American hedonism closes its eyes to death, and has been
incapable of exorcising the destructive power of the moment
with a wisdom like that of the Epicureans of antiquity.

- Octavio Paz
Death is un-American, and an affront to every citizen's inalienable
right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

- Arnold Toynbee
"As long as such self-serving hypocrisy
motivates America's response, Ukraine will
only sink further into needless bloodshed,
and that blood will be on America's head."
In America everybody is of the opinion that he has no social superiors,
since all men are equal, but he does not admit that he has no social inferiors,
for, from the time of Jefferson onward, the doctrine that all men are equal
applies only upwards, not downwards.

― Bertrand Russell
Global Coke
Global Coke
"What those 'racists' are reflexively and rightly reacting
to is the soulless chill as the fire goes out beneath the
melting pot. Those who think America can thrive as a
'cultural mosaic' are worse than fools; they're Canadians."

Global Coke
Two centuries ago, a former European colony decided to catch up with Europe.
It succeeded so well that the United States of America became a monster,
in which the taints, the sickness and the inhumanity of Europe
have grown to appalling dimensions.

― Frantz Fanon
What the United States does best is understand itself.
What it does worst is understand others.

- Carlos Fuentes
Poor Mexico, so far from God
and so close to the United States.

- Porfirio Diaz
"Indeed, everything about the American southland was magical
and exotic to the young Canadian musicians, from the sights
and smells to the drawling manner of speech to, especially, the
central role that music played in people’s everyday lives."

America is a mistake, a giant mistake.
- Sigmund Freud
America is an adorable woman chewing tobacco.
- Auguste Bartholdi
"This is the tone of the China Century, a subtle
mix of Nazi/Soviet bravado and 'oriental'
cunning -- easily misunderstood, and
heard before, in a real enemy, by the West."

Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
"And for the others who argued for English-only
patriotism, I note that there are more than
57 million Americans (about 20% of the nation)
whose first-language is not English...."

Coke and 'America the Beautiful'
"This is the behavior, and the fate, of paranoid
old-world tyrants like Hitler or Saddam, not liberal new-world democracies like America pretends to be."

America is the only nation in history which
miraculously has gone directly from barbarism to
degeneration without the usual interval of civilization.

- Georges Clemenceau
I found there a country with thirty-two religions and only one sauce.
- Charles–Maurice Talleyrand
A people who are still, as it were, but in the gristle,
and not yet hardened into the bone of manhood.

- Edmund Burke
America is the only country ever founded on the printed word.
- Marshall McLuhan
"The removal of racist sports nicknames (and mascots) seems outrageously belated
-- why, exactly, has this civil rights cause
taken so long to gain momentum?"

The atom bomb is a paper tiger which the
United States reactionaries use to scare people.
It looks terrible, but in fact it isn't.

- Mao Tse-tung
They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but
they kept only one; they promised to take our land, and they did.

- Red Cloud
In America sex is an obsession,
in other parts of the world it is a fact.

- Marlene Dietrich
I would rather have a nod from an American,
than a snuff-box from an emperor.

- Lord Byron
One day the United States discovered it was an empire.
But it didn’t know what an empire was.
It thought that an empire was merely the biggest of all corporations.

- Roberto Calasso
Americans are so enamored of equality, they would rather
be equal in slavery than unequal in freedom.

- Alexis de Tocqueville
"No one, I thought, could watch those scenes, of young children slaughtered en masse, and so many parents grieving, without thinking that this, finally, would tip some kind of balance in the country."
If you are prepared to accept the consequences of your dreams
then you must still regard America today with the same naive
enthusiasm as the generations that discovered the New World.

- Jean Baudrillard
I am willing to love all mankind, except an American.
- Samuel Johnson
America, thou half brother of the world;
With something good and bad of every land.

- Philip Bailey
"What can be more powerful than disinformation in the Information Age?"
England and America are two countries separated by the same language.
- Sir Walter Besant
Christopher Columbus, as everyone knows, is honored by
posterity because he was the last to discover America.

