Personal pronouns: 同志 / 同志 / 同志的
Bitcoin and its alternatives could never have been a currency. It’s eminently unsuited to that role. (It’s great for Ponzi schemes, extortion schemes, and other criminal enterprises mind.) And how does “using more energy than a medium-sized nation while doing three orders of magnitude fewer transactions than even ONE payment processor” translate to “energy reform”?
Please, dude, stop being a cryptobro. It’s a really bad look.
I think you misread the OP. He’s not saying that he wants surveillance socialism. He’s saying he wants images, music, or media in general that’s attractive that he can point friends to as an alternative to the well-oiled PR machine that is surveillance capitalism.
Basically he seems to be asking for sites that don’t drone eternally about dialectic this and scolding that and instead incorporate socialism and socialist ideology into compelling works of art, is how I’m taking it. And I’m frankly interested in seeing some of that too.
I genuinely don’t give a shit.
Jiang’s incoherent “三个代表” drivel was mandatory. Chinese students from senior middle school all the way through university had to memorize it and regurgitate it in their politics classes. It’s had zero impact on the way people think.
Hu’s “科学发展观” and “社会主义荣辱观” were also mandatory and his eight honours and eight shames positively festooned school (and other) walls around the country. Again, nobody was meaningfully influenced by this.
The same will happen with Xi’s “习近平新时代中国特色社会主义思想”. It will go the same way: something that’s recited to pass exams before the single most durable Chinese political philosophy (predating anything from the CPC and likely to be alive another thousand years hence) holds sway in real-world matters: “天高皇帝远”.
I am “boots on the ground”. I am neither Chinese state media, nor am I western media. I am a resident of China, however. Believe me or not: it turns out reality doesn’t generally give a fuck in whether you believe in it or not.
Xi’s book is mandatory. Full stop. You can go off pretending it is or isn’t and it won’t change the reality of it. So you be you, Boo. You be you. Reality will continue being, you know, real.
My son is reading Xi’s book in his politics classes. All children in his age group (at least in the province of Hubei, the only place I have direct knowledge of) are doing the same. Because it is mandatory, as was Hu Jintao’s stuff as was Jiang Zemin’s stuff as was …
This is a loooooooooooooooooong established tradition in the PRC, beginning with Chairman Mao. I’m kind of shocked that there’s anybody denying this tradition.
I’ve lived here for 20 years and have strong ties via marriage into the locality.
The clothing in that picture would not raise any eyebrows today, especially in Wuhan given that it’s a huge university town. (It would probably get a harsher reaction in smaller, more clannish cities.) It would take me under two minutes to find even more “shocking” clothing for sale in Taobao, and most of that two minutes would be me wrestling with my shit Internet connection. (ISPs are evil the world over it turns out.) There’s tattoo parlours everywhere, and some of the tattoo designs I’ve seen are very garish and outlandish (though typically easily concealed by “work” clothing, so there’s some push-back against that still).
But it wasn’t an easy route to get here. Story time.
In the early days of my stay here, all of this stuff was reacted to badly. In my first school, students who dyed or bleached their hair would be disciplined and forced to dye it black again, for example. A tattoo of any kind anywhere on the body was grounds for expulsion. Then in about 2002 a girl entered the campus. She was the daughter of one of the high Party officials on campus and thus had incredible amounts of power. And she had a rebel spirit that I just loved to watch.
The very first thing she did was dye her hair blue. And not a subtle blue shading on black hair. She’d bleached her hair until it was practically white then dyed THAT an electric blue. Because she was a Party official’s daughter, and because he wasn’t doing anything about it, the teachers and cadres and deans and such of the school couldn’t do a thing to her. And because she was doing it, other students started to do it until, at one ridiculous time at around the midterms of the first term that year, most classes looked like someone had accidentally spilled a bag of Skittles into the room. Person-sized Skittles.
She, all by her lonesome, broke up so many regulations that were being stupidly enforced it was amazing. She got a tattoo. Now that couldn’t be enforced. She wore coloured contacts, and not just eye colour changers. Eye SHAPE changers: lizard eyes, goat eyes, cat eyes, etc. Now those were allowed. She started wearing outfits that made most people in positions of power call slutty, but nothing could be done to her, so other students followed suit. By the time I left that school in 2003, the dress codes were in a shambles and showed no signs of stopping.
