Too many people around the world are worried about what China will do, when it will do it, how it competes on the global economic stage, what they’re doing to the environment, how they are abusing human rights, et cetera. This is all useless speculation and concern. This is not to say that we should stop highlighting Chinese abuses or that we overlook them, but we must make the effort with the knowledge that it is useless in the short-run and only the long-term cumulative effect of all of this concern and demonstration will be realized, if at all. Point of fact is that most of us that are not Chinese that protest and rail against China’s government and their policies do so not because it does any good for the people of China or affect the policies of its government, but do so because it make us feel good or because we feel that they are taking or took something from us (e.g., workers that lose their job because they think that the Chinese have stolen it). Regardless, the fact of the matter is is that the Chinese people in China will take care of what needs to be taken care of in time no matter what people outside of their country do or don’t do and say or don’t say. As an aside, I will note that the ironic thing about my thesis is that the Chinese government is unwittingly — who knows, may be it’s by design — aiding and abetting its own destruction.

Here’s my main point: As the Chinese become more and more affluent they will no longer be focused on daily or monthly survival and they will start to look around their environment (not just natural, but political and philosophical too) and wonder why? Why is the natural environment so polluted? Why is that person yelling about freedoms and what does it mean? Why don’t I have these freedoms? And, more to the point, many will have experienced these freedoms directly outside of their own country and wonder why China isn’t more like that. Eventually, this will build and build and build until it erupts in a national movement and the society as a whole outgrows the framework of the current government. It is likely that the movement starts in a major city such as Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangdong where western influences are much more prevalent and pervasive.

However, for China to reach that threshold, it must develop a burgeoning middle-class that feels it needs more than money and affluence. For this to occur, I’d expect that the average annual per capita income in China would have to be around $15,000 on a nominal basis in today’s money. This means that China’s nominal annual per capita income would have to surpass about $22,000, assuming a 20 year horizon and 2% average inflation, and, on a national GDP basis, their economic might should roughly equal or slightly surpass that of the US.

Once this occurs, China will go through another revolution that will see it go from a dictatorship to a democracy, which will then lead to another economic revolution (assuming that they fix their educational system as well) that will transform it into a superpower the likes of which history has never seen before, including the Roman and British empires. And, with this transformation, the Chinese will lead their own efforts to clean up their environment (in reality, this may occur prior to the final revolution that propels China into the ranks of democratic countries), enshrine human rights, reorganize their economy, and transform their military. In short, all of the things that we’d like to see China do today will occur with this glorious democratic revolution. However, until then we need to make sure that China continues on its path to economic prosperity. This is very, very critical. If the revolution occurs to early, it will result in chaos and disintegration, e.g., Russia, due to the difficulty and necessity of uprooting socialism. However, if timed correctly, e.g., South Korea, China should achieve the great success story that is envisioned.

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