The Chinese blackbox.

China is the world’s largest economy, the world’s largest car market, and the world’s largest luxury goods market ; it’s rapidly expanding its military capabilities, it’s co-developed an IMF competitor with the other BRICS nations, and it’s generally a force to be reckoned with. Unlike the decrepit, socialist West, China is leading the world forward with an active, socialist East.

This state of affairs might seem anomalous to ESLersi whose social studies curriculums included the tales of Pond and Henday instead of those of Magellan and Cortez, but it’s actually very much the historical norm. At least it was up until 200 years ago when a couple of English-speaking countries briefly borrowed the Confucian Crown, the Brits trying it on for a stint before finding the burden too great and passing the torch to the considerably less intellectually capable USians. Today, Obama et al. have returned the sceptre to China, which is now roaring like a dragon drunk on Avogadro’s latest number.

So China’s back on top, at least as far as nation states go, which really isn’t terribly far anymore, so let’s leave that aside for a moment. Of interest here is both the history and the culture of China, particularly as it relates to the power that its politburo wields and the resulting impact on the rest of the world.

Externally, this power is felt through war, which is coming,ii and trade, which is here.iii Internally, data is playing an increasingly significant role because how else do you manage that much meat ? Ant Financial, a subsidiary of Alibaba, already uses a contorted metric to determine their user’s creditworthiness.

If friends have a poor lending reputation, this reflects badly on the person, just as prolonged playing of video games. Buying diapers indicates responsibility and scores therefore well.

While it’s beyond bizarre to imagine that a single number could represent the entirety of an individual’s behaviours,iv China seems intent to implement just such a system nationwide by 2020, one that will include categorical scores for politics, society, business, and justice. Somehow, someway, one’s high “social media” score could balance a low credit score and vice versa. Just nuts. To outsiders, which those of us in the most serene republic most certainly are,v this makes little to no sense.

Now, to the channel conversation. It’s a long and rambling one, but one that I couldn’t help but preserve for posterity :

trinque: << Chicom-WoT. Except not a WoT at all. Seems when the US disintegrates it’ll be Chinese totalitarianism the world has to endure next.
pete_dushenski: Chicom thing’s not a WoT, no, but rather a bizarre quantification of fleisch. But how else do you manage a billion plus without reducing them to ones and zeroes ?

trinque: I don’t know that you manage them doing this either.
pete_dushenski: ‘At least we tried.’
trinque: Without such a mechanism doing business in China is risky, she stresses, as about half of the signed contracts are not kept. ‘Especially given the speed of the digital economy it is crucial that people can quickly verify each other’s creditworthiness.’ << Wearing a deer-skin and calling yourself bambi. There needs to be a term for that. Where the lie’s the inversion of the truth.

pete_dushenski: ‘Teaching the controversy’ is a variant thereof.
trinque: Yes, it is.
mircea_popescu: <trinque> Seems when the US disintegrates it’ll be Chinese totalitarianism the world has to endure next << The price for vanity is rape. That’s what the derps in the SEC thinking they’re above doing what i tell you to do are doing to themselves ; that’s what the derps thinking they’re “VCs” and not humbling coming in here are doing for themselves. Vanity means rape.

trinque: Indeed, seems they will try (and fail) to implement components of the republic in the style of massive government. “Look we’re going to centralize breathing. breathing is now banned; the central govt will breathe for you.”
pete_dushenski: Seems nuts to us, then again, there’s a method to the Chinese madness or else they wouldn’t have ruled so much of the world for so much of modern history. And produced so many of the world’s greatest technologeeees.

mircea_popescu: Yes. the method is : people are idiots and if you’re going to parent them, you gotta parent them.
trinque: I’ll admit I’m about as far removed from being able to understand Chinese culture as possible
mircea_popescu: I’m no expert either.

ascii_field: Actually china is a case study in failure to develop (invented, sure, but -develop-) various techs.
pete_dushenski: No argument here. Seems the europeans have been far stronger at taking the baton and running with it. but from whence the baton ? often china. it’s actually a hell of a team they form.

mircea_popescu: That part is indisputable, but cui malo ?
ascii_field: << related vintage mega-thread
assbot: Logged on 19-02-2014 04:48:55; asciilifeform: of, you could say, insufficiently high temperature in the simulated-annealing sense.

