Life and Death of Civilizations...

Awakening eras, crisis eras, crisis wars, generational financial crashes, as applied to historical and current events
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Life and Death of Civilizations...

Post by sbokros »

Mr. Xenakis, I like how the timelines that you have put together seem to correlate with conflicts around the world, in history, what if you expand your timelines? Can you explain a "generational progression" of different societies? Why was the Kahn or Hunn dynasty able to last so long?? Or some of the Chinese dynasties?? Or the Roman or Greek Empires?? The Ottoman Empire?? Why did Communisim in the Soviet Union fail so quickly, relatively? Can we, American citizens, reverse the seeming slide to failure currently?? How can we profit from the turmoil?
I love your analysis, I hope you can continue the great research.

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Re: Life and Death of Civilizations...

Post by John »

Dear Steve,
sbokros wrote: > Mr. Xenakis, I like how the timelines that you have put together
> seem to correlate with conflicts around the world, in history,
> what if you expand your timelines? Can you explain a "generational
> progression" of different societies? Why was the Kahn or Hunn
> dynasty able to last so long?? Or some of the Chinese dynasties??
> Or the Roman or Greek Empires?? The Ottoman Empire?? Why did
> Communisim in the Soviet Union fail so quickly, relatively? Can
> we, American citizens, reverse the seeming slide to failure
> currently?? How can we profit from the turmoil?
(If you have no objection, I'm going to move this thread into the
"Generational Theory" sub-forum.)

Historians have identified and debated civilization-level cycles
that last 400-500 years. These are consistent with the 70-90
year generational cycles, and the progression of generational
cycles within an entire civilization is something that requires
a lot more research.

To illustrate, I'll just take one of your examples, and do a
fairly simple top-level analysis of it, keeping in mind that a
complete analysis would require much more research.

I'll illustrate with a portion of the Mongol Empire. I'll use just
one source, Peter N. Stearns' The Encyclopedia of World History, 6th
edition (2001), which is a good starting point for identifying
generational timelines.


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Re: Life and Death of Civilizations...

Post by John »

The following is from: Peter N. Stearns' The Encyclopedia of World
History, 6th edition (2001)


THE MONGOL EMPIRE (MAP) [click to view]
THE SUCCESSORS OF CHINGGIS KHAN (1227-1336) [click to view]


THE MONGOLS in central Asia formed a new empire under Temujin
(1167-1227), who rapidly expanded the empire by use of strategy and
his military machine, employing discipline, extraordinary mobility
(especially on horseback), espionage, terror, and superior siege


The Yellow River shifted direction and flowed south of the Shandong
Peninsula until 1853.


Temujin was proclaimed CHINGGIS KHAN “ruler of the world”) at the
Mongolian capital of Karakorum.


The Mongols under Chinggis Khan first attacked the northern border of
the Jin, seizing Beijing in 1215 and the Xixia state two years
later. The Jin were driven south to the Yellow River (1211-22).


Yelü Chucai (1189-1243), Sinified descendant of the royal Khitan
house, became an adviser to Chinggis. He allegedly convinced his lord
that it might not be a wise idea to depopulate northern China and make
it into a grazing land for the migrating herds; instead he taught the
Mongols how to collect agricultural taxes by time-tested Chinese


Mongol armies conquered the Turkish empire of Khwarazm [>].


The Xixia was finally destroyed with a massacre at Ningxia. At the end
of his life, Chinggis divided his massive empire into four khanates
and bequeathed them to his immediate descendants: the Kipchak khanate
(Golden Horde) to Batu (1207-55); the Chaghadai khanate (the former
Kara-Khitai empire) to Chaghadai (d. 1242); the Great Khan to Ögödei
(1186-1241); and the Persian khanate (the Ilkhanids) to Tului


Using the same policy ill-advisedly used with the Jurchens against the
Liao, the Song allied with the Mongols to defeat the Jin. Kaifeng was
taken. Within two years, the Jin were overwhelmed, but in 1235 the
Mongols began to attack the Song, taking Sichuan in 1236-38.


After stunning Mongol military successes in Russia in the late 1230s,
two Mongol armies entered central Europe and the Balkans and were
poised to attack Western Christendom. Mongol horsemen were outside the
walls of Vienna when news arrived that the Great Khan had died. As per
Mongol custom, the armies withdrew to Karakorum so that the generals
could participate in the election of a new Great Khan, Chinggis's son


After discord and several short-reigning Great Khans, Möngke (1208-59)
was elected by the Mongolian diet. His brother Khubilai (1214-94) led
armies on attacks to the south and west, defeating Nanzhao
(1252-53). Khubilai's forces laid siege to the city of Wuhan (1259),
but again news of the death of the Great Khan forced the Mongols to
withdraw to Karakorum.


