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This is a question Changing Your Mind

monkeon writes, "People tend to seek things that back up already held beliefs, but what books, films, or real-life events have actually changed the way you think about a subject?"

(, Thu 2 Apr 2015, 14:27)
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Living in an ostensibly communist country turned me more right wing
You probably know that China is rampantly capitalist under the communist trappings, but on the other hand its state-owned enterprises are hugely powerful and hugely influential (Sinopec and China National Petroeum are the #3 and #4 companies in the world by turnover) and determine large parts of the economy and business culture. Like how British Leyland and British Gas were symbolic of the crapness of the UK in the 1970s, I guess. Also, enterprises over a certain size have to allow a party organisation within it, and, I heard somewhere but haven't been able to verify, companies that generate a certain turnover must have x number of workers, regardless of how many they need. Thus, supermarkets have staff standing around doing fuck-all (even when the queues for the till are eight deep); the local energy boards turn on the central heating sometime in November, and you have to pay even if your heating system gives you the square root of fuck all (I once went to the company to ask for an engineer to come round fix it and they laughed me out of the shop); banks are so inefficent that if you lose your bank card it's easier to close your account and open a new one than have it replaced; hospitals are like something out of Belsen; the bullet trains may be nice and fast but they have staff coming round trying to sell shit nobody wants, just because some official somewhere thought it would be a good idea).

It all gives you an insight into how the British nationalised industries would have been run, and why it was a good thing most of them were privatised. (Not the utilities, mind you, that's still a dumb fucking idea).
(, Thu 2 Apr 2015, 16:33, closed)
I can't confirm the current situation...
...but in the 1980s I worked for a manufacturer of ceramic tableware and we were visited by a Chinese trade delegation. One of the senior managers in the group told my boss that his company manufactured a similar volume of goods to us. Our factory employed about 350 people, his was nearer 11,000 and he freely admitted that a large proportion of those people spent their days playing cards, reading the paper, etc. but he could still undercut us on price.
(, Thu 2 Apr 2015, 18:28, closed)
They called it the iron ricebowl - cradle to grave welfare. It's gone now.
Industries have been made more efficient but there's still crazy amounts of overmanning. My first job over there was teaching English at a university. Each classroom had an interactive whiteboard, so you had to get the key to access the computer and a remote for the projector from the AV room. There were four people working in that room, their single function being handing keys over to lecturers before classes. There were about six members of staff in the cash office, and I remember once counting three of them reading the paper when I went to get paid.

It all made me wish for a Thatcherite government to come in and kick some ass.
(, Thu 2 Apr 2015, 18:58, closed)

Salaries have gone up so much now in larger cities private companies cannot afford to do that anymore. It is now cheaper to have R&D centres in Taiwan because the salaries are lower, and factory workers have massively bigger than inflation raises every year. Many companies can manufacture electronic goods cheaper in eastern Europe now.
(, Fri 3 Apr 2015, 10:40, closed)
The eventual and inevitable civil unrest will be interesting.

(, Fri 3 Apr 2015, 23:15, closed)
Why is privatising utilities dumb?

(, Fri 3 Apr 2015, 15:54, closed)
it think you might find that such comparisons are spurious due to vastly different cultural and political systems between Britain and China

(, Fri 3 Apr 2015, 22:23, closed)
Have you been to Norway?
Last time I did it seemed to be socialist and fun. As I see it the problem isn't so much the "left" or "right" or other crap but how much money is available and to whom it is available. Also, fascists come in both "left" and "right" varieties.
(, Sat 4 Apr 2015, 18:16, closed)
It gives you no sort of insight at all into how the British nationalised industries would have been run at all
as unions are illegal in China, and China is a developing country not a first world one. Two big important differences, and there are more.
(, Mon 6 Apr 2015, 15:19, closed)
Unions are legal. They are just owned by the Communist party.

(, Thu 9 Apr 2015, 9:15, closed)

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