Is Yang Free and American and Not Chinese enough?

Been busy for a few weeks, so I m still making my way through the war on normal people by 2020 presidential hopeful Andrew Yang. Although his prospects dim as president Trump succeeds in North Korea negotiations, his arguments are still very refreshing.

The one thing I wonder, in the zealous disclosure of all these cool economic data and progressive thoughts on how the govenrment should help its people pursue happiness, I feel that in order for this to work, he has to explain the American freedoms of his system. In essence an America UBI imposes a financial action on each person to contribute to other Americans or companies. Some could argue that this deprives them of a freedom to not spend money that way.

I really love his idea for more wholestic medicine valuing quality over quantity. This definitely has roots in Chinese culture and teachings. Once Chinese, one never free one’s self of the feeling that the whole needs more servicing than it gets and the parts less. But it would seem to be a common complaint against thst philosophy that lacking money driven competition, healthcare just cannot be as good as it is today because there wouldn’t be as many people trying as hard to do better than other people. In some sense, people can argue that his idea for reformed medical system is unamerican. Fuethermore it is unrealistic in 2020. But let it be said that I do think human health is a basic human right worthy of national protection, possibly more so than speech, press, assembly, religion, politics, property and money.

I think he will need to publish more books to explain what is planned for the 2020 term.

The Amerian exchange program or citizenship trip he proposes is a horrifying idea: all graduating highschool seniors are scheduled to go on a trip to take part in other parts of America. So… Lets see as recent as the 2010’s Taiwan had a “national” draft that forces every capable man(i.e. highschool grads) to take part in military. So, most Taiwanese man(by “citizenship”) you meet for the next decade, probably all served in Taiwanese millitary for 1-2 years. Indeed, this is well known in the US as its famed computer scientist Fenghsiung Hsu, maker of DeepBlue which beat human champion in chess, mentioned that he felt liberated to have, at begining of his computer career, come to study at Carnegie Mellon University from a very boring Taiwan draft. Yang’s dad probably had to take part in it too… or not since he seems of a borderline age when Taiwan wasn’t a thing yet.

Thats not the scary part. The sending school-aged kids to an unfamiliar environment so they can learn about fellow citizens was actually a fate suffered by many PRC Chinese. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Communist China engineered a social movement called 上山下乡,according to wikipedia, to:

decrease difference between industry and agriculture, rural and urban, and physical and mental laborers. All educated kids we sent away from home to live in the worst and most unfamiliar places they could find.

This, btw, is one of the reasons why Chinese think China is still very ver behind other countries in technology and science, their youths were sent to waste time and many died of malnutrition or other dangers. In any case, Yang’s proposal sounds eerily similar in means and ends to PRC’s 上山下乡 movment. Maybe he shares some Hunan ancestry with Mao?

Of course, it is en vogue to copy PRC China. For one example, silicon valley have in recent years adopted this word of a “lead” to mean a role in a company that demands more responsibility and more expertise and of course more political alignment. A non-lead, is a less responsible and lesser expert and may question the plan more than their leads. This in particular is not a word used else where until perhapd very recently replacing or superseding words like “manager”, “director”, “partner”, “president”, and “executive”. Or modifiers like “special agent in charge,” “managing partner,” “lead investigator.” I guess if you search the IMDb you may find a “situation lead” in military context where it is used as a noun. What happened to a good old American title like “boss,” “chief,” “honcho,” or “jefe?” But the “lead” concept is the foundamental management role in PRC China since its early days mid last century. They have roles called 领导,literally “lead and guide”. While there are still leveling, to be a 领导, very much demands political alignment and responsibility, and in particular more than those that you lead. So, it would appear, at least superficially, that copying communist PRC isn’t a real deal breaker. (Even if it was copied from military origins in America, it has been the public knowledge and concern that many of the the hugely successful Chinese enterprises that grew from startup were run by ex-military persons possibly using skills they acquired in the military)

Good effort so far, lets see if the third half of the book is any better in these aspects.

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