Möngke, the son of a Nestorian woman and Tului, told William of
Rubruck (c. 1220-c. 1293), envoy of Louis IX of France, that religions
were like the fingers of one hand.


After having unilaterally moved the capital to Shangdu (Coleridge's
Xanadu) during the squabbling over the succession, Khubilai
(r. 1260-94) was elected Great Khan.


The YUAN DYNASTY was effectively founded for Mongol rule in China when
Khubilai became Great Khan. The dynastic name was adopted in 1271.


Khubilai transferred the winter capital to Yanjing, where he
constructed Khanbalig, modern Beijing. He had an astronomical
observatory (1279) built on the city wall, wherein were installed
bronze instruments cast by Guo Shoujing (1231-1316).


After four and a half years of desperate and brilliant fighting, the
last two strongholds of the Song against the Mongols, Xiangyang and
Fanchengboth walled cities in modern Hubei Provincefell. Explosives
were used by both sides as weaponry in the fighting, perhaps for the
first time in history. Hangzhou was captured in 1276, Guangzhou the
following year. The Song fleet carrying the last pretender to the
throne was destroyed in 1279.

1274, 1281

Disastrous Mongol attacks on Japan both ended in defeat for
Khubilai. Naval forces set off from Korea and the lower Yangzi Delta
numbering all told in excess of 150,000 men and 4500 vessels. They
were repulsed by well-prepared Japanese defenders and by the ill
effects of a typhoon (the “divine wind,” or kamikaze, of popular
Japanese belief), which destroyed their ships.


An army sent by sea from South China against Champa seized the capital
but was forced to withdraw because of local conditions. There were
further assaults on Southeast Asia: An-nam and Champa (1285, 1287-88),
Burma (1287), and Java (1292-93).


Despite misgivings, the civil service examinations were reinstated,
but with built-in safeguards discriminating in favor of Mongols and
their non-Han supporters and against the Han Chinese.


The Mongol military system was based on a stadial structure of units
in garrisons spread around the country that was much more centralized
than the tribal divisions of the Khitans and Jurchens. The elite
imperial bodyguard, or kesig, was staffed by Mongols of noble blood
and served at the capital.

Unlike any Chinese experience before or since, the Yuan dynasty was
but one part of a much larger Mongol Empire. In China, the empire
adopted many of the trappings of Chinese state and society. Khubilai's
court was patterned after those of his Chinese predecessors, and he
and his successors adopted Chinese-style reign titles. The Yuan
government followed the Jurchens' example of consolidating the central
government's bureaus into one big department. It retained the
censorate but used primarily Mongols, and it built up a powerful,
independent military-affairs bureau. There was a four-tiered system
for bureaucratic preference: Mongols came first, followed by
non-Chinese ethnicities, northern Chinese, and finally southern
Chinese. The same quotas applied to examination candidates, and since
some 75 percent of the population was southern Chinese, the Chinese
were greatly disfavored.

The population of China was hit hard by the Mongol invasions and
wars. The depopulation of the north and migrations to the south were
so great that during the Yuan, at least 75 percent of the Chinese
population lived in the south.

Agriculture remained central to the national economy during the
Yuan. The introduction of sorghum helped revitalize and repopulate
northern China. The Mongols seized land for their own use such as in
support of their armed forces and often forced Chinese peasants into
servitude on that land. Imperial inspectors annually examined crops
and the food supply with a view to purchasing when stocks were ample,
for storage against famine. The Grand Canal was rebuilt (1289-92) from
the former Song capital at Hangzhou, a bustling metropolis in Yuan
times, to the Huai River, and it was extended farther north to the
outskirts of Beijing. Imperial roads were improved, and postal relays
of 200,000 horses were established. Charitable relief was organized
(1260) for scholars, orphans, and the sick, for whom hospitals were
provided (1271).

Paper money, first used in the Tang and carried on in Song and Jin
times, was continued under the Mongols. When the issuance of paper
currency was suggested to Ögödei (1236), Yelü Chucai secured
limitation to a value of 100,000 ounces of silver. Khubilai's Muslim
financier kept annual issues at an average of 511,400 ounces
(1260-69). His successor increased distributions (1276-82) to 10
million ounces each year. After the murder of that financier,
inflation ensued until a Uighur replacement reduced the rate of
printing to 5 million ounces (1290-91). All printing was discontinued
in 1311, as the dynasty's fortunes were on the wane.