And then I moved to Wuhan and watched similar things happen, but over a longer period of time. There was no single untouchable renegade, just the inexorable force of cultural drift. The net effect was the same in the end, though: hair dying is normal, as are (concealable) tattoos. Revealing clothing is not commented on (though to be fair Wuhan is hot and humid and the clothing is also practical as a result). So all the shamate stuff is now commonplace and current counterculture would be hard-pressed to find something new to shock their elders with.
There is nothing about being a minority that makes you a saint. There is nothing about being a minority that makes you superhuman. Minorities are human beings and have all human flaws (no exceptions!).
No. Just bluntly no.
I did try using Dvorak. I got pretty good at it. After about four months I could finally type as quickly and effectively on Dvorak as I could on QWERTY.
On. One. Computer.
I sit down at a friend’s computer or a family member’s? Newp. I use a phone or a tablet? Newp. I use a work computer (where I’m not permitted to install my own software)? Newp.
So that’s four months of reduced capacity to type, plus having to keep QWERTY in my muscle memory anyway (with the attendant confusion and error rate that causes!) all for … not really getting much more speed than I was able to do with QWERTY in the first place.
In one job there were three of us who were a tight-knit bunch. One of the things we loved to do was pick apart the project Gannt chart as obvious fiction that could never be met.
One of the three of us was elevated to middle management.
Within a week he was treating the Gannt chart we’d mocked for eight months together as a schedule with no wiggle room.
Management turns people into assholes.
And I saw this before https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46DfBFWxTuM.
Sorry, I’m not going to watch an almost hour-long thing to get maybe ten minutes’ worth of actual information. If there’s something to read, I’ll read it. (I read like lightning.) I do not have an hour out of my day to watch what is very likely a bunch of bullshit (given that it’s on Youtube).
Why are the attitudes of people there compliant both on micro and macro scales when compared to rest of the world?
Better education, more trust in expertise (because education is valued), and better government in the experience of an overwhelming majority of the population.
On that latter point, as incredible as it may sound, keep in mind that the single largest source of government interaction most people have is with their community officials … who are their literal neighbours. Keep in mind too that in my lifetime China went from a mostly-agrarian economy to the #2 economy in the world, having switched from (barely) rural majority to full-blown urban majority population not only in my lifetime but in the time I’ve been here. (It was 60% rural when I came. Now it’s approaching 80% urban, if I remember the stats right.)
The government, to the shock and dismay of western pearl-clutchers, has a lot of credibility with the Chinese. As I’ve heard from quite a few people: if everything changed today and genuine free and open elections were held, the current government would win in a landslide. (This is especially true given the utter shit show that the western world has become in controlling a disease that was almost contemptuously handled by Chinese authorities, not to mention the clowns the “free” world put into power around the world … including India.)
There are a lot of factors that play into why China handled COVID-19 so well, and its authoritarian government is probably the least important of them (though it obviously had an impact: building two massive hospitals in under a month is something that could not happen in Canada, for example, because there would be people profiteering from the land sale, people launching lawsuits to block it on stupid grounds, etc. etc. etc.)
Me and my friend discuss things, and we feel Western countries might still struggle with this for a year, and USA for even close to 2 years, at the rate the whole scenario is going on.
A year? You’re an optimist. Look at the chart I posted. Two years into a pandemic that has already killed over 5.5 million people and infected over 300 million and … Europe and North America both are having sudden rapid rises in infections. Two years in and they haven’t learned even the basics that China learned in the first three months or so (from the December start date, not the date of the Great Lockdown).
This is not going away anytime soon. Five years from now there will still be outbreaks all over the “free” world and more and more people are going to stack up in body bags.
If you “know” more than people with boots on the ground there is simply no hope of convincing you. I’ve learned since the Great Wuhan Lockdown not to argue with people who are convinced and can’t be unconvinced. I just break out the popcorn and enjoy their lamentations.
But the fact is that my direct social sphere numbers in the thousands (courtesy of 16 years of teaching … that’s a lot of students, and in China students keep in touch). With my family (spread out over about four cities here—including Wuhan), my friends (mostly just Wuhan), my colleagues (again mostly Wuhan), and my former students I know nobody directly who has had a case of COVID-19. None of their family or other people important to them have had cases. And take that another degree of separation and still, thus far, not a single reported case.
