Watch This | Kishore Mahbubani explores contrast between China's meritocracy and US's plutocracy
Kishore Mahbubani, former Permanent Representative of Singapore to the United Nations and currently a Distinguished Fellow of the Asian Research Institute at the National University of Singapore delivered a keynote address titled "Can China Outcompete the U.S.?" in a presentation in Hong Kong on April 25.
The much-vaunted "democracy" of the United States always seems to win public opinion. However, Kishore Mahbubani pointed out in his speech that in fact there has been a fundamental change in the political system of the United States. "The political system of the United States fundamentally has gone from being a democracy towards becoming a plutocracy, and I'm not the only one saying this."
Kishore Mahbubani said that in recent years, it is an indisputable fact that the competition between China and the US has accelerated. He compared the two systems, describing the contest between China and the US as not so much a "contest between within democarcy and the Communist Party system", but more like a "contest between the meritocracy and the plutocracy". "We have to see which society performs better," he said.
Kishore Mahbubani explained that the so-called "democracy" in the United States actually ignores the overall interests of the country and people, and its social indicators speak for themselves. "Life expectancy has come down. This never happens in developed societies. If you look at the poverty rates and what Angus Deaton, the Nobel laureate called 'Deaths of Despair', they are rising in the United States. So the United States in that sense in that sense is not a well functioning democarcy." He points out that the United States is also a major developed country where the average income of the bottom 50 percent has remained stagnant for decades, and the current regime is nothing more than a political game for the plutocrats.
According to Kishore Mahbubani, China has a meritocracy, which means choosing the best people to serve in positions of leadership in society. In contrast, in the United States, even a person with no qualifications can become the president. He stated that in China, those who have not run a province or done serious assignments will not be given greater responsibilities. As an illustration, he cited China's social development over the past few decades. In stark contrast to the United States' high poverty rate, China's society has continued to advance and has even concluded the world's largest poverty alleviation program, with over 800 million Chinese people elevated out of absolute poverty. He argues that the United States' plutocracy is at a significant disadvantage compared to China's meritocracy.