Eventually Chinese Will Replace English As International Language

The US empire is slowly sinking in the West and the sun of China is rising in the East.  This is the winter of our discontent and we will give our kingdom for a horse, I suppose.  Anyway, Chinese is the major language being studied in American schools these days. A warning sign.  And Obama attacks the entire gnome community so they are going nuts, selling and running away.  Another day in a dying empire, I suppose.


Foreign Languages Fade in Class — Except Chinese: All imperial ages are easily recognized by what language the elites use universally to communicate on the international stage.  Each time some empire struts and frets on the stage of History, they get to do this in their native tongue for about 300-500 years.  Then if quickly fades away and a new tongue hails a new age and life goes on.  For example, if you watch the wonderful movie made in the Soviet Union, ‘Tolstoy’s War and Peace’, all the parts Tolstoy wrote in French in his great novel are played out in French in the movie:

When Tolstoy wrote ‘War and Peace’, his readers in Russia could read through the French parts and indeed, could do this easier than the Russian parts.  Indeed, Russian was used for communicating with peasants and lower orders of people or the Church.  But the elites wrote and talked in French.  Tolstoy made a big deal about this because he was a nationalist and was against the use of French for elevated conversations about science or politics.


The same revolution happened in Germany at the same time as Germany, like Russia, grew more nationalist after Napoleon’s great defeat.  Even though the French Empire continued to expand in Asia and Africa, the expansion in Europe ceased after Napoleon.  Instead, France struggled to shove off a resurgent Germany and fell again and again as German troops goose stepped on France’s neck. Finally breaking it for good.  Now, no one uses French for international discussions.


England took over this function beginning with the conquest of India.  By 1850, the English, who defeated Napoleon, dominated so greatly that English rapidly displaced French as the Lingua Franca of international use.  The US victories in WWI and WWII took over this process and English became nearly universally the language of international commerce, ditto, the currencies issued by the English speaking world powers.


By 2050, the reign of English will end and China will take over.  The yuan will also be used to settle international accounts, too.  Since well over a billion people already use Chinese, this is a huge part of the human population so I would not be shocked at all to see it take over.  But do not fear!  We can learn Chinese just like the barbarians of Europe learned Latin!

When Caesar Augustus made his first speech in the Senate, he spoke in Latin but when he did business with the Empire, he did it in Greek.  And the letters sent out by the rulers in Rome always had to have Greek letters too because from 500 BC to 150 BC, the Greek empires of Athens/Sparta and then Alexander the Great colonized Italy and this is why nearly all things ‘Italian’ are extremely Greek in architecture, science, learning, music, and even the gods.  The Romans had their own cultural aspects but for a long, long time, they had to do things the Greek way.

Back when my father and father-in-law studied chemistry or astronomy, they had to learn German.  It wasn’t optional, it was required if you wanted a Phd.  Today, no one has to learn German to advance in the sciences.  During the Middle Ages all the way until the French language took over in the 17th century, all learning had to be in Latin.  Due to no one leading the way as the attempts at building a Holy Roman Empire always crashed and burned, everyone stuck to Latin for the international language and the Church, before it split asunder in 1495, used Latin for all internal and external communications so Latin enjoyed a much longer reign on the European stage due to this strange set up. But generally speaking, reigns last less about only 300 years or less.


Obama Seen as Anti-Business by 77% of U.S. Investors (Update1) – Bloomberg.com

The global quarterly poll of investors and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers finds that 77 percent of U.S. respondents believe Obama is too anti-business and four-out-of-five are only somewhat confident or not confident of his ability to handle a financial emergency.


The GOP was all business from 1922-the Great Depression.  Being pro-business usually leads to complete collapse.  This is a hard pill for many to swallow. The people who are poorest at gaging ‘what is good’ are business people.  Far from being great leaders, they are terrible leaders.  Why is this?


