Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Hollywood Babble On & On #1046: We'll Only Censor You A Little

The Chinese government has announced that they are going to loosen their censorship rules for film and television to help foster their growing relationship with Hollywood.

While most "experts" are touting this as a great advance, I fear it's not going to go far enough, and will probably not last as long as anyone outside the country's rulers would care for.

As I like to say, like a broken record if anyone can remember those, is that while China is a big economy, it's not a free economy.

That's important.

The rulers of China hold the final word on how everything is to be allowed to operate, and while they may allow some things through. Like loosening some censorship rules, and allowing some free markets, they won't allow things to get too free.

Because they know their history and they remember...

Augusto Pinochet and the Chilean Junta.

When they overthrew the Marxist Allende government the economy was in a shambles. All the industries had been taken over by the government, unemployment was skyrocketing, and inflation was out of control. At first the Junta tried to manage the economy themselves, but quickly learned that they were in way over their head.

Needing people with real economic knowledge they turned to a group nicknamed the "Chicago Boys" because they had studied at the University of Chicago under economics guru Milton Friedman.

Friedman preached total economic freedom as the key to creating prosperity and stability. Friedman predicted that after some initial chaos and distress on the road the now free markets would find their own equilibrium and spur ongoing growth.

Desperate the Pinochet regime opened up the economy creating a weird sort of schizophrenia. It was brutally oppressive politically, but economically was wide open.

How did that end?

Well, eventually Pinochet and the Junta were eased out of power, replaced by democratically elected governments, and Chile remains one of the strongest economies in South America.

That's because you can't have economic freedom without it leaking out into political freedom, and vice versa.

Friedman was heavily criticized at the time for advising Pinochet, but he set the wheels in motion for the dictator's ouster without firing a single shot.

China's ruling elite are smart people, who are, for the most part, not blinded by irrational ideology. They like being in power and they want to stay in power. That means they will free up bits and pieces of the economy, but they will only go so far and no further, because they don't want to be unemployed dictators. They may loosen the rules now, but can tighten or change them any time the whim hits them.

Which is why I will keep saying that Hollywood's belief that China is the cure for all their self-inflicted ills is, for now, a pipe dream.

1 comment:

  1. Rainforest Giant here,

    @ Furious,
    Expecting China to save Hollywood is like expecting Nigeria to save our financial system. A prince recently found my hairy hide and asked if I would temporarily hold some funds for him and he would let me keep 10%. I have as much chance of seeing that money as Hollywood does anything from China.

    You cannot trust the Chinese to do anything for anyone but the Chinese. Besides, they have their own industry. Wouldn't they work to improve China first? It would make more sense for China to export their movies rather than import Hollywood's possibly subversive and un-Chinese fare.

    Rainforest Giant