ascii_field: << Mega-recommended
assbot: Logged on 19-02-2014 04:52:44; asciilifeform: rec. reading re: china: ‘The Rise of Early Modern Science: Islam, China and the West’, T. E. Huff

mats: ^ (Review)
ascii_field: That review is a zoological specimen indeed. Written by a real rotter of a liberast. (See last paragraphs!) How dare we say that a culture sucked!

mircea_popescu: Lol. My question remains tho. so they fucked up science. Indisputable. To whose detriment ?
ascii_field: Own?
mircea_popescu: Is it ?

ascii_field: They almost got bulldozed in ’30s
mircea_popescu: Almost only counts in special olympics.
ascii_field: Only by sheer luck, there is still such a thing as Chinese
mircea_popescu: Only by sheer luck is there such a thing as the US, too.
ascii_field: Aha. But, in my analysis, if it weren’t for SU’svii heavy diddling, the place would’ve been carved into manageable bantustansviii by USA post-war.
mircea_popescu: Maybe. Alternatively : Cixi’six refusal of railroads did have the end effect of no railroads. But also, of silence. Suppose Chinese monarch had refused… Windows. Apple. Whatever.

ascii_field: Forgo railroads – enjoy the silence – until better folks come along and lower your people into untermenschenrasty and build own rails.
mircea_popescu: Except… it didn’t quite work like that.
mircea_popescu: Some ills are apparently unavoidable, sure. but the “better folks” got raped meanwhile.

pete_dushenski: And now China can’t afford silence ?
mircea_popescu: Well certainly not anymore than japan can afford samurais.
pete_dushenski: So now the Chinese are in the position of the europeans 60 years ago. Wherein they’re overburdened with structural issues but no superior alternative is knocking down their door. So they’re at once the “better folks” and the untermenschen. How’s that supposed to go ?

mircea_popescu: I’m not sure i follow this model.
ascii_field: This is actually the historic RU model of development, once termed ‘colonialism with crown as the sole european.’ See Peter I, etc.

mircea_popescu: It seems altogether probable that’s what the Chinese communist party envisages as ideal, and acts as if were the case. Course the model worked historically about as well as welfarism (aka popular democracy).
ascii_field: Goes kinda like this: ‘My subjects are rubbish and only fit as cannot fodder or to be worked to death in the mines. Possibly after x centuries of this, we can make some better ones.’ This is, in a way, an inescapable professional disease of cultures that ‘got’ industry in a hurry.

mircea_popescu: The worst part of that being that it’s actually true.
ascii_field: (RU, CN, JP, IN)
mircea_popescu: US.
ascii_field: Aha US.

mircea_popescu: This is the inescapable human condition : most people are exactly rubbish.
pete_dushenski: Which puts the enormity of the Chinese quandary in perspective. how to manage a 130 billion lbs of rubbish ??
ascii_field: How culture answers this realization – determines, largely, whether you get Zimbabwe or Britain etc.

mircea_popescu: The problem, of course, being that with globalization you really can’t get options. It’ll have to be prêt-à-porter, one thing universally.
ascii_field: Throw in sea, build artificial island!
trinque: pete_dushenski: Probably by reducing them to insecure, servile rubbish.
pete_dushenski: That servile part is key. And already part of Chinese culture.
trinque: This scheme of the govt giving you a report card seems intended towards precisely that.

mircea_popescu: moreover, didn’t japanese employees have to pass physicals at work ?
pete_dushenski: well, waistline tax. US got the insecure part, but without the servility.
assbot: Logged on 19-07-2014 03:41:36; asciilifeform: Even ancient china, apparently, had ‘cram schools.’ (see Miyazaki, ‘China’s Examination Hell’x – neat little monograph on the subject). Mega-b00k on subject

mircea_popescu: Anyway, the general idea of people who did intellectual work with/in china is that the Chinese folk, while broadly very servile, are utterly uncreative.
ascii_field: U.S. became the kind of inscrutable and thoroughly-dysfunctional beast we know today partly through the ’50-’60s preoccupation with mindgames and ‘programmatory’ psychochumpatronics, where ‘they must not realize they are servile’ was the mandatory algo.

mircea_popescu: Kinda what makes people unhappy. Any slave’ll tell you, there’s monumental fulfillment in submission. Whereas the western folk, while broadly useless, can at least be selected for sanity.
ascii_field: Uncreative << Incidentally, it is not necessary to travel to china to witness this. u.s. academia today is solidly Confucian (not merely ethnically, this – only in part – but in -operation-). And virtually every physical sciences whateverthefuck in USA is solidly east asian in staffing.