Well….(clearing my throat)….they hate Libra.  They all believe they can make something grow forever to infinity.  They are very addicted to infinity systems.  They have to be forced to balance their books and restraints on doing things have to be imposed from the outside.  If there are no restraints, they run riot.  They don’t care if they destroy the entire universe if it can line their own pockets.  Greed is infinite.  And the best way to protect wealth is to be very restrained.


Just like protecting one’s health means being restrained.  Let me give a bizarre example from Ancient Greece and Rome: the Greeks believed in the Body Beautiful and the concept of the ‘nude’ comes from them.  Nudes are a noble thing but only if the nude human is healthy, strong and a total hunk.  The Greek culture was probably the most ‘male gay’ culture on earth and they openly celebrated gay sex.  The most stunning naked statues on earth were carved by Greek artists from 400-200 BC.


The Greeks believed that one should exercise in the buff and clean oneself a lot and wear very simple but well-draped robes and to eat with great restraint and discuss politics and arts and science at the dinner table.  One was not supposed to get drunk, either.  Indeed, the Golden Mean wasn’t merely a scientific or geometrical concept, it was all about Libra as represented by Athena.


The ancient Romans wanted this Greek restraint but the minute they won their war with Athens and Sulla seized the city and enslaved Greece, the ability to restrain appetites collapsed in less than 50 years.  The buff, strong, hard, restrained Romans became the infamous Roman Empire of legend: drunk, gorging on food and lazy.  And the bathing turned into lulling around pools, goofing off while slaves did all the hard work.  The rot set in instantly.


The Romans decided ‘greed is good’ but to look like the ancient Greeks, they came up with the idea of gorging and then throwing up the excess food!  Gah.  By the way, bulimia is a major problem for fashionable people.  So is injecting ‘speed’ so one can do as one pleases while not looking obese while obesity has spread like a plague.


Obesity is a cultural symptom that shows us clearly, we all have unrestrained appetites and our desire to consume anything to infinity is a very powerful force inside our own brains.  The yawning chasm of the Cave of Wealth and Death is part of our mental processes.  So whenever anyone suggests that bankers and investors show any restraints at all, they howl with rage since their ‘blood is up’ and they want more, more and even more of whatever it is they have latched onto at any given time.


Senate Dems Not Sure They Can Get Enough Votes to Reconfirm Bernanke – Political Punch

The White House did not respond to many requests for comment. “The American people are disgusted with the greed and recklessness of Wall Street,” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said in an interview with The Associated Press last month. “People are asking, ‘Why didn’t the Fed intervene at the appropriate time to stop the casino-type activities of large financial companies?'” Sanders, Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Sen. David Vitter, R-La., have all put holds on Bernanke’s nomination, requiring 60 votes to proceed to a vote.


Since Obama has resumed listening to Mr. Restrain The Greed Volcker, he should now announce that he is sick and tired of Helicopter Bernanke and dump the chump.  Obama might even figure out that if you are going to be daring, be daring all the way.  He is doomed, anyway.  So he may as well go down fighting, not wimp out.  I love Bernie Sanders like I love Ron Paul and Kucinich: he stands for something.  The mushy middle in this case, is not good since it is predicated on an infinity system where the future doesn’t matter and overspending and over privatizing is going to end badly.  We must balance all things: the national budget and our trade deficit.


And I know that Bernie will really filibuster if he must!  And I wish he would be forced into doing this.  I would suggest to him, he read all the Pentagon funding bills, item by item.  That will take up a few weeks.


Goldman Sachs Said to Shut Global Equity Opportunities Fund After Losses:  See?  The dreams are still crashing to the floor even as GS got much, much richer, being bailed out and playing the bail out game, getting 100% on all losses. And then selling the government debts that were rung up bailing out GS.  Hang them all.


Obama: I Misjudged the Will for Mideast Peace — News from Antiwar.com

“This is just really hard,” Obama admitted, “even for a guy like George Mitchell.” The president had suggested when he took office that the time was right for a two-state solution and that it would be a relatively simple matter to get the move started.


