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The impact of careerists in Chinese policy, 1958-1960 April 6, 2011

Posted by Jason in Uncategorized.

1. An analysis of how ambition among the mid-level bureaucrats (as opposed to ideology) doomed the peasantry in China during the Great Leap Forward.

2. The New Yorker profiles the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

3. Lazy analogy department: Re: the Arab Spring- it may be 1989, but we may be the Soviets.

4. What makes a foreigner good at English?

Finally, one surprising result is that China and India are next to each other (29th and 30th of 44) in the rankings, despite India’s reputation as more Anglophone. Mr Hult says that the Chinese have made a broad push for English (they’re “practically obsessed with it”). But efforts like this take time to marinade through entire economies, and so may have avoided notice by outsiders. India, by contrast, has long had well-known Anglophone elites, but this is a narrow slice of the population in a country considerably poorer and less educated than China. English has helped India out-compete China in services, while China has excelled in manufacturing. But if China keeps up the push for English, the subcontinental neighbour’s advantage may not last.

I can agree with this. The Chinese immigrants coming over these days are much better at English than the immigrants of my parents’ generation (this comes from them, not from me).

5. If two people say it, it must be true- Madden is now so realistic that it actually makes football players more strategically sophisticated, since they can get in more reps on Madden than they can in Pop Warner. The better article is in Wired, but the Slate piece is also worth reading.

6. The Economist evaluates Paul Ryan’s budget plan, and declares that the Civil War is finally behind us.

7. I’m a little worried that I agree with P.J. O’Rourke, the sort of old man who will tell cyclists to keep off his left-turn lane.

8. A convenient collection of the articles that are nominated for National Magazine Awards this year.

Credits: Julia, the Browser, Longform.org



1. Anonymous - April 30, 2011

Jason, that the Economist article you linked to, and the rankings therein, were actually my project within my company. Awesome.

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