Monday, June 25, 2007
Chinese in the Gap
Perlez, J. (2007). Militant students capture masseuses to make a point." New York Times. June 24, 2007.
If there's anything that illustrates how screwy Pakistan, and for that matter the rest of the Islamic Gap, is, it's this:
“There were about 25 Chinese women, dressed only in underpants and bras,” recalled Ms. Okasha, 24, a muscular high-school badminton champion who had shed her black garb for soft mauves, her face uncovered, during an interview inside the women-only confines of the school. “They scattered, but we managed to grab five.”
Though a concluded paragraph isn't bad, either:
Ms. Hassan, her face absent of makeup but her fingernails and toenails varnished with red, said she was proud of her raiders.
“I said to the students before they went off, ‘The Chinese are masters at karate; you don’t know how to make one kick.’ But they were able to manage.”
And for completeness sake:
His college-age students asked “many times,” he said, about the legitimacy of suicide bombing. Suicide bombing was justifiable against American soldiers. “It depends on the circumstances,” he said. “In a supermarket I will say no. Suicide bombing against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, I will say yes, yes. It’s not suicide. It’s a mission, then it’s allowed.”
Two take-aways from this article:
First, it's interesting that the New York Times describes what are obviously prostitutes as "masseuses." The reason is clear: opposition to prostitution should be an intellectual, liberal exercise, and not a goonish one. The Times is clearly embarrassed to be intellectually on the same side as madrassa-studying reactionaries, though this isn't surprising. Both the New York Times and the Islamists prefer prostitution to remain in the informal, depriving many women of a natural capitalization vehicle. Both the the Pakistani extremists and the old liberals of the New York Times share the disdain for market exchange, Hernando de Soto-style capitalization of private wealth, and liberty. Both share a sentimental opposition and a thuggish adoration of enforced virtue.
Secondly, the story highlights the transition of China from the Gap to the Core. China is in the unusual condition that while she is becoming a global leader, she has a large reservoir of very low paid citizens. This means that while the United States, Europe, and Japan find their capital flowing oversees in a process of creative destruction, China finds her people innovatively moving abroad for profits. This creates friction, and while the the typical American "downside" is lost capital, the increasingly typical Chinese "downside" is lost lives.
China and the West share a common interest, not only in energy resources, but in a better administration of the Gap.