- James Joyce
Now, from America, empty indifferent things
are pouring across, sham things, dummy life.

- Rainer Maria Rilke
If the United States is to recover fortitude and lucidity,
it must recover itself, and to recover itself it must
recover the "others"- the outcasts of the Western world.
- Octavio Paz
The youth of America is their oldest tradition.
It has been going on now for three hundred years.

- Oscar Wilde
"America really is, for most Americans, all things considered, a good place to be, and all they really want is for everyone to enjoy the same privilege and pleasure."
When good Americans die they go to Paris;
when bad Americans die they go to America.

- Oscar Wilde
jobs drug dealer
jobs drug dealer
They're nothing more than traffickers; and as the smart traffickers'll tell you, you don't use the merchandise. They are just inoculating their kids with a tech-drug serum, to immunize them against the very merchandise that put the **** bowling alley in their basement.
jobs drug dealer
America is therefore the land of the future, where, in the ages that
lie before us, the burden of the World's History shall reveal itself.

- Georg Friedrich Hegel
America is a large, friendly dog in a very small room.
Every time it wags its tail, it knocks over a chair.

- Arnold Toynbee
Americans always try to do the right thing after they've tried everything else.
- Winston Churchill
The thing that impresses me most about Americans
is the way parents obey their children.

- Edward, Duke of Windsor
Americans are apt to be unduly interested in discovering
what average opinion believes average opinion to be.

- John Maynard Keynes
Europe was created by history.
America was created by philosophy.

- Margaret Thatcher
America is God's crucible, the great Melting-Pot where all the races of
Europe are melting and reforming!... The real American has not yet arrived.
He is only in the crucible, I tell you - he will be the fusion of all races.

- Israel Zangwill
American dreams are strongest in the hearts of those
who have seen America only in their dreams.

- Pico Iyer
America: It's like Britain, only with buttons.
- Ringo Starr
The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.
It has never yet melted.

― D.H. Lawrence
I have two conflicting visions of America.
One is a kind of dream landscape and the other is a kind of black comedy.

― Bono
The American mirror, said the voice, the sad American mirror
of wealth and poverty and constant useless metamorphosis,
the mirror that sails and whose sails are pain.

― Roberto Bolaño

April 24, 2024


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Author Topic: China Doesnt Innovate

Wyatt Dick
Veteran Their American
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China Doesnt Innovate
on: May 29, 2014, 00:41

"Vice President Joe Biden blasted China on Wednesday in a speech about foreign policy, arguing the country hasn't produced anything innovative.

'China-and it's true - is graduating six to eight times as many scientists and engineers as we have. But I challenge you, name me one innovative project, one innovative change, one innovative product that has come out of China,' the vice president said forcefully."

If I am being generous, I'll imagine that Biden doesn't actually believe what he is saying, or more, what he is implying, and is simply trying to manipulate the uninformed voter for political gain. That's bad enough for what it says about the current level of sophistication in American political discourse. If he actually believes all of the implications of his latest speech, then America has a serious problem with the political intelligence of it's leadership.

The obvious implication of Biden's words is that despite China's gains, America has some kind of inherent, unassailable long-term advantage with regards to innovation. And long-term is the key here. Despite China's growing aggregate economic power, it still remains a developing country far behind the US in terms of per capita wealth and development levels. But it is growing fast. Of course Chinese innovation levels cannot currently compare to America's. However, that is not really the point. Neither can it's military power. But China's neighbors don't fear the China of today so much as the China of tomorrow. And economic competitors should be taking a similar view.

Moreover, China is well aware of it's shortcomings with regards to innovation, and is taking steps to address the deficiency. Furthermore, Chinese thinking with regards to its innovation deficit is much more nuanced than Biden, who magically ascribes it all to a lack of--you guessed it--freedom. The Chinese are open to the possibility that its innovation deficit is a product of many factors, including genetics, culture, a still nascent and underdeveloped tertiary education system, and also its authoritarian form of governance. It's also quite possible that, to a large extent, it is still more beneficial for Chinese firms to focus on catching up and copying existing technology than trying to play with the big boys on the bleeding edge--for now.

