ArtLung

June 19th, 2007

Freedom trails economic freedom

I love how concise Thomas Barnett can be: Watch Vietnam’s rerun of China’s relationship with U.S.:

Vietnam will face all the same pushback China has and continues to receive: yes, you’re turning capitalistic but not democratic at the same time.

What should Triet do? Exact same game plan:

He will also respond to criticism of Vietnam’s human-rights record by urging U.S. political leaders to pay more attention instead to the countries’ growing economic ties.”

No surprise:

As it has opened to more foreign investment, Vietnam’s economy has boomed.

So can we be patient on the rise in incomes or must we demand instant democracy?

After all, the academics argue, democracy and development went hand in hand in America, right?

Unless you weren’t white or didn’t own land at first.

Unless you were a slave for the first century or so.

Unless you were black and living in the South until the 1960s.

Unless you were part of any immigrant wave in which you were systematically denied your social, political and economic rights for years and decades following your arrival–as in, no Irish allowed or no Catholics allowed.

Unless you couldn’t vote directly for senators until the turn of the 20th century.

Unless you were Native Americans.

Unless you were female and didn’t vote whatsoever until about 80 years ago.

Unless you’re gay and lesbian today and can’t get married or enjoy spousal benefits.

Unless, unless, unless.

Ah yes, but we were perfect from the start. Where it took decades or even centuries to achieve democracy to achieve elsewhere.

Our sense of our own history is so queerly warped.

Ah, but let the academics debate it endlessly while the businessmen spread economic freedom in the meantime ….

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