In thought and religion, the Mongols were on the whole extremely
tolerant, and a wide host of religious groups built houses of worship
in Yuan-era cities. Chinggis was particularly drawn to the Daoist monk
Changchun (1148-1227). Other Great Khans favored Nestorian
Christianity [>]. The patriarch of Baghdad created an archbishopric of
Beijing (1275), and churches were built elsewhere in Chinese
cities. Mar Yabalaha, a pilgrim who traveled from Beijing to
Jerusalem, was elected patriarch (1281), and he sent his companion
Rabban Sauna to Rome and France. He negotiated with Pope Nicholas IV
an entente between the Nestorian and Roman churches. John of
Montecorvino (1246?-1328) was the first of several Roman missionaries
to China. He is said to have baptized 5,000 converts and was named by
the pope archbishop of Beijing (1307). Khubilai, for his part, favored
Tibetan Lamaist Buddhism; 'Phags-pa (1238-80), the man who devised a
script for the Mongolian language, was appointed Khubilai's imperial
mentor and governor of Tibet, and later became a close confidante of
the Great Khan. In the 1250s, Möngke Khan opened a series of debates
at court between Buddhists and Daoists, with Confucians in
attendance. In the end, Daoism lost out, and it even suffered some
repression under Khubilai, but it was never stamped out. The Cheng-Zhu
school of Neo-Confucianism became very popular through the private
academies throughout China during the Yuan.

Marco Polo [>], the Venetian merchant who traveled widely in China
(his “Cathay,” from Khitai) between 1275 and 1292 in the service of
Khubilai, has been the source of Western fascination from his own day
forward. His Description of the World was immediately translated into
other languages of Europe, and it became an instant success. He left
rich portraits of Hangzhou (Quinsai), Quanzhou (Zayton), and elsewhere
in the Mongol Empire; in his time, Quanzhou was the busiest deep-sea
port in the world.

In the realm of science, the itineraries of Zhao Rugua (1225) imply in
the precision of their bearings the use of a compass needle mounted on
a dry pivot. Meteorology developed to the extent that by the 14th
century the correlation between climatic changes and the sunspot cycle
was known.

During the Mongol period, new genres of literature appeared. Yuan
drama, or zaju, developed in north China, combining music and acting,
drawing on stories of older vintages. Vernacular fiction, perhaps
begun at the end of the Song, developed further in the Yuan. It took
several centuries for these genres to gain respectability.

Zhao Mengfu (1254-1322) was considered one of the great masters of
calligraphy in his day; he was as highly praised for his paintings of
horses and other livestock that were prominent in the Mongol
economy. Qian Xuan (1235-c. 1290) was perhaps the finest painter of
flowers and insects. Yuan-period painters drew inspiration from the
Northern Song artist Guo Xi, turning to a sharper, more
expressionistic view of nature. Yuan porcelain reveals in its
arabesques and its technique of writing in cobalt blue directly on
clear white paste the debt of Chinese potters to Persian models. From
these also is derived the Byzantine form of cloisonné.


The MING DYNASTY was founded by ZHU YUANZHANG (b. 1328, r. 1368-98),
who reigned as Taizu, the second time a peasant had risen all the way
to emperor. Owing to poverty, Taizu had become a Buddhist monk, but
later he turned to rebellion against the Mongols, leading a huge band
of followers in south China to conquer the north, the first time the
country was reunited through conquest from the south (the only other
time was by the Chinese Communists). He first took Nanjing (1356) and
set up a government there, and then he expanded to force the Mongols
out of Beijing (1368), Manchuria (1387), and Xinjiang (1388), as well
as through western and southwestern China. He kept Nanjing as his
capital. He changed the practice of reign titles, so that there would
be only one per reign, his being Hongwu. He furthered the two earlier
trends toward the centralization of power and the opening of the
avenues of access to bureaucratic advancement. The early Ming launched
expansion drives on the borders and overseas, while working to
minimize contacts between Chinese and foreigners; these restrictions
abated by the mid-15th century.

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Re: Life and Death of Civilizations...

Post by John »

Dear Steve,

Over the years, I've done hundreds of these analyses, and right away,
looking at the timeline text in the previous message, I can see two
major methodological issues:
  • A thorough generational analysis requires research a dozen or more
    sources, and it's clear that the best sources for this era were
    written 700 years ago and are in languages of the time. The article
    metions a "script for the Mongolian language." Without those sources,
    we can't do a complete analysis.
  • The Mongol empire spanned an enormous geographical area, that must
    have multiple generational timelines. So what I'm writing here is
    geographically limited.
So, much more original research and analysis would have to be done to
analyze just this one period completely. However, one of the
strengths of generational analysis is that you can get SOME
information, including some very important information, on very
limited information.

The outline in the previous message appears to identify three
generational crisis wars:
  • The wars of the 1190s that climaxed in 1206 with the proclamation
    of Genghis Khan as "ruler of the world.
  • The final collapse of the Song dynasty, climaxing in 1273.
  • The reconquest of the north by the Ming dynasty, climaxing
    in 1356, with a number of follow-on non-crisis momentum wars.
There's a very interesting section in the text of the previous posting
following the year 1315, when the civil service and Mongol military
systems were set up. The text describes what happened in the end of
the Recovery Era (first turning) into what happened in the Awakening
and Unraveling eras (second and third turnings).

