Will China Take Over USA? (laowhy86)

Jun 23, 2021 391.1K Views 4.2K Comments

Join former Chinese resident Matt Tye (laowhy86) and me as we chat about China’s rise and America’s decline and where the two countries stand right now.► MATT’S CHANNEL (LAOWHY86): https://www.youtube.com/user/laowhy86
► MATT’S INSTAGRAM (LAOWHY86): https://www.instagram.com/laowhy86/

So beautiful. Look at these
palms. Let’s go this way? Yeah,
sure. I’m still like in culture
shock because. And you’ve been
back… two years? Two and a half
years. Two and a half years.
Me too! Okay, I’m here with Matt
Tye. Yeah. Laowhy86 on YouTube.
One of the coolest
channels I’ve come across.
That’s yours. No, that’s yours!
That’s yours. Specialises in
China. Yes. So, if you’re
interested in China and also
China from someone that lived
there, spoke the language,
married a Chinese woman, moved
back to the States, has
all sorts of interesting takes
on China and the US – this is
your guy. I’m gonna leave the
links at the end, but I got one
big question for this video,
and it’s something that
is quite popular online. Sure.
You know, the US’s
superpower is declining.
China is rising. Sure.
This is, you know… Eventually,
China will be the biggest
economy and not too long
from now, right? Yup. And not
per capita. Not per capita. But
where are we really at? Like
from your perspective of living
there… For me, I think…
You know, I’ve been to China,
I know the average Chinese
person does not live as well as
the average American. I know
that’s like a basic fact. For
sure. But where things are
right now at this very moment
in 2021 – I’m not
exactly sure. So, that’s
why I’ve got you here. Okay.
So, a really interesting take
on this is that like you
said: the American Empire is on
the decline, it’s on the
downfall, right? Right. Whereas
the Chinese is uplifting and
it’s all the Chinese
government’s doing: they’re
able to lift all their
citizens out of poverty,
things are getting better
and better every day while we
stagnate. We have no public
transport to speak of
in terms of what China’s
building: high-speed rail
stuff, actual infrastructure.
Right. If you look at those
facts – yeah! Yeah. I mean, like
it’s not pretty, right? That
being said, this is what
the media won’t tell you
because it doesn’t
generate clicks and it’s not as
romantic. The media
feeds on this idea that
America’s in decline. Mm hmm.
When you feed on that idea, it
becomes a snowball. So, every
other media splinter media
group or whatever is gonna go
with that from a different
perspective: look at this
decaying neighborhood, look at
this bridge, look at this. Look
at all the retail stores that
they’re closing down, look at
this empty mall you grew up
with – it goes all the
way from politics down to like
personal pieces. Sure.
America’s decline.
Whereas, you look at Chinese
media, which is state media,
anything coming out of China
goes through the state’s
mouthpiece, right? There’s
only one mouthpiece in
China. There is no competing
media. It’s not a free country.
It’s one of the least free
countries in the world. So,
when you have everything going
through the state mouthpiece
propaganda board and censorship
board, because that’s how it works,
the only thing you get
is literally like 50% alcohol
distilled straight up like
absent level propaganda from
China. Okay. And people have to
see it like that because when a
country like China blocks their
populace off from social media,
the great firewall, completely
censors any dissenting
opinion or even doesn’t
want their populace to join the
international stage by saying:
“The rest of the world hates us,
we are Chinese, let’s separate
ourselves”. That mental block,
even that, alone, is enough to
really change the warped
perspective of not only Chinese
citizens but then people
consuming Chinese media outside
of China. Yeah. And it’s to
China’s advantage to want to
portray its system as feasible,
viable, and attractive because
it’s an authoritarian system
that really sh*ts on the the human
rights of its populace, right?
You have to sell it to
your populace, and then you
have to sell it to the rest of
the world. So, there’s two battling…
not really battling opinions:
you have the the Western media,
American media that says
America’s on a decline.
Then you have the Chinese media
which isn’t allowed to say
anything bad about China.
So you have basically both
extremes? Yes. On the opposite
end? Yeah. Is it somewhere in
the middle? It’s kind of
somewhere in the middle. Okay.