Despite brimming with confidence, the administration spent the summer pressuring Israel to freeze settlement expansion, only to give up in August amid growing political pressure. (AIPAC owns Congress) This led to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu agreeing to restart the peace talks, but only so long as the Palestinians abandoned every single demand they had.


Like a festering sore that bleeds puss and blood all over everything, this continues forever.  The Jewish community has amassed great wealth and power and a great deal of this is aimed at another destructive attempt at building an empire at a major crossroads.  Surrounded by many millions of people who hate them for this, they persist.  And will until the bitter end.  This is the saddest story of History I can think of: the pure futility of this process is obvious, over and over again.  But it persists.  Obama can’t fix what is wrong there and should fire his Mossad boss, Rahm, and hire someone who knows how to kick, not kiss ass in Congress.


I would seriously suggest Obama hire Ron Paul for this job.  Of course, our government would cease to function for a while but this would be salutary  in this case.  We need to stop a minute and have a true ideological battle and to mix up the lines this way would motivate people to think outside of the strict limits they self-imposed.  That is, we need to do even seemingly ‘insane’ things to jolt the political process back into something new, not the status quo. The status quo is killing us.


From the Jerusalem Post:  Hamas ready to cancel charter, senior member says | Middle East

Some consider Dwaik, as speaker of the PLC, to be the acting president of the Palestinian Authority, since Mahmoud Abbas’s term officially expired on January 9. Dwaik himself has said that he is content to let Abbas continue in office until the election that is now scheduled for June 28, 2010…


…His latest remarks were made during a meeting he held in Hebron with British millionaire David Martin Abrahams, who maintains close ties with senior Israeli and British government officials.


Abrahams is scheduled to brief British Foreign Secretary David Milliband this weekend on the outcome of his meeting with Dwaik and other top Hamas officials in the West Bank…..


…”I recently published an article in the Jewish Chronicle to test the temperature of the water within the Jewish community about Hamas,” he said. “I found a lot of support among Jews for dealing with Hamas and I was pleasantly surprised.”


Denying that he had delivered any message from the British government or the EU leadership to Hamas, Abrahams said he was convinced more than ever that the movement posed no threat to the US. “Hamas is different from al-Qaida,” he said. “Hamas is no threat to Western interests.”


And rich Jews are trying very hard to make this particular camel go through this very ugly needle.  The desperate ghetto Palestinians want to get out of the ghetto.  They will even surrender.  This surrender won’t be friendly, it is a tactic.  Since they have been brutalized beyond belief, the core inside of each breast there hungers for one thing only: to see the Jews destroyed forever.  This is not a prescription for future harmony and happiness but rather, a black cloud on the horizon that will blow up into a huge storm very quickly.


The Jewish attempts at destroying free speech in Europe have been very successful and now, the Muslims are doing the same and it is impossible to criticize either competing religion in Europe: you go to jail.  Resentment of this is rising and since no one dares talk about it openly, it will also suddenly erupt in tremendous force in the future.  And will shock everyone, of course.  But there it is: suppression is dangerous if it is unpopular.


Stopping the rich investment houses from getting even richer is politically popular right now since these guys are NOT sharing the wealth.  Anyone who ‘shares the wealth’ becomes very popular, very fast when things are too unbalanced.  This is true of ethnic populations, too.  The need for social harmony are quite different from triumphalism or military impositions.  For example, the US which is going bankrupt, is thinking of buying out the Taliban so they leave us alone.  HAHAHA.  No one wants to buy out the Palestinians since they would use the money to arm themselves.  Of course.