The four-tier system would have been set up in the Recovery era
as a way of guaranteeing that there would never be a resurgence
of the defeated Han Chinese.

During the Awakening era, there was a blossoming of religions,
literature, drama, music, art, calligraphy. There were also civic
reforms, such as the use of paper money. This is typical of every
Awakening era. Throughout history, great ideas, especially religious
movements, are launched during Awakening eras, and become either
established or extinguished during Crisis eras.

Another emphasis in the text is agriculture. When I see phrases like
"The depopulation of the north and migrations to the south," I know
that the Malthus effect (the fact that population grows faster than
the food supply) has been playing a large part.

Here's a graph of the population of China that I picked up from
somewhere several years ago:


You can see from this graph that China has suffered a number of
extremely dramatic population collapses over the centuries, including
the one that we're talking about here in the 1200s. The article
mentions that "introduction of sorghum" as an agricultural innovation
that increased the food supply.

By the way, you can see from the graph that the population collapse
that occurred in the 1200s was much larger than the effect of
the plague in the 1300s. Actually, it would be fascinating to
analyze all these changes in population. I'd particularly like
to know what happened in 200 AD.

The article mentions a series of debates between Buddhists and Daoists
in the 1250s Unraveling era, and discrimination against the Daoists.
This is absolutely fascinating, and something I'd want to know a great
deal more about, because this would be where new fault lines would be
developing, leading to the next crisis war. I would expect to see the
four-tier system to completely unravel during this period. We see the
same thing today in modern China, with Beijing's violent repression of
the Falun Gong.

In fact, it's even more fascinating that two important themes of
of the Mongol era -- religion and agriculture -- are important today.
China suffered massive starvation in the late 1950s during the
Great Leap Forward, and Beijing is importing a great deal of food
today to head off a new rebellion.

So, this analysis has raised a lot of new questions that require a lot
more original research. Still, this analysis shows the strength of
the generational methodology. A great deal of understanding has been
derived from relatively little information, and the areas where more
information is needed have been clearly identified.

The generational history provides a lot of information that an
"ordinary" history does not. Many historical accounts are little more
than lists of dates of tribes and kings and battles. Generational
Dynamics respects all that information, but provides you a context
that tells you much more -- the "soul" of a civilization, an idea
of what's really going on.

Let me say again for the fourth or fifth time that this is a bare
bones analysis, and that a full analysis requires research into many
more sources, including original Mongolian sources from the 1200s.

The Generational Dynamics methodology can be used to analyze any
society or country at any time in history, even with very little
information. But as more information becomes available, the analysis
becomes more deeply nuanced and textured, and its relevance to today's
events becomes clearer.

If this kind of thing interests you, and you have expertise in some of
these dynasties and empires, then I'd like to encourage you to do your
own research and generational analyses, and post them here. If you're
interested in doing original, leading edge research in history, this
is a good place to start.

As I said, I've done hundreds of these kinds of analyses, but I've
barely scratched the surface. There are easily tens of thousands more
of them to be done. It will take an army of graduate students to do
them over the next 20 years.

Last edited by John on Sat Dec 04, 2010 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Clarification

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Re: Life and Death of Civilizations...

Post by John »

Dear Steve,

One more thing - you asked about communism. This is a good example of
a "religion" that was launched in an Awakening era (the "revolution of
1848"). It was extinguished during the Paris Commune in 1871, but it
was established by the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, and
Mao's Communist Revolution in China in 1949, and in Cuba in 1961.

What's fascinating about communism is that the system has collapsed
during Unraveling eras, in Russia, in China and in Cuba. The only
major communist government today is North Korea, and that's on the
verge of collapse into a new crisis war.

Communism has failed because it's mathematically impossible.

As I mentioned in my BigPeace article on Cuba, it's easy to prove
mathematically that socialism cannot work as population grows. If
you're a serf lord or a war lord and you control a couple of hundred
people, then socialism is easy. You just appoint your son to be chief
bureaucrat, and have him monitor all commercial transactions. As the
population P grows exponentially (proportional to e**P), the number of
transactions between two people grows even faster (proportional to
e**2P). So as the population grows, the number of bureaucrats grows
even faster.

That's why Russia, East Germany, Cuba and North Korea all got stuck in
the 1950s.

See the following:

** 16-Sep-10 News -- Cuba's seismic shift has global implications
** ... 16#e100916


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Re: Life and Death of Civilizations...

Post by John »

Dear Steve,

After posting the above messages, it occurred to me that the
violent genocidal wars that occurred in the 1200s between the
Han and Mongols must have some counterpart today, and so I googled
the words "han versus mongol."

