 centuries ago), Spanish did it with the Spanish Empire (5 centuries ago), etc, etc.


>If X were an impoverished country like Somalia, the tune would change and most people would condemn such a society

I've actually found that the larger a country is the more criticized it is on human rights violations. If a small country was genociding its own people or anything that X was doing, then the media would simply ignore it as it isn't a large enough story to talk about.

All the examples you give of X are taking place right now across the world in most developing nations yet the focus is placed on the largest ones.




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