The most dangerous political experiment in Latin America is *was* in El Salvador. It was a failed state forfeiting all ability to fulfill its primary obligation by protecting its citizens at the most basic elementary level.

Thank god for Bukele. There isn't a population on earth that would make the other choice in the face of that situation. I hope all of Central America follows suit.

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I agree that the protection of citizens represents a human right. But please do not generalize to all of Central America. Panama and Costa Rica provide protection for their citizens. Also it is important to note that violence in the other Central American countries as well as Mexico is related to drug trafficking fueled by the demand in the US.

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It is true, not all of Central America, just the countries that are failed states. As far as what it is "important to note," it seems to me another way of saying the US (or the West in general) must always be blamed for whatever problems on earth one may find.

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True; For example China is to blame for much of global warming. But the drug problem of the US is an outlier and its devastating effects can also be found in the US with the decline in life expectancy.

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For better or worse, El Salvador is the future. Liberalism leads to men pretending to be women so that they can cheat at sports. I have a standard comment about this.

“China is very good at building dams, the US is very good at enforcing PC. Which system will prevail in the 21st century?”

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I dont see China as a place to be admired. Mussolini and Hitler were good at dam building too.

Liberalism has created the most successful, prosperous, and free countries in the world. Singapore may be one exception but if you look at the thirty wealthiest countries in the world they are all democracies.

That you are so aggrieved about transgenders, and I am no big fan of trends, but it doesnt really effect me, that you prefer an authoritarian dictatorship is astounding. I love my country and it is nothing without our freedoms.

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May 13, 2023·edited May 13, 2023

It doesn’t matter whether you admire or condemn China. What matters is China is where things get done. The US is where things don’t get done (other than enforcing PC).

These days, China has (by a substantial margin) a larger economy than the US. In some respects (coal, steel, concrete, Copper, Aluminum, Nickel, etc.) China dwarfs the US. For example, in 2022 China produced 1.013 billion tons of steel. The US produced 87 million tons of steel in 2021.

Liberalism / democracy won’t survive if they are objectively synonymous with inefficiency. At one time, liberal/democratic societies were notably more efficient, than authoritarian nations. For example, the US in 1968 (or 1868) was liberal / democratic and far more effective than Mao’s China.

In 1968, it was fair to say that the US had an effective government and other countries did not.

In 2023, this isn’t so clear. Let me use one of my favorite examples. California tried to build a high-speed rail line and failed. Costs in 2020 were estimated at $80 billion and possibly as high as $99.8 billion. The project collapsed under its own weight (cost). The nation of Spain built an HSR from Madrid to Barcelona at a cost of $6 billion. By coincidence, the distance is about the same.

Of course, California has substantial mountain ranges as you approach San Francisco (from the south) or Los Angeles (from the north). Conversely, the Central Valley of California is one of the flattest places on Earth (way flatter than Spain).

The details here are not really that important. The important fact is that the US/California is now a place where things don’t get done.

In 1968, the US was in the final stages of the Apollo program (which would succeed in 1969) and China was starting the debacle of the Cultural Revolution. Stated differently, the US was arguably among the most effective nations on Earth and China was among the least effective nations on Earth. What about now?

“Liberalism has created the most successful, prosperous, and free countries in the world. Singapore may be one exception but if you look at the thirty wealthiest countries in the world they are all democracies.”

In a word, no. Check the actual data over at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita.

“I love my country and it is nothing without our freedoms.”

For better or worse (worse), the USA has already lost its freedoms. Check out the sad fate of Colin Wright. Of course, Colin Wright is just one example, Many other examples exist.

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The same was said of Hitler and Mussolini. They seemed undefeatable and successful, but generally, not always, evil fails.

China does not have a bigger economy than the US. The IMF pegs the US GDP at 20,5 trillion and China well behind at 13.4 ( https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/by-gdp) . Further with China having over four times the population of the US the per capita GDP, what one CHinese produce is about 1/8 of the US, and close to that for the other OECD countries.

I cant predict the future and certainly China's growth rate has been much higher than the West but the big unknown is the effects of CHina's one child policy where Chinas population will be in sharp decline starting in another 5 years and they will be burdened with an aging population.

Repeat, each American is now producing about 8 times as much as in China. That they rose rapidly is largely about how poor they were to begin with and that they embraced free markets which unleashed that. But autocracies have a lot of problems and the Draconian one child policy is just one example where they will be weak.

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“China does not have a bigger economy than the US.”

