James Fallows in What’s Up in China: Hint, It’s Not War With the U.S. observes a number of trends that make war with China unlikely: Rebellion in Wukan, the possibility of an economic slow down, and the mistranslating of China’s president Hu Jintao’s remarks on military preparedness.
In addition, on the likelihood that China will outstrip the West in computing innovation, Tricia Wang is quoted as saying:
- The three things holding China’s computing industry from creating disruptive innovation is the
- ) lack of trust between individuals, groups, and institutions,
- ) lack of organizations that foster creativity and community, and
- ) lack of common myth among technologists, engineers, and programmers.
I would agree and add an observation from previous information revolutions. The existing elite is never as innovative as those who are information literate and “hungry”. Or put another way, in an information revolution nothing fails like success. The context with the greatest depth of information will win. In China, as in previous repressive regimes, the members of the existing elite (political, economic, or technological elite) have a vested interest in controlling information access to those they trust. Hence, it is only those who are likely to subscribe to the ‘party line’ who have access.
This is similar to Spain during the information revolution following the printing press where the press was controlled. Only books approved by the Roman Catholic Church were published. there was an active black market but only the upper classes – members of the elite – could take advantage of it. Therefore, the commons did not learn to read and so did not innovate.
In the Protestant countries the press was associated with reading the Bible so common folk did learn to read. It was these people, literate craftsmen, that invented new ways of producing goods (organizational, economic, and technological) which led to capitalism and the wealth and dominance of the West. (see Chapter IX)
By limiting information access China is choosing the way of Spain not the way of Holland and England.