So if you look at this
perspective like the coming
China threat, I think
the whole America’s decline
thing is a whole different
thing. Like you can look into
that yourself, you can see
around you: are you… Did you
lose your job, you know…
Are you in a worse situation
than you were a little while
ago? You can look at that
from a realistic perspective
but with China, you have to be
there to understand that. Okay.
Otherwise, you’re just
gonna be consuming state media
from China. But what about on
the streets say right now,
it depends obviously
where, but you’re on the
streets: you’re looking around,
the average Chinese person’s
looking around and they’re
seeing their lives getting
better, right?
For the most part? Yeah, I mean,
for the most part in terms of
if you’re comparing to the 90s
where they didn’t have that
much money. Okay. You’re maybe
driving around in like… uh… you
know, $2,000 car now. Right.
Like things are obviously and
clearly better than when you
are starving, right? Yes. That
being said, that gray area of
where China was booming when
I was there in 2008, all
the way, I would say… I would
say the kind of feeling of
positivity started slowing down
around 2013-2014.
So, when you would talk
to Chinese away from other
people, they would open, they
would speak with you freely?
You can get that, you can get that.
And you were you speaking in
Chinese with them, right? Yeah,
I speak in Chinese. So, you’re
getting the inside? Yes. Like,
they’re not looking you as a
total foreigner, they’re
respecting you because you
spoke the language, right?
Exactly. Okay. Now, the problem
with that is that it went
from this gray where China was
booming and it was doing really
well because it was still an
authoritarian dictatorship but
it allowed its people…
I shouldn’t say a lot, I hate
that word, it kind of
relinquished some of the
shackles of the previous
systems made under Chairman
Mao. Okay. So, that kind
of that gradual liberalism was
never on paper but it was kinda
just the way things work: to
start a company was fairly
easy, a lot of the red tape was
cut out there, it was
this gray area that was just
kinda blossoming and booming
for these Chinese people and
for them, that was a very
positive time but slowly, the
surveillance state started
catching up, right? And when Xi
Jinping took power, instead of
being this the liberal, you
know, dictator that was gonna
bring about change that we all
hoped he turned out to
be more of a fan of Chairman
Mao. So to consolidate
power at that kind of alarming
speed and to um… you know, put
up all the cameras – there’s one
camera for every seven citizens
now, right? Wow! It’s a duty…
So, in China, there’s…. not a
town like this really, but
there’ll be a camera on every
pole? Yes. Okay. And that’s
not to uh… ensure the
safety of everybody, it’s also
to catch people out. Ensure the
tracking of everybody. Exactly!
I mean, there’s a social credit
system, that “Black Mirror” fantasy
that people are having is a
reality now. Right. Well, sort
of like 2020 in the US, it
feels like a “Black Mirror”, at
least in San Francisco, it’s
felt like “Black Mirror”. I got
you, yeah, it’s a little
different here. Okay, let
me…let me ask you this
though: the Chinese are
very good at having long-term
thinking, planning, they’re
strategic, and it’s not a
democracy, so, it’s less messy
in the sense that they can get
everyone on board and push
forward even if it’s by force.
Yes. Right now in the US, we’re
more divided than ever,
at least that’s what it
seems and things aren’t
moving in any positive
direction politically, it seems
like, everything’s a
battle. Right. So with their
strategy, like how do we compete
with that? That… that’s
something that has to be a
mental, a mental conclusion
that you have to make yourself:
do you want to… and then
maybe this is an attractive
option for people,
but do you wanna live under an
authoritarian dictatorship that
tracks your every movement,
tells you what you can think
and do, dictates where you go
to school, what you do in the
future, right? All for the
option of having… I don’t know,
better infrastructure, better
public transportation, things
like that? Or would you rather
make your own life yours? And
I think if you don’t… if you
don’t look at it, if you look
at it from face value, a lot of
people, maybe younger people
here in the US would prefer a
thing where: okay, whatever,
as long as I can go out with my
friends and get drunk and like…
whatever, eat dinner with
them, or do whatever they like,
to go to the club or whatever –
then that’s fine. Not have
to worry, right? I don’t don’t
care, right? I’m not… as
long as I’m not involved in
politics, they say, right?
Okay. Now, the thing is when
you actually look at the nitty
gritty of this, you can, you
can pretend like China’s
actually pulled all this stuff
up, but in reality, they haven’t.
