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> moral leverage is what you need in the long term; they can never become a superpower.

I do not understand what you mean by this, and what long term is to you. I want to be convinced, but I fail to see this as true.

What would be a superpower in your eyes, and which of the past examples of morally problematic powers (USSR, British/Spanish/Portuguese/French empires,for example) do you consider not to meet the definition, or not to have been "long term"?






I guess one thing that is obvious, is that an oppressive country like China can never win the race to attract the brightest, most creative minds. Nowadays people have options on where to live and from what I can see, these kind of people mostly prefer to live in more liberal societies.

I guess one thing that is obvious, is that an oppressive country like China can never win the race to attract the brightest, most creative minds.

They have over a billion people have have made significant investments over decades to indoctrinate nationalistic fervour. They have zero need to attract anyone. By statistics alone they have more “bright, creative” people than US+UK+EU combined, and far greater willingness to employ those people for national goals. The same people we have working on adtech and similar nonsense.


Would they even need to attract foreigners? They have more people than all of North America and Europe combined.

In fact they did attract foreigners, how many businesses want to cozy up to them? Some countries would very much like to deal with their citizens the Chinese way too.

They do not need anyone to migrate, which is entirely different.


I am not sure the foreigners, but actually right now more and more Chinese students studying aboard are back to China to work. In case you don't believe it, just added the link from QZ.com: https://qz.com/1342525/chinese-students-increasingly-return-...

This assumes that having the brightest and most creative people is necessary to become a global superpower. That's a particularly modern and Western way of thinking; a lot of powerful empires in the past got that way by fostering a sense of moral superiority in the ordinary people. The British empire, Ottoman empire, Roman empire, etc were all built on the idea that the people were better than everyone else so it was OK to take from other nations. And it worked - those empires lasted hundreds of years, thousands of years in the case of the Romans.

America has been a superpower based on capitalism for under a hundred years. That isn't long enough to see if it's a better way of building power than other philosophies just yet.


"a superpower based on capitalism"

This seems to me like a bag of words, not a real concept that means something. It's like saying America is "a superpower based on Christianity," or "a superpower based on immigration," or "a superpower built on the back of slavery," or "a superpower based on the proposition that all men are created equal." Capitalism isn't even a philosophy, it's a side effect of freedom.


# Capitalism isn't even a philosophy, it's a side effect of freedom.

Is it? In the country where capitalism came from "in 1831 a mere 4,500 men, out of a population of more than 2.6 million people, were entitled to vote in parliamentary elections" http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/pathways/citizenship/stru...


Voting has nothing to do with freedom. And Scotland didn’t invent capitalism, what are you talking about?

England / UK invented capitalism. In 1831 you already had GB. (correct quote was that you got 3% of the population as voters - but you argue that it doesn't matter anyway) I don't quite understand what kind of freedom they had at a time when the body that coins all laws was determined by 3% of the population.

This is probably the best defense one can have, but it is not clear that the door will stay open forever.

I see it as a difference where people want to join, or are forced to join. Nobody wants to be part of a immoral power, because the immoral stuff will happen to you too. People want a just and fair system.

I split it like this: do you have people at the borders to keep people out, or keep people in. If you have to use force to keep your own citizens and regions in, well good luck to you.

On the other hand, if you have to refuse people and regions to join you, you're in a very good position.

That's why you can only keep using force and supression for so long, and history has shown that we evolve to more fair, moral systems.


People want to join anywhere where it's economically better. Following the victor, whoever they are, whatever they believe, is a common feature of all empires. The reality is that most people are too busy for either politics or morality.

Maybe he's thinking the causes and effects in the reversed order.

PS, why US is not on your problematic powers list for what's done/doing in the Middle East?


>> moral leverage is what you need in the long term; they can never become a superpower.

> I do not understand what you mean by this, and what long term is to you. I want to be convinced, but I fail to see this as true.

I too am curious what it means. The only thing comes to mind is a variation of the just world fallacy.




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