“A Sharp Debate Erupts in China Over Ideologies”

Freshly out of today’s NYT. It’s interesting to see how “All shall be equal” plays such a heavy role in the leftist socialist-leaning group’s argument. I wonder what would have happened if there was an election. If the candidate promise to restore the old “all is equal” social dynamic, will the majority of the countrymen/countrywomen understand what they really meant was “all is equally poor?” Will China fare better than the US election? I wonder.

The tensions reflect rising concern that breakneck growth averaging nearly 10 percent annually over 20 years has left China richer but also dirtier and, by the standards of the one-party state, politically volatile.

Corruption, pollution, land seizures and arbitrary fees and taxes are among the leading causes of a surge in social unrest. Riots have become a fixture of rural life in China — more than 200 “mass incidents of unrest” occurred each day in 2004, police statistics show — undermining the party’s insistence on social stability.

Many Western and some Chinese experts have argued that these problems stem from China’s authoritarian political system, and that they will not easily go away until people have a greater say in how they are governed. But the Communist Party and many left-leaning scholars reject that view. They say the ills are caused by capitalist excesses and rising inequality, which they say requires that the government reassert itself in economic affairs.

See full article here: New York Times: A Sharp Debate Erupts in China Over Ideologies, By JOSEPH KAHN, Published: March 12, 2006


The savage world of Martin McDonagh
  In the March 6th issue of ‘The New Yorker”, there is an interesting profile on Martin McDonagh(newyorker.com didn’t put this one on-line), the acclaimed Irish playwright. He wrote total of 7 plays during a few months of time in 1994(he was 24 then). Six of them were produced and staged in London, New York, etc.. All were well received. Huge success.
  What fascinated me was how he became a writer/playwright living on welfare. He left school at 16, and decided not to seek an education because he doesn’t want to condition himself for a job, or to find himself a boss. He wrote stories, watched TV, did manuel labor when the welfare stopped and quit the job once he is allowed to receive welfare again.
  That reminded me of the story on how Harry Potter’s author also wrote her story when she was living on welfare.
  All writers, or writers-wanna-bes should go to England. 🙂 At least English writers.
A few quotes from the actual article.

McDonagh…At thirty-five, he is perhaps the most successful young playwright of the past decade — in 1997, he was widely described as the first dramatist since Shakespeare to have four works professionally produced on the London stage in a single season — and his plays, black comedies in which acts of extreme cruelty and violence are routine, are merciless rebukes to literary sentimentality.

McDonagh’s brother left school at seventeen, intending to be a writer, and started to live on welfare. (He is now a screenwriter–his script “Ned Kelly” was made into a film, which was released in 2003, with Heath Ledger in the title role.) As soon as McDonagh turned sixteen, he did the same. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said. “I didn’t want to educate myself toward some kind of job. I didn’t even want a job. I didn’t want a boss.”

He insists that he has no intention of writing another play.

“I think I’ve said enough as a young dramatist,” he said. “Until I’ve lived a little more, and experienced a lot more things, and I have more to say that I haven’t said already, it will just feel like repeating the old tricks.” For a moment, McDonagh looked disconsolate. But he sounded hopeful. “I want to just write for the love of it,’ he said.’ And also grow up, because all the plays have the sensibility of a young man.”

I’m amazed at the lucidity of his mind. How he just knew what he wanted (or at least what he didn’t want) at the age of 16, or at the age of 35. I’m amazed that so many novelist didn’t know it is time to stop when they have nothing new to say. But this guy does.

I have no desire whatsoever to see any of his plays.

For those who might, currently his play “The Lieutenant of Inishmore” is showing off Broadway in New York City.

Economist’s Article on Starbucks’ Owner

Economist: Staying pure, Howard Schultz’s formula for Starbucks.(Feb 23rd 2006 )

It’s nice to its employees:

Starbucks buys expensive beans and pays its growers—be they in Guatemala or Ethiopia—an average of 23% above the market price. A similar benevolence applies to company employees. Where other corporations seek to unload the burden of employee benefits, Starbucks gives all American employees working at least 20 hours a week a package that includes stock options (“Bean Stock”) and comprehensive health insurance.

And it is good for other coffee houses, too.

No doubt the coffee snobs will blanch at the prospect. Yet they miss three points. The first is that, thanks to Starbucks, today’s Americans are no longer condemned to drink the insipid, over-percolated brew that their parents endured. The second, less recognised, is that because Starbucks has created a mass taste for good coffee, small, family-owned coffee houses have also prospered (and no one has ever accused Starbucks, with its $4 lattes, of undercutting the competition).

Last but not the least:

The company is now in 37 different countries. China, which has over 200 stores, will eventually be its biggest market after America, …