So if you look at
the poverty alleviation
standard: they pulled
800 million people out of
poverty. Number one: who put
them there first, right? Is the
principles of the very
same government that’s
dealing with them now. And
I like to use this example
to show you how this is not
working. The poverty
standard of the US is $13,000
per year, right? The poverty
standard for China is 400
something dollars a year,
so you have to understand the
difference here. A lot of
Americans are looking… oh, look
at this poverty alleviation,
look at how well the
government’s done. Let’s go
down here. Yeah. Look at how
well the government’s done in
China not knowing that 400
something dollars a year is not
something they could ever
sustain themselves. Right.
Okay, to be fair life is much
cheaper in China. It is, but
it’s not $400 a year much
cheaper. In a big city, it’s
what? Half the price? We’re in
Carlsbad, San Diego.
If you wanna have a lifestyle that
was comfortable, if you want to
eat like cheese for example,
you’re gonna spend a lot more
money in China than you would
here. Anyway, my point is that
when you… when the government
manipulates figures like that,
when you make it an
on-level playing field and
then, what happens is, all of
the kind of small charities
and stuff that were operating
out of China, like a small
village program – those are gone
now because the government
says: no, poverty’s gone. So,
they shut those things down.
So, the actual people in need
don’t get what they want,
right? It’s just that you don’t
hear from those people. Rural
China is a dire place. It’s a
dire place. It’s not like the
US, right? What about say,
okay, I haven’t been there in a
long time but like Gary,
Indiana. That’s not rule but
like just you’re from
Upstate, New York originally.
Yeah. I’m from Vermont originally.
You’re going to some of those
backwoods towns, they look
pretty depressed. Sure. But not
even a comparison? No, I mean,
we’re talking about some of
these places that I mean, it’s
dirt roads which is one thing
but sometimes there’s no shoes.
I’ve been to villages where the
kids were were blind for
malnourishment. This is…
we’re talking about Somalia
level poverty in some of these
areas like Gansu. It’s not the
same thing, right? And I’m not
pinpointing like I am showing,
I’m talking about extreme
poverty here but the standard
of living amongst a poor person
in China is much lower than the
standard of living here in the
US. And yet you can say, oh,
give him some time to catch up
but that’s the problem is that
that wealth, wealth
inequalities is growing in
China because the poor people
don’t have a voice or an option
to make life better. Same here
though, right? Sure. In a way.
Like especially with the
pandemic, people are getting
richer or poorer, right? Yeah.
Like the wealthy is getting
wealthier. That’s absolutely
true. But you’re starting like
the bar is set higher here. It
is. Is that fair to say? If the
bar set higher and not only
that, people still have access
to charity, right? The
government in China shuts down
the charities that are helping
the poor people because it
makes China look bad. It makes
China say: oh, we didn’t
alleviate poverty. So, you have
a state literally getting in
the way of of alleviation while
saying simultaneously that
they’ve already pulled it off.
Okay. So, I thought that
your answer would be along
these lines but to sum it up,
you’re basically saying, you
know, as America’s, let’s say,
losing its role to some degree.
Sure and China’s increasing
its role. I mean, what are we
looking at? And of course, you
can’t be a futurist but like…
it’s not even close right now
or it’s like the the scales are
starting to tip in the sense
that you know, in twenty years,
we pick our heads up and we’re
like, whoa! They really got it
going on there and we’re
sort of hurting here? Sure.
From what you will see, China
will continue to portray itself
as a world leader, right? Yeah.
Whether that’s the case or not,
you have to find out yourself.
You can talk to people in
China, which I do.
Now, that being said, if
you’re really looking at
metrics like, let’s say
militarily: China’s
wildly behind militarily. Yes,
their navy is bigger than ours,
but if you wanna do a
d**k measuring competition
here, it’s not, it’s not even
close. Right. I don’t think
that’s how it should be but the
usable navy or unusable
military in China is so far
behind the US. No conflict is
really feasible in the near
future and that’s something
I like to tell people as they all
get riled up either one like:
let’s go kick their a*s or you
have the other people that are
like: holy s**t that would be
awful, like it would be. Yeah.