Finally, it remains unclear to me exactly how important innovation is to national power. These days, information and ideas quickly transcend national boundaries. And the innovating firms have transnational structures. Take the iPhone as an example. Certainly it was better for America than the phone was developed in America by an American company, as compared to the alternative of it having been created in China or India. Nonetheless, much of the profit resulting from the creation of the smartphone seems to have been quickly shared with the world. Despite intellectual property laws, companies in other nations such as Korea's Samsung were quickly able to reproduce the technology, and even market it for profit. Most of the production for the iPhone's components was done in Asia. And the profits Apple made on the phone are dispersed globally. Apple is currently using clever accounting and legal maneuvers to hide tens of billions of dollars of profit overseas, and the company has no intention of repatriating the cash due to high US corporate tax rates. It would rather book the profits in lower-tax countries. Finally, despite being registered in America, there is no guarantee that in the future the ownership (and thus the ultimate destination for much of the profit) of a company like Apple has to remain principally American.

It's a changing world. Banking on the fact that China's lack of innovation relative to the US is a permanent, immutable fact is dangerous. Furthermore, the accepted wisdom that states that innovation is the key to future national power seems to be a bit simplistic given the globalized nature of new ideas and technology. Certainly it matters, but does it matter more than an advanced and efficient infrastructure or an educated workforce with a culture of thrift and hard work? Ideas and new technologies can be copied--or even stolen. And they transcend the boundaries of a nation-state, both geographically and with respect to a government's ability to ensure its share of the profits from a new invention. Infrastructure and workers do not.

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Re: China Doesnt Innovate
on: May 29, 2014, 04:38

I don't see the longer quote or context, Wyatt, but I also don't see 'unassailable', 'immutable', 'long-term', etc., in what is here. He seems to be pretty focused on the here and now and recent past, and on pretty firm ground, to me.
And I think his scope is both larger and smaller than you seem to give it credit for, in some ways.
Larger because he is including products, projects, and change itself, as forms of 'innovation', not just devices, or even technologies. This may include ideas even, concepts, dreams, visions, ways and modes of life, everything that in-novates.
Smaller because he is careful to focus on the precise vector of innovation, whereas you are speaking cloud-talk. It's what comes out--what comes out of America, let us say what smells American, that he is talking about.
And you can globalize this and transcend that, reproduce this and share that, but if this and that have the unmistakable and ineradicable smell of America, then they will be, and always remain, American innovations.

Wyatt Dick
Veteran Their American
Posts: 42
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Re: China Doesnt Innovate
on: May 29, 2014, 07:30


It's possible I've gotten the wrong read on Biden here. But I've been pretty immersed in these types of conversations lately, and I think you may be giving old Joe a bit too much credit. I've only got the CNN article to go off of as well, but a couple of bits from it suggest that Joe's intentions were a lot more conventional than the much subtler and more interesting points you have made.
According to the article, Biden brings up China's lack of innovation in response to the suggestion that the larger number of Chinese engineering graduates is another nail in the coffin for American preeminence. Biden also reminded the Air Force Academy graduates of how Japan failed to knock America off its perch. This is pretty standard fare for those arguing that China won't eclipse America in national power. And I think Joe (and the rest) have a fairly vanilla conception of 'national power'. The idea, that I am extrapolating from you here (perhaps mistakenly), that 'America' as a concept could lose the battle but win the war by remaking its enemy in its own image is pretty foreign to most. And likely unpalatable even in the event it did occur to them. Do you think most American politicians would be okay with the idea that in the world of the mid-21st Century, Chinese GDP and military power exceeded America's, but it was all good 'cause they had become just like us?

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Re: China Doesnt Innovate
on: December 27, 2017, 11:29

I think Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee in 2020 and his conventional thinking that Wyatt points out is exactly what he will deliver. The United States will pivot away from Trump's isolationism and antagonism toward China, but it will remain in love with the idea that the 'land of opportunity' must be 'a city upon a hill' and the leader of the free world. Making China into a version of America will not be enough. USA must remain on top.

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