Haiti aid agencies accused of ‘jostling for position’ | World news | guardian.co.uk

In a caustic editorial today, the respected medical journal, the Lancet, attacked the way charities and other non-governmental organisations have clamoured for attention in the wake of the disaster. “NGOs are rightly mobilising, but also jostling for position, each claiming that they are doing the most for earthquake survivors,” it said


Most NGOs are vultures.  They see a big media circus descend on a crisis and then they fly in to tend to the corpses.  In Indonesia, the government shooed them off after the Great Boxing Day Quake.  China will not allow them in.  Even the US won’t let foreigners to come in to save us since this is an immense black eye for any sovereign nation.  Haiti isn’t really a sovereign nation, not since the US took over control of Haiti’s sovereignty.  So a screaming mob of ‘rescuers’ come pouring in…HOPING FOR MEDIA ATTENTION and thus, a flood of donations to flow to themselves.


I would suggest that if the flood of money were to be given directly to the Haitian people, they would use it in their own way.  For example, if they don’t want to spend it on hospitals, they won’t.  If they don’t care if they, themselves, die, this is their own choice.  Heavens, we don’t care if we become fatally obese!  Or die of bulimia.  Far from wanting to survive, many humans like courting death.  Look at how we amuse ourselves!


The charities are more interested in funding THEMSELVES which is why they restlessly prowl about, seeking opportunities.  But saving the People is a government’s job.  Despite elevating ‘charity’ as a means of social reconstruction, it is the opposite: government interventions are the key to saving populations.  This is a bitter pill for anti-govenrment people to swallow.  Imagining that kindness will save the day is romantic.  But as a person who has had to take the hard knocks of life directly, I assure everyone that personal charity goes a very short distance.  And has many strings attached.


And of course, the state can be wrong.  A lot.  And this is why we want ‘democracy’ and not autocracy.  But fighting for democratic power is hard work, of course.  Anyway, another example where public opinion and cynical politics intersect:


Gitmo detainees to be held, not tried and Senator McCain: Wrong to Give Nigerian Bomb Suspect Civilian Rights |

McCain told CNN Sunday that giving the man the right to an American lawyer that could help him legally withhold damaging information is a contradiction to the president’s view that America is at war with terrorists.


These two stories show the erosion of liberty which our empire exercises.  We can have full civil rights and fight a ‘war on terror’ which happens to be mobs of angry Muslims pissed off at us invading them and mistreating them!  Duh!  We give them their sovereignty and this emphatically includes the Palestinian majority in the Holy Land…and cease this stupid crusade!  Of course, the ‘terrorists’ have civil rights!  McCain wants to torture them!!!  HE was tortured by the Vietnamese and said this was evil but that was back then and involved himself suffering.  But torturing Muslims is OK.


And this is very Roman: the torture of the slaves rapidly spread through society until the Emperors tortured and killed the Senators.  And guess what?  This was VERY, VERY popular in Rome!  I can’t say how popular!  Wow.  The slaves were not freed but they immensely enjoyed seeing their own masters butcher each other like rabid dogs.  For example, to raise money for imperial wars, several emperors had Senators and rich Romans commit suicide after willing the Emperor with half of their wealth.  The deal was, their children would not be enslaved!


HAHAHA.  Any society that gives up on human rights ends this way.  The Goldman Sachs billionaires will be fleeced the exact same way the Roman rich were chopped up and trust me, the mobs will love this, every minute of this.  But then, in the US, there are millions of people who long for the good old days of slavery and hate the Union for stopping the enslavement of blacks.  We are very much like ancient Rome.  But we are a Rome about to be swallowed up by a new, rising imperial power.  We don’t have 1,000 years to strut and fret on the world stage.

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33 responses to “Eventually Chinese Will Replace English As International Language

  1. flipspiceland

    “..The Greek culture was probably the most ‘male gay’ culture on earth and they openly celebrated gay sex.”

    And for the last umpteen years Greece has been on the down low to the point where it is now soft, decrepit, lazy, and on its way to bankruptcy.

    Correlation, causation?


    ELAINE: The ‘gay’ culture of Athens died eons ago. And Greece isn’t any more ‘lazy’ than say, Tennessee.

  2. Jim Dandy

    the bankers have all of the free “capital” at this point which is the end game.

    What possible incentive would they have to disgorge these funds after all of there plotting and scheming?

