China from the East

by on May 14, 2017 at 11:18 am in Books, History | Permalink

The image was sent to me by Christopher Jared.  And, via Shivaji Sondhi, here is a review essay on ideology and the longevity of the Chinese empire.

1 rayward May 14, 2017 at 11:59 am

If ever there was evidence of Cowen’s cyclical view of history, it’s China (if one looks to Wang’s review of Pines’ book). Unification followed by division followed by unification followed by division followed by unification. That being the case, can we expect another cycle of division in China? Is America’s short history a series of unifications and divisions? Does unification make people complacent, which leads to division, which leads to vulnerability to enemies, which leads to unification? To avoid instability, should America (China) have a strong central government, even if it means less “freedom”? Or is instability the price we pay for “freedom”?

2 Nodnarb the Nasty May 14, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Good questions, but the cyclical theory is too cyclical for my tastes.

3 Nodnarb the Nasty May 14, 2017 at 12:39 pm

PS: The link from Sondhi is awesome.Reminds of this old bitty…

4 dearieme May 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm

It seems to keep coming into favour and then falling out of favour.

5 Steve Sailer May 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm

I wrote a paper in college 40 years ago about how China’s cyclical pattern of history was plausible than the West’s pattern. Maybe the time has come to dig it out of my garage and post it?

6 Mark Thorson May 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Note that Taiwan is featureless gray because the maker of this map did not regard it as part of China.

If I were a pro-unification Taiwanese citizen, I’d be pushing for currency unification as the first step in what might be a 50 year process. 30 years ago, that wouldn’t have made sense because Taiwan had a booming high-tech economy and the mainland was a vast economic wasteland of peasants. Today, the mainland is booming and Taiwan should play its cards while it still has cards. Currency unification would be a union of equals, or nearly so.

This would have enormous benefits on both sides of the strait. Cross-strait trade would be greatly eased, of course, but more importantly for Taiwan is the convenience for tourism. Tourism is among the largest industries in Taiwan, much more so with the emergence of an affluent mainland middle class.

7 Thiago Ribeiro May 14, 2017 at 1:03 pm

The so-called Taiwan is a rebelled province of Brazil, its real name is Formosa. It was a part of the Portuguese Empire and rightfully belonged to its sucessor state, the Empire of Brazil, whose successor state is the Federative Republic of Brazil. Soon or late, it will rejoin the Fatherland.

8 rluser May 15, 2017 at 8:07 am

molon labe

interesting at the least

9 Vasco Jesus May 15, 2017 at 9:28 am

By the same token:
The so called Federative Republic of Brasil is a rebelled province(s) of the Portuguese Empire.
Soon or later, it will rejoin the Fatherland.

Portuguese peoples rejoice!

10 Harun May 14, 2017 at 2:26 pm

Tourism is not that a large industry in Taiwan, and Chinese tourism is actually falling.

Amazingly, non-Chinese tourism picked up the slack.

Although, when you dig into the numbers, Chinese tourism is often low cost, bus tours, and not the kind you really want: high income travelers staying in high end resorts.

11 Potato May 14, 2017 at 3:19 pm

Taipei is interesting for about 48 hours. Food is pretty good. Their economy is heading downhill. Any advantages they had are outweighed 10:1 by labor cost differential and economies of scale in relocating to the mainland.

Mostly it’s a novelty for the mainlanders, they can gawk at these Han Chinese that have rights and loose morals and etc. although the biggest shock to them is that Taiwanese frown on letting your 5 year old defecate in the street. They also get to enjoy the propaganda vans that for some reason blare communist propaganda from loudspeakers while driving down Taipei streets. Paid by the PLA intel service no doubt. And ignored.

12 rluser May 15, 2017 at 8:04 am

molon labe

interesting at the least

13 rluser May 15, 2017 at 8:06 am

apologies — wrong level

14 Charlie May 14, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Our federal union ; it must be preserved

15 Tim Fitzgerald May 14, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Slightly off topic, but related–the link below shows a map from a Chinese perspective looking East toward the Pacific:

16 Christopher Jared May 14, 2017 at 2:53 pm

I have used this perspective of China for insight many times. Look at the proximity of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and then what is in the middle? A large green, fertile patch… a middle kingdom. Whenever I am thinking about events in Chinese history, recent or ancient, it is this perspective that is most helpful to understanding.

Note: Taiwan would be grey because it was under Japanese rule in 1941, the date of the map.

17 Clay May 15, 2017 at 12:46 pm

It’s even more green on a satellite image, where higher elevations aren’t represented as brown.

18 Steve Sailer May 14, 2017 at 3:49 pm

What’s the average difference in population density between the lowland green parts of China and the hilly yellow parts?

19 spandrell May 14, 2017 at 4:34 pm

People live in the river valleys between those yellow hills; the valleys are much bigger than you’d think by looking at the map though. That’s the rice country, and the density that rice allows compensates for the hills. China as of today is more or less half north half south in population.

20 Steve Sailer May 14, 2017 at 7:30 pm


21 rayward May 14, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Whatever. Here is the NYT’s latest assessment of China’s bold bid for global economic supremacy or lame attempt to avoid the inevitable collapse, depending on your point of view:

22 Tyler May 15, 2017 at 2:45 am

PRD should split off

23 Ricky Tylor May 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm

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