5.3.1. Why would democracy and freedom of speech make China richer? (为什么民主和言论自由能够让中国变得更加富有?)

There is infinite debate about this out there, some examples:



  • presidents only care about the 4-8 year horizon, while dictators can make longer term decisions to maintain power forever, their power being limited only by "the people are happy enough to not start a revolution"

  • dictatorships can make changes faster without the same amount of discussion that happens in democracies, where power is more spread out.

    Killing a million people will make us richer? No problem, let’s do it.

    That is great when they make good decisions, but it sucks when they make bad ones more likely.

Maybe China was poor because of Mao’s crazy communist regime. Similar regimes also made Russia (俄罗斯) poor. And yes, before that exploitation by the West may have been a factor.

Definitely, the current regime is better than Mao’s, but just imagine how rich China could be if it had more freedom and justice.

Imperial China lost the race for the Industrial Revolution. Will another dictatorship be able to stay on top of the next technological revolution?

XKCD 937 tornado guard
Figure 5. XKCD 937 "TornadoGuard" comes to mind in relationship to the variable performance of dictatorships. Source.