If you are going to make stuff up, try to be a bit more clever about it. The IMF says that the US was 15.685% of global GDP in 2021. In the same year, China was 18.557% of global GDP. In my world 18 is greater than 15. Perhaps math works differently for you. The world bank says that the GDP of China is $27.312 trillion. The US is $22.996 trillion. In my world 27 is greater than 22. Perhaps math works differently for you. According to the CIA, the GDP of China is $24.861 trillion. The US is $21.132 trillion. In my world 24 is greater then 21. Perhaps math works differently for you.

“Repeat, each American is now producing about 8 times as much as in China.”

If you are going to make stuff up, try to be a bit more clever about it. According to the CIA, the per-capita GDP of China is $17,600. The US is $63,700 In my world the ratio is 3.612. Perhaps math works differently for you.

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Now part of discrepancies in calculations is that different groups- CIA, World Bank, IMF use different methodologies.

There are sources showing China bigger and they use PPP, personal purchasing power. which takes account of the total buying power within the country from the total income. Part of that is that services are so much cheaper and in things like haircuts the Chinese in total can buy more haircuts than the US, although per capita they are still much less as the US is well ahead per capita.

Other sources, like the IMF cited above, look at exchange rates and that is where China falls well short and reflects there ability to purchase things like oil, coal, steel on the world market and more reflects their geopolitical power.

This is detailed in the Guardian piece here


THe Guardian looks at this definition in measurement. and notes:

"The obvious solution is to use the contemporaneous exchange rate: multiply China’s yuan-measured GDP by the dollar-per-yuan exchange rate, so that it is expressed in dollars. Viewed in these terms, the US economy ($19.519tn) is still more than 50% larger than China’s ($12.144tn), according to the latest figures.

By contrast, measuring GDP in PPP terms is more appropriate for comparing standards of living because it accounts for the fact that many goods and services are cheaper in China than they are in the US. Generally speaking, one yuan spent in China will go much further than one yuan spent abroad. While some internationally traded goods have similar prices, things like haircuts – a service that cannot readily be exported or imported – are cheaper in China than in the US.

The PPP measure has many uses but assessing geopolitical power is not one of them. It is not helpful in answering the primary question that most commentators fixate on: how China’s economic size and power compare with the US’s in the broader contest for global supremacy.

For that, a more relevant consideration is, for example, how much money China can contribute to the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral agencies, and how much voting power it should get in return."

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What happened to "China does not have a bigger economy than the US"? I guess that nonsense, fell by the wayside. Now we have a new claim "the US dollar is more overvalued than the RMB and that gives the US more geopolitical power". Perhaps I should point out that the US has a huge trade deficit and China has a trade surplus.

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PPP GDP is sometimes called real GDP. What does 'real' mean to you? Something related to ‘reality’ perhaps? Of course, not. For a harsh lesson in ‘reality’ check out the BP world energy statistics. In 2021, China consumed 157.65 Exajoules on energy. The US consumed 92.97 Exajoules of energy. In my world 157 is greater than 92. Perhaps math works differently for you. In 2021, the US produced 4406.4 Terrawatt-hours of electricity. China produced 8534.3 Terrawatt-hours of electricity. In my world 8535 is greater than 4406. Perhaps math works differently for you. Remember what Philip K. Dick said about this “Reality is that which, when you stop believing it, doesn't go away”.

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btw if you take their calculation that the US is 50% larger than China and has 1/4 the population that is where you get the 8x. That was a rough claim and the math is likely wrong but I will accept your 3.6x and we can agree that per capita the US is 3.6x more prosperous than China, which proves my point, even if my methodology gives a higher number.

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Here is the WIki citation which does use IMF data and the raw numbers are that Chinas gdp in 2023 is 19.37 trillion and the US is 26.85.


Now different agencies use different metrics so you jump from IMF to CIA and you cant do that, but you start with IMF so you are wrong on that.

Besides the original dispuite was taking exception to my claim that the US was the most prosperous and I came up with about 8x which was a baseline calculation which you can make from the above data and population, but even if I accept that the US is only 3.6x, it still proves my point that we are clearly more prosperous.

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Wikipedia shows China is well ahead of the US. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP). China’s GDP for 2023 is estimated at $33.01 trillion. The US is estimated at $26.85 trillion. The source is the IMF. The Wikipedia article has a discussion about using PPP to measure GDP. Quote “GDP comparisons using PPP are arguably more useful than those using nominal GDP when assessing the domestic market of a state because PPP takes into account the relative cost of local goods, services and inflation rates of the country, rather than using international market exchange rates, which may distort the real differences in per capita income.”

