The basic mantra of reorienting Russia’s economic processes toward cooperation with China has turned out to be absolute nonsense. In fact, Russia has found itself in the position of a colonial resource for China, giving more and receiving less. Actually, this is exactly what I and many of my colleagues were talking about at the beginning of the remarkable year 2022.
So, let’s get to the bottom of it.
Let’s start with the fact that China’s political logic is clearly built on the foundations of rationality and “Game Theory” and “Mathematics of Choice”, where benefits, costs and probabilities are the basic three-dimensional coordinate system, which, in fact, corresponds to the Confucian and Taoist heritage.
The Chinese openly assert that all add-ons or discounts to such a paradigm are merely transaction costs or benefits, hindering or enhancing the end result and affecting the sustainability of the Chinese political position. It is pure and absolute utilitarianism, from which it is one step to totalitarianism and other delights of authoritarian dictatorship. In general, it is averageness, and in fact, the norm for centuries of Asian social structure.
Deng Xiaoping’s replication of Western institutions was a very important milestone in the civilizational leap for China, both economic and sociopathic. However, this decision was still based on the utilitarian philosophy of “we don’t care what we do, as long as it is profitable”. From the point of view of humanistic anthropology, this is atavism.
Utilitarianism is dangerous because it is tactical. Strategically, you must consider the transaction costs of your actions, you must think through evolutionary, namely long cause-effect relationships, taking into account the maximum number of inputs and active factors. Then your actions today may not seem effective, but the day after tomorrow they will increase and strengthen your effectiveness and reduce your costs.
In general, the political philosophy espoused by the Chinese elite is in a dynamic, or more accurately, a dichotomous movement between two poles: utilitarian tactics and evolutionary strategy. This is reflected in the results: on the one hand, an extraordinary economic breakthrough, on the other hand, a glass ceiling, a middle-income trap and a political reaction associated with the usurpation of power by the political leader and the expansion of authoritarianism.
In this regard, omitting all other aspects of Chinese policies and economic strategies, one can observe obvious things: in China’s relations with Russia, the tactical and strategic advantage is clearly on China’s side. And this is a case where Chinese utilitarianism has yielded to – or reinforced – Taoist strategic wisdom and pragmatism.
In general, I am ready to confirm my thesis of March 2022 that Russia has entered the position of a Chinese colony of the 19th century. The peculiarity of the relationship between colonial dominant and colonial subordinate is in the extreme maximization of benefits of the dominant, and the simultaneous increase in the costs of the dominion. In the itinerant sense, such a policy is a losing policy, since it is more profitable to be a sedentary bandit, and not nomadic. And, in all likelihood, it is this strategy – that of a sedentary bandit – that China has chosen with regard to Russia, which allows it to occupy a superposition.
Given the Hypershift – nothing should surprise us anymore.
Welcome to a distorted reality.
Welcome to the Chinese world.