I got stuff about Han-Mongol archery and a lot of stuff about
"Roman Empire vs Han Dynasty."

But then I found that there's a 2004 book called "Wolf Totem" by Han
Chinese author Lu Jiamin that has become extremely popular and has
polarized Han-Mongol relations.

Here's a web page that describes the controversy, and refers to the
Mongol conquest in the 1200s:
Sheep in Wolves’ Clothing? The Book the Han Nationalists Love to Loath

By James Leibold

> “The publication of this book and its praise by famous personalities
> is actually preparing public opinion for the carrying out of racial
> genocide against the Han.”

> –Zhao Fengnian, writing on Hanwang, 17 Dec 2008

What book could cause one Chinese netizen to “shiver with fear from
head to toe” and others to suggest that the Han people might once
again face genocide? Wolf Totem, the semi-autobiographical polemic of
Han author Lü Jiamin (aka Jiang Rong) and his confessional
self-awakening about the beauty, strength and freedom of the Mongolian
steppe and its lupine culture.

Despite the heated public debate this 2004 novel has generated on the
Chinese mainland—with its estimated twenty million pirated and legal
copies inviting comparison with Mao’s “Little Red Book”—Wolf Totem has
generated surprisingly little academic analysis in the West. Here The
China Beat has yet again proven a trailblazer, offering a number of
thoughtful reviews and helpful links to other discussions on the

The book’s diverse themes (the struggle for freedom, ecological
destruction, man versus nature, clash of cultures, and martial valor)
help to explain, at least partially, its mass appeal and disparate
interpretations, with the judging panel of the inaugural Man Asia
Literary Prize, for example, praising Wolf Totem’s “passionate
argument about the complex interrelationship between nomads and
settlers, animals and human beings, nature and culture,” while the
novel’s Chinese editor noted its attraction among “women who want
their men to be more like wolves and MBA students who want to learn
more wolfishness in business.”

In what follows, I seek to take the discussion in a slightly different
direction by suggesting that the novel and its 50,000-character
epilogue invite reconsideration of the place of Han identity within
Chinese society and the increasing fragility of “multiculturalism with
Chinese characteristics.” In the Anglophone world, Han is often used
uncritically as a synonym for “Chinese,” while those who have studied
the “nationalities question” in the West argue that “Han” functions as
an “empty” or “residual” category for all those “Chinese” who are not
one of the “backward” yet colorful, singing and dancing minorities.

More Than an Empty Signifier

But Wolf Totem and much of the Sinophone debate it has sparked is
specifically related to the nature and scope of Han identity within
Chinese society. Here, like the 1988 documentary River Elegy, Wolf
Totem offers a scathing critique of the conservative and servile
nature of sedentary Han culture, with several critics arguing they are
essentially “brothers born of the same parents”. Yet Wolf Totem
shifts the Han people’s succor from the dynamic “blue ocean” culture
of the West to the wild, nomadic “wolf spirit” of the steppe.

In his long and didactic epilogue, which was excluded from Howard
Goldblatt’s Penguin translation, Lü Jiamin argues that a unique
steppe-sown dialectic has propelled Chinese civilization forward over
the last 5000 years, with the steppe’s nomadic races (Jurchens,
Mongols, Manchus, etc.) providing the docile, insular, and sheep-like
Han race with regular, re-invigorating “blood infusions” from the
dynamic, martial, and democratic wolf spirit.

This highly essentialized re-imaging of Chinese history explicitly
bifurcates “Chineseness” into a sedentary/Han/sheep versus
nomadic/Mongol/wolf dyad, rendering any notion of shared national
identity highly problematic. In fact, the author publically chastised
Goldblatt for glossing Han as Chinese on the first page of his
translated novel, for it pastes over the deep divisions of race and
culture which are central to his iconoclastic re-construction of
Chinese history and identity.

Coagulated Cohesion

Several commentators have rightly labeled Lü Jiamin’s narrative as
“fascism” or “crypto-fascist.” But this blood and ecological based
dialectic is deeply rooted in the mindset of modern Chinese
intellectuals. Leading late Qing and Republican-era thinkers,
including those as diverse as Sun Yat-sen and Gu Jiegang, identified
race mixing (or in Sun’s words the “smelting together in a single
furnace” as the ultimate solution to China’s lack of national

The influential bilingual author Lin Yutang, for example, argued that
the strength and continuity of Chinese civilization was built on the
periodic “infusion of new blood,” which, in his words, acted like “a
kind of phylogentic monkey-gland grafting” and resulted in “a new
bloom of culture after each introduction of new blood” as the
civilized and comfortable lifestyle of the Han people “render them
helpless at the hands of a fresher and more war-like race.”