I’m also in a few QQ and WeChat groups that have people spread around the country. These groups have participation measured in six figures or more. Not a case reported. My Weibo interaction is smaller, but that’s another 50,000 or so people, from a brief eyeballing, that have no reported cases.
Oh and somewhere along the way I also managed to completely fail to fall over the stacks of bodies that would be required for some of the more hysterical death estimates. (Some fuckwits are saying 21 million dead because mobile phone cancellations.)
Oh, sorry. I lied. I do know a friend who got COVID-19.
Not a single person in China.
So … your dad is a doctor, but he’s not a doctor IN CHINA. He has not seen what mitigation efforts were used IN CHINA. He has not seen the behaviour of people IN CHINA. He is, to put this bluntly, not a source of information. He is at best a slightly better than average source of speculation.
But speculation don’t mean shit in the face of actual information and experience.
Here’s a few clues, however, to help you through your confusion.
… unless they literally locked people away in their homes …
When the Great Lockdown occurred in Wuhan, there were no locks. But yes, people were required to remain in their domiciles for all but a very small number of very specific activities. For two months my world was my apartment with my wife, my son, and my mother-in-law. We were permitted to leave only to drop off refuse, and to pick up food deliveries (in timed small batches of people) from the compound gate. When we had a lockdown, it wasn’t that cosplay shit the west called a lockdown. It was a genuine lockdown. For two months. Dead streets. Dead businesses. Dead parks. Dead everything. The only things that moved were ambulances, police vehicles, and the delivery trucks.
(The story of those delivery trucks alone is worth a fucking movie. They were the real heroes of Wuhan, topping even the health workers by a small margin!)
Is it because asymptomatic testing was avoided entirely?
The exact opposite. In the summer of 2021 when we had a Delta outbreak in Wuhan, the entire population of Wuhan (11 million people) were tested. Twice. Inside of two weeks. Again, the Chinese didn’t do the cosplay shit the rest of the world did in fighting COVID-19. When a case was found (note: A CASE, singular!), a large district of the city was shut down in a mini-lockdown, contract tracing was turned back on, everybody was tested (twice, as I said), and that was kept up for a few weeks until it was clear the Delta spread had been stopped. Then life returned to normal.
Your question has only one answer: 无 (in the Chan/Zen formulation of ‘unasking’ a badly-formulated question).
At least for me, finding work is hard and knowing i could be easily fired for the first 6 months is stressful.
This is irrelevant in a properly socialist world. In a properly socialist world your basic needs would be met so losing your job isn’t the source of stress that it is in a capitalist world where your basic needs are a negotiation strategy.
ANY job, even working in whatever passes for a McDonald’s in such a society, has skills and abilities you must have to perform it. Not all people can do every job. This is most obvious in heavily technical fields, obviously (like, say, medicine or technology), but even working as a janitor has things you need to do which you may be socially, physically, or psychologically incapable of doing. And the only way to find out if you can do them is to try it out.
With your basic needs met, if you try out and fail you’re not risking your health and very life. The desperation isn’t there. So I’d say yes, obviously, there would still be a period of evaluation for fit and ability in jobs in a socialist world. It’s just that failing at it wouldn’t be the devastating experience being fired in a capitalist world bears.
That has several obvious flaws, I think. If everybody is growing their own food (an extremely time-intensive occupation), nobody’s working on, oh, I don’t know, mathematics. Or physics. Or philosophy. Or art. Or … well, you get the drift.
Bucolic fantasy is very seductive to people who aren’t forced to live it out. The ideal of civilization is to reduce such requirements to zero; to free humans from subsistence living. Which can be done without capitalist distortions and destruction and degradation, but takes watchfulness.
Let those who want to farm, farm. Let those who want to do something else (non-destructive, naturally) do that instead. Society should be focused on that, not on making billionaires, nor making everybody a subsistence farmer.
Mass production itself is not at issue. Mass production is necessary to maintain modern population density. The issue is in profits, how profits influence resource distribution in a society, excessive waste of goods which are not profitable (mass transit) or cannot reach profitable markets (30% of our food supply goes to waste despite a large portion of the world population suffering from food insecurity), and the accumulation of profits by individuals.