    Americans have shown themselves to be the new romans…lazy, self indulgent and in many cases stupid beyond belief. Don’t think the bankers and others controlling the wealth don’t know this.

    The illusion of free people in a free society effecting any type of meaningful change is silly.

  3. Gus

    GS had bomb sniffing dogs
    and police barricades
    for the day they announced
    earnings. LOL


  4. melponeme_k

    Yes, the Chinese language will become the dominant language to do business in.

    But which dialect to learn? There are so many.


    ELAINE: Mandarin.

  5. CK

    On the good news front, those wily supremes said that corporations could not be restricted in the amount of fiat currency they spend on electioneering.
    Good news indeed for Unions, ACLU, CommonCause and other single interest/special interest groups.
    The spending lamp is lit. The more money, the more noise and the more infotainment in every election. The internal fallacies and contradictions of democracy show more and more.

  6. Patrick

    I completely disagree that Chinese will become the dominant world language. China doesn’t strike me as a nation interested in steamrolling other cultures. They are opportunists. (No BS… just get ‘er done.)

    Anyone who’s high up the corporate ladder in China speaks English.

    Now I CAN picture a world in which more US corporate executives learn Chinese. If that’s what you’re getting at.

    No doubt there will be a need for Americans to appreciate and respect the Eastern culture…

    But I honestly can’t see (most of) our Senators and Business leaders all scrambling to learn Chinese.

    Case in point. With the growing Hispanic population in the USA, you’d think more of our Congressmen would be fluent in Spanish. But they’re not… and Spanish is eons easier to learn than Chinese. They have a vested political interest in speaking Spanish… but they still don’t/can’t figure it out.


    ELAINE: This is because the Spanish speaking population is mostly the servile class. The Chinese are our BANKERS and they basically own us so they can force us to learn Chinese and eventually, will do this because right now, they learn English just like the Russians learned French 200 years ago but when they are on top, the tables reverse. We must learn Chinese because they can talk behind our backs in front of us. That is, we are clueless when they chat with each other while they understand every word we say and the will and do use this against us.

  7. WNC Observer

    It could be argued that Arabic supplanted Latin as the dominant world language from the 7th century up to the Renaissance. Yes, Latin hung on in Western Europe, but Europe was very much a marginal backwater that hardly amounted to anything of any real importance. I am pretty sure that all of those traders from Venice that became so fabulously wealthy in the late middle ages did so because they could negotiate in Arabic across the Mediterranian. You could probably find people who could speak Arabic and do business with other Arabic speakers all the way from China, Indonesia and the Philippines through India, up into Russia, and clear across the Med (including Spain, remember) and down both coasts of Africa.

    So: Greek, Latin, Arabic, French, English, Mandarin – that’s the sequence. Interestingly, four of those six are official languages of the UN. Russian replaces Greek, and Spanish replaces Latin.

    Any ployglot who can manage to master all six of those must surely be set for life!


    ELAINE: You are correct. The language for dealing with global trade was mostly Arabic from 700-1200 AD.

  8. WNC Observer

    “The GOP was all business from 1922-the Great Depression. Being pro-business usually leads to complete collapse. This is a hard pill for many to swallow. The people who are poorest at gaging ‘what is good’ are business people. Far from being great leaders, they are terrible leaders. Why is this? Well….(clearing my throat)….they hate Libra. They all believe they can make something grow forever to infinity. ”

    There is nothing wrong at all with being pro-SMALL-business. Small business is just ordinary folks – individuals and families, trying to make a living. There really is no significant difference between the yeoman farmer, the self-employed tradesperson or craftsperson, and the family shopkeeper. They are all just normal people, the backbone of their community, and the vital core of any healthy economy.

    Politicians and governments should indeed be in favor of such people. They best thing they can do to help them is to keep out of their way as best as they can. Yes, protect public safety and the environment where there is a real concern, but otherwise leave them alone.