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btw the actual data you shared from wiki shows the opposite of what you say with China well behind in gdp per capita of the US and Europe. Look at the map on the page right. You sound like a Chinese propogandist making things up. Did you actually read the Wiki b/c your conclusions are completely bogus and your citation prov es the the exact opposite. You check the data.

Excluding the very small countries like Qatar and looking at countries with over 10M pop your own citation lists the highest in gdp per capita in order as Ireland, Switzerland, Norway, US, Denmark, Netherlands, Taiwan, Austria, Germany, Sweden, Germany, Australia. Yes, the democracies clearly are the most prosperous. Thanks for proving my point.

More importantly, why are you boosting China, yes, they have prospered economically relative to the disaster of the 50s where millions starved to death, but, no, the model for the world is not dictatorship. Value your liberty. Even if China might eventually surpass the wealth of the West which given their demographics seem unlikely, freedom is important in itself. DO you really wish to live under a dictator.

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"Even if China might eventually surpass the wealth of the West"

In real life, China passed the USA some number of years ago.

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I explained above in numerous ways how there are different methodologies that give you different points of whether gdp is bigger in the US or CHina.

But wealth to me is GDP per capita because you could have 10x the population of CHina and have a bigger GDP but people could be living in poverty.

The first metric which you brought up was GDP per capita and China is well below the US, you yourself noted the US at 3.6x that of CHina so the average person in the US is 3.6x as wealthy.

Nor do you mention that the total wealth and gdp in Europe exceeds the US even though it is slightly less per capita but well above China's

And what is your real point? That dictatorship is good. That we should submit to authoritarianism because China is doing well, which they are, for now, though wait until their population starts going down as they reap the downside of one child with the oldest population in the world.

Do you favor dictatorship? Do you want to emulate China and not have freedom of speech and have the government tell you where you can live, how many children you can have, what religion you can practice.

Even if China did surpass the US at some point is that how much you devalue freedom of the individual.

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"But wealth to me is GDP per capita"

By that measure, Singapore and Qatar are way ahead of the US

Actually, the absolute number of purple cats is the only true measure of wealth. Everything else is irrelevant. Only purple cats count.

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"But wealth to me is GDP per capita"

I think wealth is actually measured by the number of purple cats. However, there is some called the 'dictionary' which you can access with something called the 'internet'. The 'dictionary' defines wealth as 'a great quantity or store of money, valuable possessions, property, or other riches'.

China has a wealth / GDP of 4.47. The US has a somewhat higher ratio coming in around 4.945. Given that the GDP of China is more then 22% greater than the US, China has greater wealth as well (as defined by the 'dictionary'). Of course, China and the US are lagging badly in purple cats.

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A great critique of American stagnation.

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The only tool we have for predicting the future is study of the past, however imperfect that is. During the 20th century, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and Red China experimented with restoring "order" by mass incarceration and elimination of civil liberties. Of the three only Germany has emerged as a modern, democratic, nation state, and that was only after committing genocide, waging a disastrous war, unconditional surrender and foreign occupation. Both Russia and China are continuing with authoritarian governments with central planning and non-existent civil liberties. What does 20th century history tell us about El Salvador's future?

We, in the United States, are now reconsidering the strategy of mass incarceration to reduce crime. There are benefits to living in a constitutional democratic republic and those benefits include open discussion of failed policies leading to gradual change.

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The success of post-Mao China is a dire warning the liberalism may not survive. Sadly, 'struggle sessions' seem to have jumped the pacific and become the norm in the USA.

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China's improvements were accomplished by at least embracing the liberal side of economics ie free markets. I dont try to predict the future but the world still looks at the liberal democracies as where they want to go. Immigrants arent risking the oceans to get to China.

I have faith in our institutions. I dont know what you are referring to as 'struggle sessions'. It is some type of inference about something you dont know. Our biggest threat is those who have a disdain for democracy because they are so aggrieved that they dont always get their way.

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You will find a good introduction to 'struggle sessions' over at 'Get Ready for the Struggle Session' (https://www.wsj.com/articles/get-ready-for-the-struggle-session-11552003346). As for immigrants. They (some of them) are attracted to weak countries, with extensive welfare states. They (some of them) are attracted to countries where they can exploit PC for personal benefit.

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We are now reconsidering mass incarceration? How? You mean stricter law against chronic shoplifting. That is just enforcing the law. I have heard nothing about suspending due process and no court would countenance that.

I dont pretend to understand El Salvador, but it is not the United States and they may need to do what they do for survival.

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Livi, the great ancient historian, wrote that when certain problems could not be solved by the Senate and Tribunes of the Roman Republic (before the Caesars), they assigned (usually)an elite to be dictator for 6 months and get the job done. I find this ingenious.

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