The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 2/5

January 6, 2012

Another question Parfitt asked in in his comment to Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth was, What about China’s debt problem? Would that hinder it [China] in its supposed race against India?”

I doubt strongly that there is an economic race between India and China. If it is perceived that one exists, we may thank the Western media circus for that, since the media often compares the annual growth of India’s GDP with China’s.

The answer to Parfitt’s question leads to another question that should have been asked instead.

Will India’s corruption [50% of GDP], poverty [25%], literacy rate [61%] and debt problems hinder it in its supposed economic race with China? Source of facts used: CIA Factbook

By comparison, literacy in China is 92.2% and those living below the poverty line according to the CIA Factbook represent 2.8% of the population.

India’s GDP [Purchasing Power Parity – PPP], according to the CIA Factbook, was about $4 trillion dollars in 2010 but its public debt was 50.6% of GDP. It’s reserves of foreign exchange and gold was $287.1 billion [this is the same as a savings account], and its external debt was $316.9 billion, which shows us that India owes more money than it has in its savings account. In addition, it has been reported that corruption in India is worse than China.

By comparison, China’s GDP [PPP] in 2010 was more than $10 trillion and its public debt was 16.3% of GDP, its savings account held almost $3 trillion and its external debt was $519 billion.

Another point of comparison is the US GDP [PPP], which was $14.66 trillion with $14.71 trillion in external debt and a public debt of 62.9%, while its savings account holds $132.4 billion.

With these numbers, which country is in the best shape economically to face challenges at home and globally in the near future and in the long run?

I replied to Mr. Parfitt’s comments and there was another reply from Alessandro, a regular visitor to this Blog. The reason I’m writing this post is the IGNORANCE Factor, which plays far too large a role in the circus of American politics and public opinion, which is often inflamed by the biased opinions of individuals such as Mr. Parfitt.

Continued on January 7, 2012 in The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 1/5

January 5, 2012

On December 30, 2011, Troy Parfitt, whom I debated in this Blog, left a comment to another post I wrote, Comparing India and China’s Potential for Economic Growth.

In our debate, one of Parfitt’s tactics was to often throw out short claims/opinions as if they were bullets from a machine gun while cherry picking the facts [also known as confirmation bias, my-side bias and verification bias] used to support his opinions, which he treated as facts.

If you doubt my claim, read the entire debate and see if even once Parfitt admitted his beliefs were nothing but his personal opinions subject to bias.  And mark my words, all opinions are subject to bias unless supported by a vast majority of facts that are not cherry picked.

Cherry picking is the act of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.

Confirmation bias is a tendency of people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true. These biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs.

For this sort of bias to succeed in winning over others, it often depends on the ignorance of the people.

Mr. Parfitt said in his comment,  “So, if China is a republic, and Sun Yat-sen wanted a republic based on the American model, has SYS’s dream been realized in China? One of the tenets of Sun’s philosophy was democracy. Has China achieved democracy?”

My answer to this question is easy but the longer explanation to counter Parfitt’s misleading confirmation bias will appear later in this series of posts.

The short answer is YES, what Sun Yat-sen may have envisioned as a republic for China may have been achieved more by today’s Chinese Communist Party [CCP] than Taiwan.

In fact, we will never really know exactly what Sun Yat-sen wanted as a Republic in China, since he died in 1925 before he achieved his dream of unifying China.

However, we can gain a better idea of what his vision may have been by discovering what it was like in Hawaii and America at the time Sun Yat-sen lived in Hawaii before it was a territory of the US.

Readers may find it interesting that Hawaii was a Republic [1894 -1898] before it became a territory of the United States [1898 – 1959], and before it became a state in 1959.

In fact, a commission during the administration of President Grover Cleveland [1885–1889 and 1893–1897] concluded that the removal of Queen Lili’uokalani was illegal, and the U.S. government demanded that she be re-instated.

Then in 1993, a joint Apology Resolution regarding the overthrow of Hawaii’s Queen was passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton, apologizing for the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.

Continued on January 6, 2012 in The IGNORANCE Factor of Bias – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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China and India’s Mutual Collectivism and History

December 28, 2011

There appears to be an obsession in the West that India, since it is a democracy, is the developing country to counterbalance China’s economic and military growth.