    That would be the best formula, that is, were there not terrible huge dinosaurs stalking the countryside. I refer, of course, to BIG business.

    Big business is the mortal enemy of small business. Big businesses like nothing better than to devour and destroy small businesses. Left to their own devices, they would wipe out small businesses and leave everyone – workers and consumers – totally at the thrall and mercy of a few giant corporations.

    Guess which lot wants to be unconstrained by your “Libra”?

    Guess, too, which lot is ready with the cash to buy and manipulate any politician they can possibly get to?

    One of their favorite tactics is to accuse anyone who opposes them of being “anti-business”, glossing over the fact that being against them is not at all the same thing as being against small business.

  9. DoesItMatter

    >>>>>China doesn’t strike me as a nation interested in steamrolling other cultures.
    LoL. heee heee.



    ELAINE: Correct. And yes, all empires want to be admired and emulated and will kill you if you don’t do this.

  10. WNC Observer


    “China doesn’t strike me as a nation interested in steamrolling other cultures.”

    Research”Sinicization”. They have only been doing this for a few thousand years or so. . .

  11. adammateyko

    The USA motto is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” so that is what the bankers and all those in power are including the politicians, are doing… pursuing their dreams of avarice. As far as I can tell the Chinese motto is “do not meddle in internal affairs, recognize heaven made and man made luck, respect the ancestors/elders”
    When or if these contrary philosophies, and not language; accommodate each other we will be better off. The rest is just fluff.

  12. Patrick

    I think there’s a huge difference between China’s stance on Tibet (which was once part of China) vs. actual sovereign nations that have developed significant (global) economies. Tibet is a blip on the radar. Not like they are marching into France and raising the red flag.

    Besides… can they really sinicize cultures that have nothing in common with theirs? No sympathies or shared traditions? Not while every nation of means is armed to the teeth.

  13. DM


    Far be it for me to interpret Elaine’s posts, but it does seem that you may have missed some nuances.

    For one, on its present course, the USA will not be a nation “of means” for very much longer. Not on the time-scales being discussed.

    Yes, I agree that the current crop of American Senators and Business leaders will not be scrambling to learn Chinese. It it doubtful that your Senators have the intellectual capacity, and your Business leaders, well, there’s not going to be much business to lead.

    As for Spanish, I think the lack of interest is a case in point with Elaine’s essay. The Spanish empire is no more. Speaking Spanish could perhaps be likened to peasants Russian in the Tsarist empire. English may have the same fate.

    I thought that this was one of Elaine’s finest essays. It might stick in the craw that American Exceptionalism and the English language will not be pre-eminent in perpetuity. That seems like a most unlikely outcome.


  14. Jim Dandy

    china reminds me of those cartoon waiters with a tray of glasses over their heads, running back and forth, trying to keep the glasses from falling.

    hungry people are compliant…social chaos is the great, and real, fear.

  15. Patrick

    DM… Whether I agree or disagree w/ Elaine. I keep coming back because she forces me to think. (I am a big fan.)

    That said, I disagree with the “end times” style of doom and gloom that’s become almost mainstream.

    The bottom line is, those who bet on chaos and the destruction of the system are net losers long term. Just sift through old newspapers and magazines and you’ll find the same kind of “the end is nigh” panic in any given decade or century.

    On the subject of China… I think people get distracted/overwhelmed by its size. And they forget that China’s growth numbers appear to be so impressive because of the relative poverty of the Chinese.

    China Growing at 10% does not impress me.
    That’s like crowing about some minimum wage earner doubling his salary… versus a guy earning $50k doubling his salary to $100k. Which is more impressive? Of course, the latter.

    Plus, I’m not too concerned with anything that happens on the planet 100…200…500 years from now. It’s tough enough to predict what will happen tomorrow.

    500 years ago, no one would have predicted the United States would come into existence and dominate the world in virtually every field. No one could have predicted that we’d each be carrying an entire orchestra in our pocket with an iPod… etc.