Today, most Chinese intellectuals avoid any direct reference to blood
or race, but the natural and non-violent process of “fusion” remains
the touchstone of the CCP’s long-term solution to the nationalities
question. As a sort of “coagulated-core” or rolling “snowball”, the
magnetic Han majority and its magnanimous Confucian culture continue
to draw the small and scattered minorities together into a harmonious
whole—producing the unique “plurality and organic unity” of the
Chinese nation/race.

In fact, it is the relocation of this racial dynamism to the steppe
and its nomadic races that renders Wolf Totem so highly
controversial. It has lead to a healthy dose of criticism in
mainstream academic and literary circles and even more heated vitriol
in popular online forums.

In particular, a small but increasingly vocal group of Han racial
nationalists view Lü’s book as a sort of nomadic version of the
“Protocols of the Elders of Zion”: a secret plot to handover power and
authority in China to the Mongols, Manchus and other nomadic
minorities, thereby undermining and eventually destroying the inherent
superiority and centrality of the Han race and its 5000 year-old

Arguing that Han is more than an empty or meaningless category, the
Hanists seek to revitalize “Han” culture and identity while
redirecting patriotic anger towards the lurking “enemy within.” The
“Han revivalist movement” is a broad church, so to speak, attracting
Chinese youth with a wide variety of interests and needs; yet the
online campaign against Wolf Totem reveals some of the more extreme
elements of this movement.

The Howl of the Han Sheep

Take, for example, the nearly 40,000-character reply to Lü Jiamin’s
epilogue that has been widely circulated on the Chinese
Internet. Entitled “A Han Person’s Howl: An Angry Critique of Wolf
Totem’s 41 Fallacies,” this essay appears to have been first posted on
the popular Hanwang portal under the pseudonym “The Fierce and
Ambitious Flea Scratcher” in December 2008. This anonymous blogger
provides a meticulous, and at times sophisticated (albeit highly
repetitive), point-by-point critique to a previously circulated list
of 41 reasons for the novel’s popularity.

Labeling Lü Jiamin as the unpatriotic “scum of the Han race”, the
blogger argues that the entire book is one long act of flattery to the
nomadic races that does not hold up to rational scrutiny and a
fact-based reading of Chinese history. Seeking to rouse his fellow Han
netizens into action, the book’s dangers are personalized: “Han
compatriots, we all have mothers. Our race is our common mother, and
we absolutely cannot sit by and watch as our good and kind mother is
insulted and defiled by others. We must rise in action and beat back
the insults of these extreme racists. We must demand blood for blood
and an eye for an eye.”

Replete with scathing and personal attacks on Lü Jiamin and his
“dimwitted command of history,” the blogger seeks to demonstrate the
scrounging and uncivilized nature of nomadic culture and how the
repeated invasion of nomadic races sidetracked Han civilization from
its natural path of progression. In this author’s own essentialized
reading of history, Song China is depicted as the mainstream of human
development and the world’s most advanced civilization, possessing 85%
of global wealth and placing the Han on the doorstep of capitalism.

Rather than a life-saving transfusion of nomadic blood, the blogger
argues that the Mongol empire’s [thirteenth]-century invasion of China
was “a case of rape!”: “an unprecedented crime against humanity!”,
which completely destroyed Han civilization and caused China to
irrevocably fall behind the West. The Ming dynasty repaired some of
the damage, but the Manchu Qing resumed the shameless pilfering of Han
society while also opening the doors to foreign imperialism and
further humiliation.

Nomadic races like the Mongols and the Manchus are parasites, a group
of “weasels”, “crawling bugs” and “uncivilized barbarians”, incapable
of creating any independent civilization and only able to survive on
the periodic raping and pillaging of the highly creative and more
humane Han civilization. Among the one hundred Chinese inventions
identified by Arnold J. Toynbee, how many of them, the author asks,
were created by the nomadic races?

In reply to Lü Jiamin’s suggestion that the Han people should
compensate the indigenous inhabitants of the grasslands for destroying
their fragile ecosystem, the blogger cries foul: rather the brutal and
heartless natives should pay compensation to the Han for the savage
massacre of 60 million Han people. This would amount to US$75 trillion
if one used the minimum standard compensation of 10,000 yuan per
person, and to a further US$87 trillion if one took into consideration
the damages suffered by the Han economy and emotional pain and
suffering caused by these repeated “blood transfusions.”

Yet the author repeatedly mocks the current weakness of the steppe
nomads: “even if you placed every single blade of your grass, every
head of livestock, every felt rug, each piece of animal dung, all your
dry goods, every kilometer of your rivers, all the hawks flying in the
sky, every wild rabbit, and of course, your most sacred wolves onto
the auction table, you still couldn’t manage to pay this amount.”