The American Interest published a piece in their May/June 2010 issue – The Return of the Raj, which points out that where G. W. Bush failed to build an Indo-U.S. defense pact, Secretary of State Clinton in a visit to India in July 2009 did open the door to significant arms transfers from the U.S. to India.

If the United States and India can together rediscover and revive the Indian military’s expeditionary tradition, they will have a solid basis for strategic cooperation not only between themselves but also with the rest of the world’s democracies. Source: The American Interest

In another piece, A Himalayan rivalry, The Economist focuses on the 1962 conflict between India and China saying, “Memoires of a war between India and China are still vivid in the Tawang valley…”

However, memoires aren’t everything. There is also knowledge, and China is not the same country it was in 1962.

In 1962, some of the factors that led to the war between India and China were linked to Mao’s policies, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

The Maoists were removed from power in the 1980s, and China is not the same socialist nation it was then.

Unlike India, China’s one party political system allows for quick decisions that often benefit the country.

Another important factor to remember is that China is still a collectivist nation as India is.

Due to this fact, China and India have more in common than India and America.

It does not matter that India is considered the world’s largest democracy, because to counter that, India also has a large bureaucracy that makes it difficult to get things done.

However, in India, the bureaucracy has a reputation for being tremendously arrogant and corrupt. It is a truism that Indian bureaucrats are generally smug and supercilious… source: Open India

Indian bureaucracy has often been criticized for being cumbersome and stretching procedures to sanction projects. Source: Meri News

A friend, Tom Carter, while shooting his next book in India, discovered that it was easier to travel and stay in China than India.

A study of individualist and collectivist orientations across occupational groups in India by Anjali Ghosh where he refers to a study by Sinha & Verma (1994) … that masters-level university students express more idiocentric (individualist) orientations than allocentric (collectivist) due to Western influence, immediate life concerns and exposure to mass media.

However, Verma & Triandis (1999) observed that Indian students were more vertical collectivist than U.S. students were.

Another fact is that China and India both have ancient civilizations more than 5,000 years old and they are next-door neighbors as Canada and the US are.

Note: This revised and edited post first appeared as a two-part series on September 10, 2010 as China and India’s Mutual Collectivism and Shared History – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The Danger of False Truths – Part 3/3

July 23, 2011

In another e-mail, this “old” friend questioned China’s behavior in Asia and mentioned the disagreement between Vietnam and China over some offshore oil fields that both countries claim.

He felt this was a sign that China would wage war on other countries and inferred this would not happen if China were a democracy similar to the US, since “no democracy has ever gone to war with another democracy” (his words).

Soon after I received that e-mail, I used Google and found Democracies Do Not Make War on One Another … or Do They? by Matthew White, who does a great job throwing ice-cold water on another false truth.

White says, basically, it depends on the definition of democracy and that individuals will shift the meaning of the definition to fit what he or she wants to believe.

To come up with a set of probabilities, White studied the wars that took place in 1967 and came up with these results:

White wrote, “Now, 1967 is just a single year, but I’ve spent a good deal of this Atlas counting democracies. I can state with reasonable certainty that 44.5% of mapable sovereignties during the WW2-Y2K Era were full democracies. This calculates out to…

  • The odds of 2 random democracies going to war: 19.8%
  • The odds of 2 random non-democracies going to war: 30.8%
  • The odds of a random democracy going to war with a random non-democracy: 49.4%

He also mentions an interesting theory that “no two countries with a McDonald’s Restaurant have ever gone to war with one another”, which seems to indicate that as countries are incorporated into the global economy by trans-national corporations, they stop waging war on one another.

This theory is an individual truth that most of us might want to believe since there then should be no worry that the US and China will ever wage war.

In 2009, the US had 13,381 McDonalds and in 2010, China had almost 1,000 with thousands more planned. In addition, China has thousands of Pizza Huts, KFCs, Starbucks and the Chinese love to drive Buicks and Fords. Wal-Mart is even building stores in China.

However, I discovered the McDonald’s theory might be another false truth.

Pakistan has 25 McDonalds and the first one was built in 1998. India has 192 with the first built in 1996, and the last Indo-Pakistani War was in 1999.

Return to The Danger of False Truths – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Considering China as a Democracy – Part 3/3

April 6, 2011

In Parts 1 and 2, we discovered that being a democracy does not protect the people from chaos, anarchy, war and hunger.

