Forty some years ago today Nixon visited China. Yes he actually did all you millennials who haven't any sense of history. Everyone went crazy as he was embracing the "commies" as a stunt to get himself out of the Watergate fritz. We leaned all about China after that trip....almost none of it either true or useful. So here we are 2 score later.
Now that the elections are in the not so distant future and Congress has presented us with a week of dismal stupidity, I'm reminded of Scrooge and the unfurling of the two child/orphans of man "ignorance" and "want". Dickens was allegorical enough to realize that these two offspring come in many forms...from poor illiterates to mindless greed types. Want takes many forms from hunger to Madoff greed. Ignorance is even more desperate.
So what of this picture? If I were on the Enterprise and Captain Kirk took a look down at his earth and was asked to pick the "average Joe" from the population...someone who stood right on the mid-line of the bell curve...what or who would he find?
Statistically it would be a rural Chinese making about $3,000 a year and there are more than a few million of them. It would not be an American or a European nor someone from a lost tribe in the Philippines. Statistically we are in Western China somewhere and this is the guy. He isn't ignorant. Perhaps just not educated. He isn't poor by his contemporary standards and perhaps he doesn't "want" in the conventional sense except in times of poor harvest. So what's the point?
We have policy makers making huge decisions that affect the very fabric of society - economics and values. They make them on a basis that is so far removed from the "average Joe" just trying to get by. We argue about the trade imbalance between China and the US and the Rinimbi v. the Dollar. We debate long and hard about reducing food stamp allotments from $5.12 a day to $4.80…Ho Hum..Except to the mother trying to feed her kids on something other than mac and cheese. Our average Chinese Joe's life isn't much effected by the debt "crisis" (opposed to the US's Joe who is creamed by it).
The point is that the political debates swirl at a level that is light years from the persons directly affected by the outcome. The gap or disconnect is huge. All the average Joe knows is that his life is the same as it was years or decades back yet it is somehow harder and he is less and less connected to those making decisions - the decision makers are, unfortunately just another set of ignorance and want.