Absolutely agreed. Now re-read Brave New World and note the following:
While there was money, it acted more as a way to induce consumerism (the real target of Huxley’s ire). As I noted earlier, Huxley’s beef was with hedonism and how it dehumanizes. He lampoons the capitalist-adjacent (but not capitalist-exclusive) focus on consumerism as it leads to empty hedonism.
But at the same time the economy was strongly central-controlled which is pretty much the precise opposite of capitalism. (This is why I repeated several times ‘there are no capitalist countries’ and ‘there are no socialist countries’ in my earlier rant: there is not a society on the planet that’s pure-anything.)
Huxley’s satire is far more subtle and more pointed than ideologues who read it seem to be able to perceive. Right-wing types read it as a condemnation of socialism because they see the command economy. Left-wing types read it as a condemnation of capitalism because they see the consumerism. The truth is he sticks a shiv into both systems while working at his main thesis: that the best means to control is hedonism.
Ideas do not come out of a contextless aether.
Of course they don’t! Which is why, as I pointed out above, the right and left both read both books and see something completely different. From their respective contexts Orwell and Huxley are lampooning socialism (the right’s readers) and capitalism/fascism (the left’s readers). And the reason is that Orwell and Huxley both lampoon either hedonism (Huxley) or authoritarianism (Orwell) without explicit reference to actual political or economic systems. They are doing the 禅 thing of overturning the question of which political or economic system is best by answering 无: in effect “unasking” the question by pointing to the things they thought were the real concerns.
Orwell’s and Huxley’s worlds both are strongly centrally-planned economies. Socialist, in a word. Huxley’s world, however, is rooted in consumerism, castes, and hedonism, very strongly capitalist-adjacent with a smattering of feudal or worse (via the castes). Orwell’s is rooted in intense, iron-fisted control of information and, by extension people, which is primarily fascist (a.k.a. hyper-capitalist) in model. So it is hyper-simplistic to say that they’re criticising ‘capitalism’ when at the core of both stories is a strongly socialist feature, don’t you think?
Christianity is named for Christ. Do you think Christ (the historical or mythical one, either way) would recognize the beliefs being spewed by Christians as being inspired by him?
Same with Fordism.
There is very little in the novel that is explicitly capitalist. Only capitalist-adjacent, but none of it exclusively adjacent to capitalism.
Mass production was satirized and lampooned with the mass production of models of people. Can you name a socialist state that doesn’t do mass production, however? (Hint: No, you can’t.)
Further down that line of thought, castes of people are certainly capitalist-adjacent … but if someone is telling you that there aren’t castes in socialist states, they’re selling you a pack of lies. (Or do you, to bring in Orwell, believe that in a socialist state a university professor will hang out with coal miners?)
Consumerism is very often associated with capitalism. Except that it is a human universal once a certain level of development is reached and there’s more wealth than is required for subsistence. In the Middle Ages people would buy unnecessary kitsch if they had excess money: to show status, because they thought it was nifty, etc. That’s ur-consumerism rearing its ugly head. That instinct to acquire things with excess wealth has been part and parcel of the human condition before ‘capitalism’ and ‘socialism’ were even words! It’s only with recent wealth (courtesy of the mass production cited earlier) that it’s reached the point of running rampant.
And it runs rampant whether the country is nominally ‘capitalist’ (there are no capitalist nations) or ‘socialist’ (there are no socialist nations). Go visit Taobao and look at consumerism in a nominally ‘socialist’ (there are no socialist nations) nation.
As with Orwell, Huxley’s works are more subtle and sophisticated than its politically shrill advocates (on either side) would have you believe. And they address points entirely unrelated to whether or not the underlying depicted society is ‘socialist’ or ‘capitalist’. Orwell addresses the subject of power and its application and architecture. Huxley addresses the subject of hedonism and its dehumanising influence. They are dystopias because of the erasure of human dignity through these two spheres.
The underlying political structures are, in both cases, almost, but not quite, completely out of scope.
Disinformation isn’t a genuine thing of concern? That’s a fascinating take, to put it mildly.