Monday, July 8, 2013

TED: A tale of two political systems

I do not move in elite circles. Naturally I do not know who Eric X. Li was.

I spent the twenty odd minutes listening to him - TED talks are always entertaining and so time passed quickly.

He gave a first rate salesman spiel plugging for the Chinese political system. Many were convinced. After all he did receive a standing ovation. Pragmatic, clear thinking people are tired of dysfunctional democracies especially America's. Steven Spielberg made his movie, 'Lincoln' to remind them that American had always been like that. It was his patriotic contribution to reinforce faith in their political system.

Just in case I returned and don't mind spending another twenty minutes. I am inserting Eric Li's speech here.

I do not buy wholesale his point of view. It is easy to sell anything that is successful. In fact success can often be counted on to sell itself. Here success is narrowly defined in economic and standard of living terms. Nothing deep and definitely not spiritual.

Success speaks for itself. Not necessary to add faith. On the other hand democracy demands belief. When results are late in coming and not coming elsewhere people begin to doubt and some gave up.

I have also found a rebuttal to Eric Li's point of view at TED by by Prof Huang Ya Sheng. Too much to read actually. I gave up one-third way. I wouldn't attempt a point for point rebuttal. Better to take it whole and attack the roots.

The way good triumph is mysterious. Not in fairy tales or the usual ways teachers and principals tell them in schools. Good triumph over evil by faith. On the other hand, the non-good i.e., not necessary evil but that's included, has a plan and realistic execution to take you to the desired destination. With good you need to believe and act without clarity. In fact you often have to act in the face of logic and danger. The non-good and/or evil has a road map. So democracy with all its messiness and unpredictability is an unexpected phenomena. It is based on a bunch of ideals and aspirations. It got its chance from thousands of years of tragic experiments with other systems. That's why Churchill must have labelled it the least worst system. On the other hand the system in place in China and Singapore are not like that. It is philosophically superficial and largely restricted to delivering on bread and butter. It is ok to trade away freedom for a better material living but wait till you tire of the material or more likely the hateful exercises of keeping up with the Tans and the Lims.

Perhaps the future isn't Communism but a swinging pendulum between what is in America and China/Singapore. And in order for the systems not to break down, it must not go to extremes. The best is for America and China to infect each other and let their immune system attack or assimilate as necessary to produce fitter systems.

Stay open minded. Experiment. We are forever a work in progress.


  1. How were you able to put the video on the blog?

    1. There are many YouTube you can view to show you how this is done. E.g.,

      Try google and search "embedding youtube video in blogger" for more examples. I have also done it for you asking Google to return only the latest.,or.r_cp.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48705608,d.bmk&fp=42814f5ce62a5e6&biw=1920&bih=979