Friday, July 20, 2012

Pankaj Mishra's new book

review From the Ruins of the Empire by Pankaj Mishra (via 3quarksdaily) concludes
"The book concludes by tracing the painful legacies of Asia's responses to the west: Japan's near-genocidal pan-Asian revenge for earlier imperial slights; Maoism's disastrous pursuit of a post-imperial modernity; the violent anti-westernism of global Islam. Despite widespread western admiration for the contemporary Asian miracle, Mishra sees in China a country in which some "stand up, while most others are forced to stand down, and the privileged Chinese minority aspire for nothing higher than the conveniences and gadgets of their western consumer counterparts". He hails India as a democracy in which "numbers of the disenchanted and the frustrated" are growing, along with a huge sense of hopelessness among landless peasants. And to those who read China's and India's embrace of capitalism as a comforting sign of their reconciliation with western ways, he offers a warning. Environmental apocalypse, he anticipates, will be the final consequence of these centuries-old collisions between Europe and America, and Asia: "the bitter outcome of the universal triumph of western modernity, which turns the revenge of the east into something darkly ambiguous, and all its victories truly Pyrrhic"."
From a recent NPR interview Slowed Growth reflects China's Uphill Battle

"If you went back in the '90s, like people who didn't have a lot of money were looking to visas to get out, and may be opportunities in America. Now, it's all the winners who are trying to get out. Two of the biggest banks in China did this survey of their high net worth individuals, that $1.6 million in assets or more - which is a lot of money in China. Sixty percent in both surveys said that they were considering emigrating, maybe in the process of getting a green card.

And they said things like education for their children. You know, everybody in America raves about the Chinese education system. Well, Chinese people want for their kids, they want critical learning, which they can't really quite get in the Chinese system.

They're looking for clean air. And the other thing is they're looking for ways to, frankly, protect their assets 'cause there's no rule of law. And everybody sort of feels there that, you know, if something bad happens or if I get on the wrong side of the government, I could lose all that I've made"

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