    If anything, we humans have the endless ability to surprise ourselves (for better or worse).

    On the language front, I would also argue that each of the past waves of language dominance came without the benefit of technology.

    It will be interesting to see how the phone, internet and whatever comes next either helps entrench English or aid the rise of another worldwide language.

  16. emsnews

    Repeated postings of the story that some guys in Europe want an investigation of the virus event will be deleted. I find this topic to be one that leads to insanity. If people hate modern medicine, there are many websites catering to this insane desire and I hope everyone who is freaked out by modern science go flock there to hammer their heads against the wall of reality. Eventually, Mother Nature will take care of all antivaccinationists. In her usual crude way, of course.

    As for the other comments here: thank you for taking the time to write. I generally avoid censorship but the dogged persistence of this small crew of lunatics is most annoying to me.

    As for the gloom and doom: the US rode out of WWI and WWII on TOP of the world. We gained greatly each time the rest of the world’s empires exploded into war. We were always the last to enter each global struggle for power and each time, we entered as the strongest entity due to our damn INDUSTRIAL BASE which we protected during the depressions.

    Now, we don’t protect it, we loot it. We have no industrial base to protect anymore. The Chinese have it. And China is no longer poor, it is, this very day, finally #2, beating both Japan and Germany and is closing in on our #1 position. China is getting richer and the people are gaining in income while US workers are declining and losing income and jobs. A terrible dynamic which is very hard to stop. Thus, the gloom.

    My next article about Senatorial Rome and why Caesar Augustus gained power is very much to the point here: we can’t keep our political system anymore. It is now too corrupt to fix via trivial changes like changing the party in power.

  17. Steve Murgaski

    Patrick, I like that you’re a fan of the blog even though you often (usually?) disagree with it.

    You use an analogy about a minimum wage worker doubling his salary compared to someone earning $50,000 doubling his. You’re right, the second one would be more impressive. But the analogy doesn’t apply at all, because the American and Chinese economies are definitely not growing at the same rate. The CIA World Factbook puts the real growth rate of the US economy at 0.4% as of 2008. (I’d suggest that the CIA is a very optimistic source when it comes to US stats, but I keep using it because it’s easy to use.) They list China’s real growth rate in 2008 at 9%. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ch.html

    When you say that nobody could’ve predicted the rise of the US 500 years ago, it reminds me of an idea I’ve been tossing around recently. We now talk about “The Ancient Greeks” as though they were one ‘civilization’. From our standpoint they had enough in common to justify seeing them that way. But at the time, there were Greek “city states” which competed against each other viciously, and fought wars against each other.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the US gets lumped in with a “European imperial system”. In our time, we talk about the periods of French dominance, British dominance, American dominance, Spanish dominance. Because of the many European wars it seems obvious that France and Germany and Spain… are different cultures.

    But it would be possible to sketch a ‘European imperial period’ from about 1500 to 2000 AD, if you just see the western cultures as basically similar. Compared to China, they are basically similar.

    Just my musings.

  18. emsnews

    There always was an East/West division. Back when the Roman Empire was floundering, China was flourishing. The entity that built empires across both the East and West were the Mongols. Who stopped just short of the gates of Vienna and who swept all the way to Egypt. And took over all of China and half of India.

  19. Patrick

    Elaine: I agree with you completely on the issue of “free trade.” And you are right… the US is not the industrial titan it once was… painfully so.

    What I fear most is the decline of our currency and the continued debasement of public discourse.

    But at the same time, I believe our chief resources, ideas and ingenuity are as strong and competitive as they’ve ever been.

    I believe that we are on the cusp of a whole new era of prosperity. But it will not be tied to the industries that propelled us to the top in the past 100 years. It will be preceded by a rough 10-20 years of readjustment. But it’s coming just the same. (Led by technology, energy and agriculture.)

    Of course, we’ll all have less “stuff.” An adjustment to our standard of living is long overdue. But if we play our cards right, it won’t matter. We may even be happier for it!

