Friday, October 20, 2017

Rehabilitating Mao

I did tell you they went all-in for controversial opinions at, but Mao Reconsidered: One Hundred Percent Good is a load, even by their standards. Just so you know, Roberts got an EdD at Umass-Amherst in 1973, and the rest of his internet presence is about how to make money after you've retired to Thailand on Social Security check. Health care?  Not to worry, because he thinks anything is better than the most corrupt healthcare system in the world in the US.

In the late 70's and early 80's there was a Marxist professor in the Masters In Human Services program at New Hampshire College (now SNHU) who must have taught a lot of this, as so many of his students, who worked at my hospital quoted "Marcel" as saying similar things. The iron control and horrible punishments were necessary with a country like China because they started out so backward and there were so many of them that there just wasn't any other way.  About two years later the "so backward" part was left out in favor of China's obvious superior traditional wisdom. It's hard to keep up sometimes.

There are over three hundred comments, and some of them get the main criticisms - like all those dead people and the famine - explained clearly and succinctly.  What surprised me was the number of commenters who agreed with the article.


Trimegistus said...

The viciousness of American leftists no longer surprises me. I once thought they were well-meaning but naive. That changed after 9/11. I realized that liberals really are hateful, treasonous, America-hating totalitarians. They know all about the mass murders committed by tyrants like Mao, Castro, and Stalin. They don't admire those monsters in spite of their crimes, but because of them. They fantasize about being able to do the same.

(Note, by the way, that I'm posting this under a pseudonym so that the apostles of tolerance, pacifism and diversity don't threaten and harass me and my family, or try to destroy my career, or try to assault me.)

james said...

Some folks love the masses, but people--not so much. The abstraction is the important thing. I wonder how far back that attitude goes...

Sam L. said...

James, I think it goes waaaaaaaaaay back to the deepest recesses of the mind.

After all, they wear Che t-shirts.

RichardJohnson said...

Godfree Roberts has made some comments defending Hugo Chavez. Those who are knowledgeable about Venezuela can readily refute his comments.

I wonder what he did after he got his Ed.D. from UMass.

RichardJohnson said...

I looked at Maddison Historical Per Capita data. It turns out that Mao's China didn't have economic growth rates that were all that impressive, especially when you begin with 1952. Reason for beginning w 1952: late 1949 to December 1952 were the first years of peace that China had in over a decade. As such, there would be a big "peace dividend" in those beginning years. From 1950-1952, China had an annual per capita growth rate of 9.5%. In 1952, China's per capita income of $538, after being $448 in 1950, was still below China's 1936 per capita income of $597.
By contrast, from 1952 to 1976. China had an annual per capita growth rate of 1.9%.

When we compare 1952 to 1976 data for China and the rest of the world, China's growth rate is rather pedestrian.

Annual Per Capita Growth rate, 1952-1976
Japan 6.93
S. Korea 6.12
Taiwan 5.73
Hong Kong 5.13
15 W. Asia 4.66
7 E. Europe 3.93
30 W. Europe 3.79
Thailand 3.73
12 W. Europe 3.67
14 small WEC 3.43
16 E. Asia 3.30
F. USSR 3.27
L. America 2.65
Total World 2.65
15 L. America 2.25
30 E. Asia 2.22
24 Sm. E. Asia 2.19
USA 2.10
China 1.94
Total Africa 1.88

From 1976 to 2010, China had an annual per capita growth rate of 6.8%, which is quite a change from 1.94% from 1952-1976.

RichardJohnson said...

Dollars are: in constant 1990 dollars: (1990 Int. GK$)

Assistant Village Idiot said...

China had been devastated by Japanese invasion, so its 1946 numbers were likely low, but with memory of something better and some knowledge of how to get there. So the 1952-1976 looks even worse.

I was surprised at the US numbers, but that may be because there had already been some jump during and after the war. The easy-to-remember numbers I keep (and hope I could verify if I needed to) are 41, 49. In 1941, 49% of Americans were below what we later defined as the poverty line - and that was after the Great Depression was over. And in 1949, 41% were below that line. The number dropped to 24% by the early 60's.

RichardJohnson said...

End of the Peace Dividend for Mao’s China

Per Capita Income, constant 1990 $
1950 448
1951 491
1952 538
1953 552
1954 557

Christopher B said...

Trime is right. This isn't necessarily just a crank opinion. It isn't Mao but there was a running reference on Instapundit during the Obama years to a Thomas Friedman column from 2009 that asserted the Chinese autocracy had advantages over the US in being able to unilaterally impose important policies. I don't know if anyone's asked him if he's changed his mind on this since January 2017.