Sunday, June 8, 2014

Is China More or Less Capitalist Than the US?

David Friedman asks the question and answers it after a visit to Shanghai:
So far as Shanghai is concerned, my guess is less in theory but more in practice. I was told that there are regulations on who can cut hair or sell food out of a cart on the street but they are not enforced very energetically and can be dealt with if necessary by a modest bribe to the policeman who is supposed to enforce them.


  1. I wish I lucky enough to live where "corrupt" cops roamed the streets.

    "Yeah officer you do smell booze on my breath. I haven't hurt anyone, here is $100. Now fuck off and let me go"

  2. "The common law makes a vital distinction between a crime that is a malum in se and one that is merely a malum prohibitum. A malum in se is an act which the mass of the people instinctively feel is a reprehensible crime which should be punished. This coincides roughly with the libertarian's [p. 113] definition of a crime as an invasion of person or property: assault, theft, and murder. Other crimes are activities made into crimes by government edict: it is in this far more widely tolerated area that police corruption occurs." - Murray Rothbard

    The culture of corruption is never good, it might progressively evolve into all sorts draconian territories. Selective enforcement of laws can be used as a means to cull competition, also disrespect for bad laws eventually transforms into a disrespect for all the laws, even the good ones.

    Social institutions evolve because of various inherent dynamics, freedom will lead to learning and to subsequent discovery of novel methods to wield the same old tools/rules. Before it gets out of hand they should repeal unnecessary laws.

    1. Nonsense. Society would never devolve to the point where murder is acceptable.

      Disrepecting authority is healthy. We need more of it.

    2. Nonsense. Could devolve to that point, would devolve to that point, has devolved to that point, and is devolved currently to that point at numerous places worldwide. Tell me, do you ever read history, archeology, or newspapers?

  3. It's practically impossible to get a speeding ticket there too. The State only concerns itself with the big things and couldn't care less what happens on the street.

  4. I have lived there twice. Most recently 2013. I never got fondled or irradiated in an airport. In Guilin airport I leave my wallet in the plastic tray at the security check point. I walk all the way to the gate before I realize it is missing. I return to security expecting to see nothing but shrugged shoulders, as it had several hundred USDs in it. The supervisor promptly returned it with cash in tact.

    Guilin, is in the south, Guang Xi province. Cash is king there. I have seen a businessman leave the Bank of China with estimated 100,000 yuan rmb in a plastic grocery sack -- no escort, no security.

    It costs about $50 in government fees to open a small business there. A shopper has a choice of tens of thousands of them in this city of 5.5 million people (modest to small by Chinese standards). In the neighborhood outdoor markets, no health department bitches and no permits required.

    Almost never saw a cop (working). Only petty theft; no violent crime of any sort. They can't drive worth a damn and everyone is honking, but nobody is listening.

  5. "There are two symmetrical forms of barbarism: peoples who have nothing but customs and peoples who respect nothing but laws."

    -Nicolás Gómez Dávila