mircea_popescu: Hey, they got a feeding hole, and are feeding. Confucianism IS very good at a well specified set of tasks.
ascii_field: not even chumps, as such – many of these folks (I used to work with’em) are laughing all the way to the bank, riding the thermodynamic waterfall between USD salary and CN cost of living. entire departments of u.s. universities have been converted into SN embassies of a kind. where everything is run on their traditional scheme and on their meatwot.

ascii_field: << mega-l0lxi
assbot: Carly Fiorina failed to register this domain. … ( )
pete_dushenski: How CN cost of living at us university ?
ascii_field: They mail the USD home. Where it buys cars, houses, fattens children (raised by grandparents) etc
pete_dushenski: Aha.

mircea_popescu: FTR, that’s pretty much how eastern Europe ran throughout the 90s too. Problem is meanwhile it retardified. Fortunately the us is not large enough to retardify China, but I think we’re gonna see some pretty spectacular purges down the road.
ascii_field: Even now (where is the adult male population of Latvia, and why ? etc.)

mats: Discussions on CN in here are always entertaining.
mircea_popescu: Way off ?
mats: Meh. CN history is inscrutable, even to Chinese.
mircea_popescu: Sort-of like Trilema :D

Trilema once hit me like a shit-ton of bricks, maybe one day the Chinese blackbox will too. Until then, the conversations, poking, and prodding will continue.


___ ___ ___

  1. The “S” is for “Solo,” not “Second.” []
  2. Pity the Japanese who gon get so badly raped to make-up for WWII. []
  3. Go to Home Depot sometime and try to find something that isn’t made in China. Yes, those yellow bastards industrious little fellows have won. []
  4. Well, it’s not like they have private keys, so how individual can they really be ? []
  5. Where all the Chinese reps at ? Your guess is as good as mine. Other than the odd drop-in, there’s no consistent representative from The People’s Republic of China. []
  6. Aaaaand I’ve already ordered it. []
  7. Soviet Union’s. []
  8. Bantustans were designated areas within South Africa into which the colonial overseers deposited the country’s blacks in the mid- to late-20th century. The government referred to the blacks as “bantus,” thus they lived in “bantustans,” and the name stuck even after the areas gained their shmindependence in the 1970’s. The bantustans were very much in the same vein as Canadian native reserves, though the name “redmanshithole” is largely unknown here. []
  9. Cixi was “consort of the Xianfeng emperor (reigned 1850–61), mother of the Tongzhi emperor (reigned 1861–75), adoptive mother of the Guangxu emperor (reigned 1875–1908), and a towering presence over the Chinese empire for almost half a century.” via Britannica. []
  10. Also, ahem, ordered. Damn chatting is expensive ! []
  11. Your next Republican Presidential candidate !!1 []

4 thoughts on “The Chinese blackbox.

  1. […] those with more than a glimpse into, or more than a superficial curiousity towards, the Chinese blackbox. […]

  2. […] more of a blackbox than a shithole, and this is coming from someone’s who’s actually been there. Hint : […]

  3. […] Fiat and Bitcoin can and will continue to come into direct and sometimes indirect conflict with one another, but the system with the stronger stock always wins, and against the spiritually weak and debt-addled Western scamocracies, it’s not much of a fight these days (just ask ISIS or the Chinese.).vii […]

  4. […] One might imagine that the primary political implication of this would be an increased rate in turnover at the top of the Bitcoin hierarchy given the opportunity for multiples nodes of power to coalesce independently and thence compete, but at least two factors suggest that this extrapolation is incomplete. The first is that the barriers to entry in creating multiple nodes within The Republic (thus far the only possible sovereign), are significant. The exceedingly humble rate of growth in the Republic’s ranks at present would indicate that the critical mass needed to exceed the Dunbar number or even a significant proportion thereof is a fantastically distant prospect. The second is that creating a competing Republic de novo is akin to making a competitor for electricityiv – including the two hundred year infrastructural disadvantage. Not that we should ever underestimate the power of human ingenuity, but sticks and stones will break a lot of bones before they ever light a creative spark to compete with Franklin’s, much less build-out the supporting network. Then again the Chinese black box is… a black box. […]

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