The author seems pathologically unwilling to look for a rational third alternative between democratic fascism and fascistic nationalism. Given his description as a "venture capitalist," he should know better. He is right about one point: If current trends continue, the West will vote itself off a cliff and leave China's model as the default.
Of course, this is the New York Times, so I should have no expectation of rationality bursting from its pages.
The author probably just wanted to score points with those in power back home.
Can the author explain why the majority of dictatorships don't end well? It's assumed that China's success is magically tied to its non-democratic rule, but if anything in life has taught me it's that there's always another story to be told. In China, for the most part you're left to your devices. They use to give services like healthcare, education, and housing for free as per their constitution, but it was clear as their population grew such services couldn't be given in full so they whittled them down to nothing. This also includes the police, which is mostly for show and those who are too noisy or too stupid to keep their head down. So, if you're smart, polite, and creative you can get by in China in ways you can't here in the US. It has nothing to do with the dictatorial nature of the national government. If anything, it's despite the existence of their regime's irrationality that they prosper. For if the PRC decided tomorrow to dismantle even a fraction of their market reforms, it would spell the end of their reign. This is especially true in terms of land management, where people may not own the land they sit on, but they own the fruits of the labor they invest into it (especially farmers). So, you can see they didn't go along with market reforms out of some idealism, but rather out of the fact that it can keep their people fed. For if they're not fed, they have no reason to obey and many reasons to topple them.
I watched a good portion of this today and while the author is articulate and can probably influence the more liberal minded in the audience, it is chilling. The idea of a well trained, benign, over-arching bureaucracy that controls all aspects of the economy and micro-manages personal decisions will not sit well with Americans. It would be the end of individualism as we know it. A strategy of selecting and long term funding of entrepreneurs that would not ordinarily find financial backing in similar circumstances in the US just doesn't ring true and would be, IMO, a failure. Any hair-brained enterprise could get funding for a period of, say, five years.
The fundamental difference between Washington’s view and Beijing’s is whether political rights are considered God-given and therefore absolute or whether they should be seen as privileges to be negotiated based on the needs and conditions of the nation.
To be negotiated with who?
The self-proclaimed Emperors of Rights?
When some tyrant wannabee shows up claiming that you must 'negotiate' rights with him, the only proper response is a bullet, preferably to the brain.