In China’s history, there have been many examples of what happens when a central government collapses. Between every great dynasty—the Han, Tang, Sung, Ming and Qing—there have been rebellions, chaos and anarchy causing tens of millions of deaths and hardship.

Another example from the US is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is common knowledge by those in the know that the FDA is controlled by the food and drug industry and many of the decisions of the FDA benefit industries while hurting the public.

The Washington Post revealed another example of democracy gone wrong when it recently reported on Past Medical Testing on Humans by the US government and American pharmaceutical companies.

In China, when corruption of this type is discovered, the officials caught often face prison and possible execution. In the US, few if any are punished.

In addition, since China has more spoken languages than India along with fifty-six recognized minority groups numbering more than one hundred million people, China would have more political parties competing for votes than India creating the same gridlock and corrupt political environment.

Deng Xiaoping was right in 1989 when he said China wasn’t ready for a Western style democracy.  In fact, China may never be ready.

In the West, there is a wise idiom. “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t,” which means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.

However, it is possible that this is exactly what China’s critics and enemies want, as it could spell the end of China’s rise as a soon-to-be economic and military super power rivaling the US.

Return to Considering China as a Democracy – Part 2 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Considering China as a Democracy – Part 2/3

April 5, 2011

In Part 1, we discovered what happened to India as a multi-party parliamentary democracy.

What does US history teach us?  Since Independence, the US has had several financial crises leading to severe unemployment and economic hardships for many.  The US suffered through financial/economic depressions in 1807, 1837, 1873, 1893, 1929-1939 (known as the Great Depression). Source: San Jose State University Department of Economics

Then there was the recent 2008 global financial crises leading to about 64 trillion dollars in global losses and tens of millions of lost jobs (9 million in the US and about 20 million in China alone).

This global financial collapse had its start in the world’s most powerful democracy and could have been avoided.

Although there have been many predictions in the West that China’s economy will collapse, that hasn’t materialized yet as it has in the US several times.

In fact, soon after the 2008 global financial crises hit, China put the unemployed back to work while importing goods from other nations helping to support those economies to survive the crises.

As The Damned clearly shows, democracy doesn’t always work, and Abraham Lincoln was a tyrant, who plunged the US into the bloodiest war of its history.

This happened again in Vietnam under President Johnson and in Iraq under President G. W. Bush

For example, after the Qing Dynasty collapsed in 1911, instead of an orderly republic replacing it as Sun Yat-sen hoped, China fractured with warlords fighting each other in every province.

Then in 1926, Chiang Kai-shek’s distrust of the Communist Party led to decades of Civil War (1926 – 1949) and unrest instead of cooperation between the two founding parties of Sun Yat-sen’s fledgling republic — the Communist and Nationalist parties.

In Part 3, we will learn from Chinese history and the US today.

Return to Considering China as a Democracy – Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.


Considering China as a Democracy – Part 1/3

April 4, 2011

Using history, the US and India as examples of what democracy offers may show what might happen in China if it were to become a multi-party republic with a democratic political system.

India became a democracy in 1947, and more than 60 years later, about 40% of the population is still illiterate and lives in severe poverty due to political gridlock and government corruption, while the CIA reports that only 2 1/2 percent of Chinese live in similar poverty today.

For India, that’s 400 million people while China has 33 million living in severe poverty mostly in remote and rugged areas of China.

Thirty years ago, about sixty percent of Chinese lived in severe poverty. When Mao ruled China (1949-1976), 30 to 40 million died from famines. No one has died from famine since Mao’s death.

However, in 2009, the Times of India reported that India tops world hunger chart. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) reported some staggering figures. More than 27% of the world’s undernourished population lives in India while 43% of children (under 5 years) in the country are underweight. The figure is among the highest in the world…

In India, which has a democratic parliamentary political system, there are six recognized national parties and more than forty recognized state parties. Source: Wikipedia

While China’s one political party has managed to almost end poverty and boost literacy from 20 to more than 90% in thirty years, India’s many-party democracy has failed.

In Part 2, we will see why China may not survive to become a successful democracy if US history is an indication of what the future holds.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

If you want to subscribe to iLook China, there is a “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar.