Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Reality or Doom and Gloom?

China’s six-to-one advantage over the US
By Spengler

America outspends China on defense by a margin of more than six to one, the Pentagon estimates. [1] In another strategic dimension, though, China already holds a six-to-one advantage over the United States. Thirty-six million Chinese children study piano today, compared to only 6 million in the United States.[2] The numbers understate the difference, for musical study in China is more demanding.

It must be a conspiracy. Chinese parents are selling plasma-screen TVs to America, and saving their wages to buy their kids pianos - making American kids stupider and Chinese kids smarter. Watch out, Americans - a generation from now, your kid is going to fetch coffee for a Chinese boss. That is a bit of an exaggeration, of course - some of the bosses will be Indian. Americans really, really don’t have a clue what is coming down the pike. The present shift in intellectual capital in favor of the East has no precedent in world history.

The article goes on, but its basic point is set out in these introductory paragraphs. Spengler spends some time on the proper interpretation of Mozart and his irony and how the Chinese get it and the US and Western Europe doesn't.

My only comment is this: Spengler asserts that thirty-six million Chinese children are learning an instrument while only six million US children are doing the same. But it's important to remember that China's population is at least five times larger than that of the United States and probably more. If you multiply the US population five times to be closer to China's and then look at the comparison of children learning an instrument, it's not quite so dire.

But read all of the article and reach your own conclusions.

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