“Inside China’s Dystopian Dreams: A.I., Shame and Lots of Cameras”: New York Times

“China is reversing the commonly held vision of technology as a great democratizer, bringing people more freedom and connecting them to the world. In China, it has brought control.”

There are an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras nationwide, 4 times the number in the USA.

The article does not dodge the same inequality issues that USA faces. “The current (post-Mao) system has created severe social and economic segregation. So now the rulers use the taxpayers’ money to monitor the taxpayers.” In other words, there is scope for the same process of “escape for the rich and favoured” that the US system offers via the application of tech.

Image: screenshot, BBC news


One comment

  1. ‘There are an estimated 200 million surveillance cameras nationwide, 4 times the number in the USA.’
    There are an estimate 1,400,000 people in China, 4 times the number in the USA.

    ‘“The current (post-Mao) system has created severe social and economic segregation.’??
    At first glance, China appears to be a far more unequal country than the U.S. Its hundreds of billionaires tower over the emerging middle class, while millions of others live on less than $1 a day. But new data shows that inequality in the U.S. is actually worse than it is in China. It found that inequality in both the U.S. and China has grown rapidly over the past few decades.
    In China, the top 1 percent earned 13 percent of personal income in 2015 — double their share in the 1980s. In the U.S., the top 1 percent earned 20 percent of income. That’s also roughly double the level from the 1980s.
    Of course, measuring the incomes of the wealthy Chinese is an especially difficult task, since so much of their money is hidden. As the paper notes, “our estimates should likely be viewed as lower bounds, due to tax evasion and other limitations of tax data and national accounts in China.”
    But the paper points out that there has also been a big difference in the fortunes of those at the bottom in both countries — a difference that makes the income gap far worse in the U.S.
    According to the research, the incomes of the bottom 50 percent in China (those earning less than $9,280, using purchasing power parity-adjusted exchange rates) fell from 27 percent in 1978 to 15 percent.
    In the U.S., the bottom 50 percent (those with annual incomes below $36,000) have seen a “complete collapse” in their share of national income. Between 1978 and 2015, their share of income went from 20 percent to 12 percent — 3 points lower than China’s.
    “Policy discussions about rising global inequality should focus on how to equalize the distribution of primary assets,” the researchers concluded. That includes better education, access to skills and minimum wage reform. http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/14/why-inequality-in-america-is-worse-than-it-is-in-china.html.
    Facundo Alvaredo Lucas Chancel Thomas Piketty Emmanuel Saez Gabriel Zucman
    Working Paper 23119 http://www.nber.org/papers/w23119
    Cambridge, MA 02138. February 2017. https://eml.berkeley.edu/~saez/ACPSZ2017NBERWP.pdf

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