When it comes to artificial intelligence, public-private collaboration and coordination is reportedly pervasive, and China has recruited big Chinese tech firms as part of the “AI national team.” Western commentators often portray the success of Chinese technology firms as the result of unfair practices, like theft of intellectual property and the provision of state subsidies. But, as Kai-Fu Lee notes, this also stems from China’s ability to endorse particular objectives and set the tone for private capital choices, as it has done in seeking to foster the development of artificial intelligence. China likewise leads the way in providing infrastructure to support these technological developments, such as building cities and highways with built-in sensors designed to facilitate the use of driverless cars. The Chinese government views its state capitalist model as a national strength that does not contradict international trade rules, which that it needs to secure against U.S. attempts to halt or reverse China’s rise. A key question for the future of international economic law is whether these different economic models will be able to coexist under the same legal framework.
Are we heading towards a nightmarish world where our every action is going to be rewarded or punished by the Government?
An Orwellian characterisation of social credit is the favoured narrative of English-language media and academia. Countless media stories compare the system with Nineteen Eighty-Four or other more contemporary cultural references such as the Netflix series Black Mirror. The underlying depiction of social credit in these instances is of ‘big data meets big brother’: a corporatist state spying on its population, hoarding vast swathes of personal data to be algorithmically synthesised into a single three-digit score that dictates one’s place in society. Punishments such as bans on individuals purchasing tickets for air travel have hit the headlines.
In the practically last page of the book Kissinger cautions American policy-makers that “Americans need not agree with the Chinese analysis to understand that lecturing a country with a history of millennia about its need to ‘grow up’ can be needlessly grating” (p. 546). With Trump administration consciously eschewing the Messianism of universal values in favor of a more realistic (but wrongly executed) policy of national interest, Kissinger’s admonitions have less of a relevance than usual. But, as is likely, the US returns, after next election or the one after, to its traditional Messianism such notes of caution may be more apposite.
Sorry, another needull on India China. But, this one is really good.
The strategies employed by both China and India are intended to lead to growth and influence. Clearly, however, these strategies do not always benefit their countries as intended, especially with regard to international legitimacy. China’s policies have largely done so militarily and economically, while India has the advantage politically and culturally. Even should these countries devise strategies that maximize their power, however, their ability to ascend to the top is not assured. Indeed, John Ikenberry argues that while “it may be possible for China to overtake the United States alone… it is much less likely that China will ever manage to overtake the Western order.” Should this come to pass, the future China or India will likely be forced to operate in an international community defined by Western values. If either country is to become a power beyond its respective regions, it will need to ensure good relations with the West as well as the rest of world.
This is an old discussion – India and China. Still, could not help but share.
But there are fundamental differences. Rapid economic growth since 1980 has made China by far the richer of the two, with a nominal GDP nearly five times that of India (US $11.2 trillion versus $2.3 trillion). China’s per capita average, measured in terms of purchasing power parity, was more than twice as high ($15,400 versus $6,600).
On the other hand, China is a tightly controlled one-party state run by a politburo of seven aged men, while India continues as a highly imperfect but undeniably democratic polity. Freedom House assigns India 77 points on its freedom index compared with a measly 15 points for China. The United States gets 89, Canada 99.
What does it take for a country to become developed? There are various costs of progress. This needull looks at millions of Chinese children who have been left behind by their parents drawn to big cities for employment.
Outside school, they occupy themselves in whatever new distractions can expand to fill their days. One Saturday morning saw them climbing the highest hilltop to swing from a tree like monkeys, sliding down a mound of building materials next to an animal sty under construction and dipping their forearms into the water of a rice paddy to see how high the mud reached. A favourite game, their own invention, is to clap their hands as close to a miniature deck of cards as possible, trying to flip over cards which can then be played to beat lower-value cards until one of them has the whole deck. They go back to their grandparents’ homes for hot meals twice a day, but otherwise the village is theirs.