The realistic situation is a
water sign it would be
devastating. Military, way
behind. In terms of… Way
behind but catching up? Catching
up, catching up. Skill level,
actual battle experience – zero,
right? Right. Catching up
technologically? Yes. Absolutely.
But for me that scenario is
unfeasible for the time being.
Okay. Ideologies might be
against each other, right?
But it’s not actually going to
lead to a battle or a conflict
unless… unless the China just started
rapidly losing power in China.
Okay. So, I know I’m
asking you to be a futurist
here but like… does
the average American
have a serious concern or
right to be concerned about,
you know, China being the top
dog in the near future or not?
Uh, yes and no. Number one:
I don’t think China will be the
top dog. Why? Because it’s you
have to be cool, okay?
Soft power? Soft power is so
important around the world and
that no one does soft power
like the US. Right. This is
just the reality, whether you
like it or not. The reality is
America’s still the coolest
country in the world because
everyone from around the world
can come here and make
something cool about it – that’s
what makes it cool. Right.
Okay. Black culture – it’s the
coolest culture in the US.
Right. And in terms of
consumerism, right? Right.
All of these different… look at
Latino culture! Yeah. Latinx
culture, the people can come
together and actually make
something of themselves and
then people within the US and
outside the US consume it,
right? China doesn’t do that.
China doesn’t have soft power
exports that people think is
cool, you understand? You think
they can get it? No. No.
I mean… Because the world
doesn’t know Chinese so well?
I mean, we’re lucky right
now that English is the
de facto world language. It wasn’t
before, it won’t always be but
that’s definitely in our
favor. My counterpoint is
democracy is working in favor of
coolness. Look at Korea: it’s a
tiny country that nobody
cared about and everybody knows
K-pop now. Yeah. It’s not just
K-pop, it’s Korean barbecue,
it’s food, it’s culture, it’s
cinema, it’s fashion, right?
Yeah. That’s infiltrated white
America, that’s soft power.
Yeah. China doesn’t have soft
power. You know what China
has to do is claim soft power?
That “Oh, Korea used to be a part
of China. So, that’s ours”.
So, in… I hate to use
this word “ruling the world” or
being the superpower which
there always has been that battle…
Unfortunately, that’s the way
the world works, it’s
Game of Thrones. It is! Like I
used to be against every bit of
American foreign policy,
and then I realized:
well, if the US just chills
out, it’s not like the
world gets all peaceful and
great. I mean, I’m not for a
lot of the US’s foreign policy,
I’m not for war,
that’s what I’ve liked
especially in the last
few years: there’s no real
interventions in the Middle East,
that’s sort of nice. I like
that. It is! But I also have
seen enough of the world to
understand that… it’s dark!
In many ways. And if one country isn’t
controlling, another is trying
to control. Yeah. Okay.
So, you’re saying soft power is a
huge component to that control?
It’s massive. How are you gonna
sell the young people or the
populace outside of politics
or like grand gestures
of bridge building or
something? How are you gonna
sell that to a young populace
that China is cool? Because
unfortunately, Chinese people
don’t believe China is cool,
right? I think China’s awesome
in terms of a culture, in terms
of a country. Yeah. But you
can’t export those very…
those very not on the surface,
very minutiae details
that you have to discover
yourself within China.
You can’t export that as a culture.
So, no one’s listening to
Chinese music, right? Yeah.
Chinese food is great,
that’s fantastic, and food is a great
export but there’s no cohesive
Chinese food, it’s very diverse
food group, right? There’s not
like one dish that people be like:
yes! Let’s have that!
You know? So, in terms
of soft power, China just
doesn’t have it because the
Chinese populace consumes
foreign, western, South Korean,
Japanese media more so than
their own. They consume a lot
of Japanese media? Yes. Interesting!
I mean, anime is massive! Right.
Now, whether… if you ask a lot
of Chinese people if they like
Japan or Japanese people,
that’s a different story.
Tough history there
between the countries. Yeah.
But okay, there is a…
you know, China’s been slammed
down for the last 300 years,
it was once the world power.
Now it has some
muscle, it can… It can flex
and it has every right to
do so, right? Sure. You just
don’t like the way it’s doing it?
I don’t… I think flexing is fine.
And to be a global
leader would be a dream
for me for China. Okay.
