The China Test

You can predict one’s ideology and overall perspective on the world by their opinion of China. Those who are optimistic about China tend to be more successful financially, and or subscribe to a neocon or neoliberal worldview. They tend to be optimistic about technology, markets, and human nature, although this is not the same as being pro-democracy; rather is is congruent to technocracy. Those who are pessimistic and antipathetic about China tend to subscribe to a traditionalist and or isolationist worldview, and are likely not as financially successful, and may have either authoritarian or populist ideological beliefs.

It would seem billionaires, being the most financially successful of all, have a very positive outlook about China. They love the China, and the rich Chinese love them too. There is a sort of symbiosis between America’s financial, political, and tech elite and China’s elite, that is unique and does not extend to the elites of other countries. For example, China’s rich keep buying up expensive homes in Silicon Valley, much to the chagrin of the left and the populist right. They, these rich Chinese, choose Silicon Valley out of all possible locations, due to cultural similarities, among other factors. The tech rich and the Chinese-rich have a lot in common: high IQ, industriousness, a pro-capitalism and Laissez-faire worldview, and a lot of money.

During the 2016 campaign Trump played to anti-China sentiment to help secure votes from the populist right, but I think in private he’s much more conciliatory.

Here is Elon Musk praising China effusively:

Why do successful, rich people like China so much?

Besides shared values, other reasons include:

A lot of potential consumers. China’s has 1.4 billion people, which means a lot of consumer spending. Hollywood pulled itself out of a slump in the early 2000’s, due to foreign ticket sales, which have surged despite stagnant domestic sales. As discussed in the post Sorry Middle Class, You’re Just Not That Important Anymore, wealthy Chinese consumers are overtaking US consumers, and that’s a reason why elites aren’t too concerned about the so-called ‘decline of the middle class.’

A source of credit. Wealthy people need somewhere to store their wealth, such as bonds, and the Chinese by buying up these bonds, helps bondholders.

Cultural blank slate. There is no Chinese-equivalent of White Anglo-Saxon Protestant or Catholic culture. There is no official ‘Chinese religion’. Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism have a much smaller cultural grip on contemporary China than Christianity or evangelicalism does on contemporary America. There are millions of these people that can be molded to whatever value system exerts the biggest influence, and major corporations have the resources to shape culture. The overthrow of the imperial regime, and then a generation later, the end of Mao, all in the in the span of just fifty years, left the Chinese culturally adrift and torn between two extremes. This could explain why Chinese immigrants, and the Chinese, overall, assimilate so well with American culture abroad and seek to emulate it domestically.