  20. Patrick

    Steve: Good points… I should have clarified in my post that I didn’t think China and the US were growing at the same rate. My example was no good… but I still think the point makes sense – that high growth rate on an itsy-bitsy base isn’t the same as high growth on a robust base. In so many words, it’s all relative.

    Your story on the Greeks is fascinating. Would love to see that idea developed. You may be right about the USA being seen as part of an “imperial European system.” Haha… Especially if the Chinese get to write the history books!

  21. Colin

    The greeks certainly believed in drinking, but not in getting drunk; that takes you back to moderation and the golden mean. The dionysos example is a bit out of context as the feast of dionysos was a once-a-year thing for letting off steam. More than that dionysos, or the strange god, represented everything animal and wild in greek thinking, they idolised and feared him as the sourse of things they could repress but not control; they called him the bringer of ‘divine’ madness. Their attitute towards him was of suspicious reverence, as it was to all their forces-of-nature gods and godettes. Also to get drunk at the dionysosian festival was a ‘religious act’ not one of self indulgence.

  22. Hores Hockey

    Elaine said:

    “Anyway, Chinese is the major language being studied in American schools these days.”

    You know that statement is full of bunk as there is no such thing as the ‘Chinese language’. It’s either Mandarin or Cantonese.

  23. libra

    It is very simple. If one steals, one will end up poor.
    Each country, empires, or kingdom went and is going through the same causes and effects.
    Poor, poor bankers will receive no different retributions. Libra has her scale working all the time.
    In the future, you will need to be able to converse in Mandarin in order to keep a job.
    Mandarin is the official language used through out China.

  24. JSmith

    “The greeks certainly believed in drinking, but not in getting drunk; that takes you back to moderation and the golden mean.”

    The Greeks, as much as anyone else, recognized the distinction between what one should do and what one actually does – that’s why we still have all the preaching and cautionary tales. Those texts aren’t necessarily descriptive of how life was actually lived; they are more a description of how, e.g., Aristotle thought life should be lived. “I’m telling you people – you need to practice moderation in all things, you hear me?”

  25. bringmethefinestwines

    Good article Elaine…this is one of the reasons both me and Lily started a Chinese course last year.

    Wo hen hao xie xie! 🙂

  26. DoesItMatter

    >>>which was once part of China
    That argument does not hold water. If one went based on that argument; countries would be now constantly fighting each other claiming they held parts of the each other in the past.
    But then what do we say for Tibet existing independently for many many years?

    If again if one goes by your argument, then probably any of the S.E.Asia countries could stake that claim and attack and merge other countries. India being the next big country after China could go about annexing Myanmar. After all Myanmar was part of British India for decades. And since India shares culture with several other neighboring countries (whose culture did get influenced by India) India could go about merging Vietnam, Cambodia, Bhutan, Srilanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand etc. Did I leave out any other country….? Oh wait a minute I left China, Buddhism spread from India to China, maybe India should ask China pledge its allegiance to India.

  27. emsnews

    The Greeks did not admire drunks. And yet, understood it which is why they had the entire Dionysian orgies mythology. But in Pericles Athens, women most certainly did NOT run around half naked, getting drunk and having sex.

    Far from it. And the men were quite vain about looking ‘buff’ so they avoided becoming fat, etc.

  28. libra

    Once upon a time, private properties were taken from others without permissions.
    Sadly, we saw the work of Libra in Tibet.
    Nothing happens for no reason.

  29. emsnews

    Um, as I recall, the commies freed all the Tibetan slaves….

  30. A Vietnamese

    In Vietnam, we are all hate China as well as Chinese. China is not an our good neighbor. They are opportunist and are our enemy. In the western you may hate Jewish and in the Eastern, people hate Chinese.

    Chinese will never substitute English because it is very difficult to learn and remember as well as disadvantage in science. Can you remember thousands of Chinese character instead of 26 ones in English?

    [Sorry for my English]

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