Will the Facebook Revolution Spread to China? Part 2--Credentialism
Today, everyone has credentials. Things are not visibly better, but the experts have credentials to explain the problems they were not able to foresee, to prevent, or to fix.
Much of that comes from what is easily discernible: much of what they write is descriptive and not prescriptive. Why do they write it? As Samuel Johnson once said, "None but a blockhead writes except for money."
Now, why talk about credentials? It is a follow up to my monograph entitled "Distortions of graphic proportions." The posting includes a bar graph that purports to show how images are used to distort the facts. This monograph will explain how the exclusion of some facts is used to distort others.
Case in point.
The pundits (experts) have said that what happened in Egypt could happen in China. They said that the Chinese government is worried. Other experts pointed out that the difference in the per capita income between China and Egypt made a Facebook revolution unlikely. Then came the unpleasant situation in Bahrain.
Now the experts are saying that the high per capita income in Bahrain repudiates those who said a Facebook revolution in China is unlikely. Their reasoning? The per capita income in Bahrain. And that is where the substance of their reasoned argument ends.
First of all, consensus among the pundits is that in Bahrain you have a majority group living in a nation governed by a minority group. To put that in U.S. terms: Imagine a nation where 8 million Methodists are governed by 2 Million Lutherans.
This situation does not exist in China. The Chinese people are Chinese. Full stop.
Second, you have the type of money as well as the amount of money to consider. Here is a metaphor.
Pretend I own a 10-unit apartment building in a modest community. I rent each out for $500 a month. I live in one of the units. I make $4,500 a month. Pretend you are an architect. You get hired by a development company to gentrify my community. My property goes up in value. I now rent out my apartments for $1,500 a month. In addition, I moved into one of the fancy new apartment buildings. I now receive $15,000 a month in income. I pay $3,000 a month rent
in an upscale building and receive $12,000 a month in income.
You, however, as an architect earn about $80,000 a year. You are not satisfied with your earnings. You decide to renegotiate your contract. While that is happening, you are not working. While you are not working, 100 bricklayers are not working. If they don't work, they don't eat.
The owner of the building has two choices. Fire you and put 100 bricklayers back to work, or negotiate with you while 100 bricklayers have nothing to do and nothing to eat. Guess what? You lose your job.
You make an income by doing what you do. I make an income by what I own. I make an increased income by what you do. If you stop doing your job, my income stagnates but the bricklayers' income ceases.
Now, let's go to China. China's wealth arises from the efforts of the Chinese people. The Chinese people make a higher per capita income than the Egyptian people. The Chinese people make a higher per capita income by the way the Chinese people earn their income.
Back to my apartment building. If we assume that I have a history of being my own superintendent; mowing the lawn, fixing leaky faucets, vacuuming the carpets, polishing the floor in the lobby, I can cut my operating expenses and increase my earnings. However, when the value of my building goes up, I can hire a superintendent to do the work for me. I can still make an increased income. You, as an architect, must continue to be an architect to continue earning a living.
Will the Facebook revolution extend to China? Probably not. The question of per capita income is only a part of the consideration. The source of the income is also a consideration. The demographics are a third consideration.
Copyright (c) 2011 Slim Fairview