Throughout this rambling polemic, the blogger makes repeated mention
of the Han people’s “valiant spirit” and “martial spirit”, offering
several warnings to Lü Jiamin and the book’s supporters: “Remember,
barbarians! I will remember my entire life, your peddling of this
exceedingly humiliating theory, and insist that the next generation
also remember. We did not instigate this racial hatred; rather you
forced it upon us. If there comes a day when the flames of our
indignant anger burns across the globe, don’t blame us! Rather you’re
asking for it! China cannot be stopped from producing a second Ran
Min,” the fourth-century Han military leader who is praised by Han
racial nationalists as a sort of “Hitler of Ancient East Asia” for his
race-based attacks on the “five barbarian tribes”.

Colonial Necrophilia or the Lustful Bite of a Werewolf?

But how do the Han racial nationalists explain the vast popularity of
Wolf Totem among Han readers? Doesn’t its massive Han readership
validate Lü Jiamin’s national imaginary? In another posting on Hanwang
entitled “What is the psychology behind those Han people who like Wolf
Totem,” a blogger writing under the pseudonym “Iron” offers a short
story to explain the novel’s popularity.

There was once an old palace eunuch who still had sexual desires even
though he was no longer able to have sex. He confessed his desires to
a beautiful young woman under his charge. The eunuch urged the woman
to invite a young man back to her room for sex, and then hide next
door and aroused himself by watching their lovemaking through a small
peephole in the wall.

Those Han who read and enjoy Wolf Totem are no different from this
randy eunuch. “What I fear most,” Iron writes, “is that those slavish
[Han people] without a clue think the eunuch’s actions are completely
normal, and instead label the other man’s erection as ‘Han
chauvinism’, while taking pleasure in the treachery of the eunuch’s
‘peep show’.”

This author and other Han racial nationalists are tapping into the
growing sense of cultural emptiness and social dislocation that has
accompanied the rapid modernization and Westernization of Reform-era
China. Several have noted how the commodification of minority cultures
is increasingly driven by frontier exoticism and sex tourism with, in
Nicole Barnes’ words, the “fear of emasculation driv[ing] Han men to
their nation’s cultural frontier in an existential search for virility
and assertiveness.”

This type of “internal Orientalism” is certainly not unique to China,
where the love of colonized peoples and their exotic/erotic cultures
functions as a form of “colonial necrophilia” in the words of Ghassan
Hage. Yet, for the Han racial nationalists, this act of lovemaking
threatens to render the Han race lifeless as the alluring yet
poisonous bite of a werewolf ultimately proves fatal. Rather than
harassing patriotic sites like Hanwang, the Hanists call on the
authorities to act quickly in banning Wolf Totem and outlawing the
type of “reverse racism” that undermines national solidarity and

Han Cyber-Nationalism

Despite the sheer lunacy associated with this idea of Han racial
genocide, the online hate-speak generated by Wolf Totem and the
growing resentment of minority privilege shows signs of spilling over
onto Chinese streets, with the recent race riots in Lhasa, Shaoguan,
and Ürümqi an important reminder of how Internet rage can whip the
marginalized and socially disposed into bloody action. The authorities
in China have thus far proven effective (if not ruthless) in cracking
down on racial violence after the fact, but current legal regulations
and their implementation fail to go far enough in outlawing and
prosecuting cyber-racism. Current laws governing the use of Chinese
cyberspace explicitly outlaw any communication that “injures national
unity” or “provokes hatred and discrimination among nationalities and
injures national solidarity”; yet one can still find numerous examples
of minzu-based hate-speak on the Chinese Internet.

Hanwang and other Hanist sites were temporarily “harmonized” (viz
“closed down”) after the July 2009 Ürümqi Riots that left nearly 200
people dead. But this site and other web forums quickly
reopened. Today, Hanwang boasts a thousand daily postings and over one
hundred thousand registered members, making its community only
slightly smaller than the leading White nationalist portal Stormfront.

In the absence of a frank, open and robust exchange on ethnic issues
in the Chinese academy and media—where a variety of voices and
different perspectives can be held up to rational public scrutiny—the
influence of these extremist views are likely to increase. China’s
Internet Revolution has certainly broadened the scope of public
discourse, but not all forms of cyber-activism contribute to liberal
thought and action. The dynamic nature of the Internet and the patchy
coverage of the state’s censorship regime leave “dark corners” where
the vitriolic howl of Han nationalists goes largely unanswered but not
This is really powerful xenophobic stuff, and adds a lot to my
previous analyses about the coming civil war in China. It shows how
historical generational analyses almost always are highly relevant to
today's events.