I mean, you’re gonna root for the
country you spent 10 years in,
I was rooting for China before
I went there. Yeah. But when
you see the shift of how the
government has changed,
and it has changed
drastically. Yeah.
It’s not who you wanna root for
anymore. And it’s not
what we wanna emulate?
as a country? No. No.
And I don’t think it’s in…
when many young people are here
talking about how they
admire and think that
system is better. It’s like:
tell them to stop using
their Instagram, YouTube
and Google search
and see how that goes. Right.
Just that basic freedom
which we take for granted.
For sure. Or like you turn the
water… I don’t know if it’s in
China but it was happening in
Ukraine: you turn the water and
one day, it’s sort of like
greenish color. It does happen.
And you know, nobody’s really
checking and maybe someone is
paid off for a shift to
do something where they could
save some money, whatever it
might be. Or even can I drink
out of the faucet, right? Yeah,
yeah. I mean, you literally
will get bloody diarrhea if you
do that in China, but it’s a country
that portrays itself as a
first-world nation –
it’s just not what you see and
that’s what the frustrating
thing is: when you’re in China,
it’s not what you see.
You go to the city center, the
CBD of Shanghai, yes, you will be
duped, right? You leave there,
go a couple hours outside of
there and see largely how
the country operates. It’s not
what you… it’s not the romantic
idea that is being portrayed.
Yeah, and to be fair guys,
we’re in Carlsbad, it’s a
pretty affluent neighborhood in
San Diego. If we go, if we go
twenty miles that way,
it’s a different reality.
For sure! It’s a different reality.
Ok. But I mean, you can make
those equivalencies, right?
Sure. It’s just not… and
I’m not trying to say China is
unbelievably poor but the soft
power… it doesn’t work when you
see the reality of the
situation and it’s an idea that
should be romanticized because
it comes with a lot of baggage.
It comes with surveillance and
it comes with a heavy-handed
dictatorship. So, you’re
thinking America’s in a good
place right now and China is
not necessarily a threat to its
position for quite some time?
From a global metric, I think
America’s fine if, IF people
understand… not how good they
have it but how many
opportunities they have to make
it better. Gotcha. And it’s
not some PSA from the 90s
about like… let’s hold hands
and make the world a better place.
This is concrete actual things.
Yeah. For example, what
you’re doing now is being an
influencer. That’s not a job
that existed when I was a kid.
Oh yeah! But it’s something
that anyone can actually do!
Right. I have an actual $350
GoPro in my hand. Right!
And that’s what you’re doing to
to make a living right now,
right? Yeah, 100 percent.
There you go. Me too, right?
Those opportunities exist.
I’m not saying go out there and
be an influencer but open your
mind a little bit about how
much there is on the table for you.
There’s so much! Just by
coming back to the States,
my US audience built up,
and then US ad revenue is
different than say Ukrainian ad
revenue. So, I’m making way
more money just by being
here, on the ground here.
And it’s just like a metaphor
for everything in the States:
I feel like there’s some guy that has
a roofing business that’s
probably killing it, a plumbing
business, electrical business,
pavement business. He’s got a
truck, he probably… it’s a base
level Ford F-150, he can
operate out of it and operate a
business and make money out of it.
Yeah, and one thing I wanna say,
the opportunities are here
where we are, north of
San Diego. Where you and
I both grew up – not so much
And so, one, harsh reality,
it’s not even harsh, it’s
just a reality – you might
have to move! That’s actually
a great piece of advice.
You might just have to get out.
I grew up in a
town of 500 people, what
would I do there right now?
Nothing. I’d have to drive very
far or… no clue! Right. But you
could go back there and do
something. I mean, yes.
And now because of the internet,
I mean technically
I could live there if I wanted to
but I don’t want it. Right.
But that initial kick is very
important for kids to understand.
Yeah, and I wish I did
that earlier, like I went to
New York earlier or San
Francisco earlier, that would be…
I wouldn’t go to San Francisco now,
that’s not a good advice but…
Go to Texas! People are going to Texas!
Yeah. Matt, thank you! No worries.
Guys, check out his channel. As you
can see, he’s very knowledgeable,
very interesting character.
Link down below, laowhy86.
Yeah, check out your videos.
Awesome. Until the next one!

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