Obama is a socialist with Chinese Characteristics

Deng Xiaoping, decades ago:

Planning and market forces are both ways of controlling economic activity.

Me, years ago:

In the contemporary, Chinese view of socialism, the government acts as both a regulator to and a competitor in major industries. For instance, Xinhua is a large news bureau and a regulator of news bureau. The old Ministry of Communications both ran a large national cell phone system, and regulated portable telephony. In this way, the government can subject the economy to national control while avoiding some of the inefficiencies (such as labor protection) that come from turning workers into public servants. Obama is a socialist in the Chinese sense.

Lexington Green, days ago:

But what if the final state is not democratic capitalism? What if convergence is right after all? What if Soviet communism fell apart and turned into a mafia state run by an alliance of government and favored businesses, which control the country by corruption and intimidation, a nomenklatura that strips out all the value in the country on behalf of a well-connected elite, immiserating everyone else. This amoral, vicious, greed-driven, undemocratic dystopia is what we are now converging toward. It is an Orwellian future, with an Inner Party of senior politicians and business executives, an Outer Party of government employees and business managers, and a vast, despoiled, proletariat with no opportunities, or assets or future. It sounds like the world Mr. Obama is brazenly pushing us toward. It also sounds like a future that no Republican has so far dared to point to, to name, to denounce and to oppose — because they would prefer to be in on the game than take the risks inherent in opposing it.

As I said in the comments, Everything except the remarks about the “despoiled proletariat” also describes the People’s Republic of China.

The greatest philosophical difference between People’s Republic President Hu Jintao and United States President Barack Obama appears to be that Hu believes that the generation of wealth is a fundemental social virtual. President Obama, on the other hand, believs that the destribution of wealth is such a virtue.

Review of “Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West,” by William Cronon

If this map fascinates you, Nature’s Metropolis is the book for you:

The entire sweep of Nature’s Metropolis is included in this cartograph. The establishment of the city in onion fields, and the final purchasing of the land from Indian tribes. The successful conquest of Chicagto’s conquest of the (older) State of Illinois, and Chicago’s establishment of her “near abroad” (Illionois, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa). The epic struggle against St. Louis, the firewalling against New York, and the unification of the Great West as Chicago’s periphery. And finally a historical moment that could not last.

I’ve tried to write this review a number of times, and unfortunately have never been able to do this book justice. It is a history of Chicago. It is a deconstruction of the “Frontier Thesis” in terms of net cost of transportation. It is an economic-determinist history of the United States in the 19th Century.

Nature’s Metropolis is a brilliant book. Buy it today.