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A Chinese Malthus: Hong Liang-ji's idea on population

Post by John »

** A Chinese Malthus: Hong Liang-ji's idea on population increase

Hong Liang-ji (1746-1809) was born in Wujin county, Jiangsu
province. He was a famous man of letters and geography. In 1790, when
he was 44 years old, he became ‘jinshi'( a title given to the
successful candidate of ‘keju' examinations ). In 1799, when a big
peasant revolt had happened in Sichuan,Shanxi and Hubei provinces, he
wrote a letter attacking bad policy as one causative factor of the
revolt, thus incurring the Emperor's anger. He was exiled to Ili
district near the Russian boarder. He lived during the
Qianlong-Jiaqing period( 1736-1820 ). A hundred years after the Manchu
conquest, the economic situation developed and cultivated land
increased considerably. But population growth was more rapid than
growth in land and consumer goods. Therefore, in 1774( Qianlong 39
nian ) Wang Lun's peasant revolt happened in Shandong province. In
1796( Jiaqing yuan nian ), the Bailianjiao revolt occurred and
continued for nine years, spreading to nine provinces. These facts
stimulated Hong's thinking.

Hong continued on the theme of Xu Guang-qi (1562-1633 ), who said that
population doubled every thirty years, and Hong developed it as
follows :

‘As peace has existed for a long time, the population has increased
five times from thirty years ago, ten times from sixty years ago. If
compared with a hundred years ago or more, it has increased more than
twenty times.'

‘If a man marry and make three children, and those children also
marry, the family will be eight. If each child marries and makes three
grandsons, and they also marry, the family will be more than twenty,
although some of them will pass away. Thus the family will be more
than fifty or sixty persons including the next generations. Of course
some families will disappear, but some prosperous families will
compensate for the decreased number.' (Hong Bei-jiang Shiwenji, Poems
and Letters of Hong Bei-jiang , Bei-jiang is a pen name of Hong

On the other hand, he observed, the increase of social wealth such as
cultivated land and houses is very slow. So population increase
exceeds by a great degree that of land and houses. ‘Therefore land and
houses are always inadequate, households and population are always
surplus.' Hong's view on the relation between cultivated land and
population has been regarded as very similar to that of Malthus's view
( 1766-1834 ).

Then what were the bad results of excess population and Hong's
solution for the population problem ? In the first place, the standard
of living will decrease rapidly. ‘If one family with four persons has
ten rooms and 100 mu ( a Qing measure, which equals about 6.0 hectare)
land, they are rich. In the sons' days, even if the family members are
fewer than ten persons, rooms and land will be scarcely enough. In the
grandsons' days ‘family members will be more than twenty persons, so
even if they eat measuring their share and live measuring their space,
those will certainly be insufficient.'( Hong Bei-jiang )

In the second place, inflation will bother people's lives. ‘Nowadays
peasants have increased more than ten times within the same
land. Merchants have increased more than ten times within the same
commodity.' Thus the rice price increased six or seven times, and the
cotton cloth price increased five or six times. Some honest people
even if they worked hard their whole lives, could not escape from
hunger and coldness.

Lastly, unemployment and social unrest. ‘When households increase ten
times compared with former days, those who live in idleness increase
several times more than ten.' In this situation if natural disasters
such as floods and droughts attack people, they cannot wait for death
to come. They will make rebellion.

Hong's solutions are two. One is ‘ heaven earth adjustment', which
means adjustment by floods, droughts and epidemic diseases. The other
one is ‘ Emperor's adjustment', which means development of production,
immigration for reclamation, decrease of taxation, opposition to
luxuriousness and annexation of land.

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Re: Life and Death of Civilizations...

Post by vincecate »

John wrote:I'd particularly like
to know what happened in 200 AD.
What was going on in Rome might also have been going on in China.

189 A.D.: medicine

Plague (possibly smallpox) kills as many as 2,000 per day in Rome. Dying farmers are unable to harvest their crops, dying carters are not able to deliver what grain there is, and food shortages bring riots in the city. ... -century-d

Also, another Malthus type back then (same URL):

195 A.D.: population

"Scourges, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, and wars are to be regarded as blessings to crowded nations since they serve to prune away the luxuriant growth of the human race," writes the Carthaginian ecclesiast Tertullian (Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus), 35.

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Re: Life and Death of Civilizations...

Post by vincecate »

sbokros wrote: Why was the Kahn or Hunn dynasty able to last so long?? Or some of the Chinese dynasties?? Or the Roman or Greek Empires?? The Ottoman Empire?? Why did Communisim in the Soviet Union fail so quickly, relatively?
I think this is a really interesting question. I think there is a natural tendency for governments to grow over time and then when they get too big to collapse or be over-extended/overthrown/invaded. They get to be too large a fraction of the economy and too invasive in everything. In the case of Switzerland and also The Dutch Republic it seems that having a confederation that kept the powers of the central government in check worked to limit the growth of the central government. In a confederation, or even among the states in the US, there is competition between the local governments that keeps them in check. If New York gets too crazy with taxes then rich people can move out. So a confederation that can limit the central government seems to be a very stable system.

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