It's the end of the semester. A degree of giddiness creeps in.
My students and I have been working through the political systems of a variety of nations. Yesterday, we talked about China.
China is a wonderful subject because any professor not completely sold out to Marxist fantasy gains the license to speak judgmentally about Mao's ridiculous policies of The Great Leap Forward (in which the nation stopped producing food and tried to manufacture steel in backyards) and The Cultural Revolution (in which Mao deputized snotty teenagers to force their elders into self-criticism for improper revolutionary thinking).
But the fun begins to subside as you approach the present day. I was explaining to the students that although the Chinese still have the Communist Party -- and it is the only party permitted to operate -- the nation has rejected communism. Instead, they engage in a form of state-sponsored capitalism.
I began to say that the U.S. embraces private capitalism versus this state-sponsored capitalism of the Chinese, but then I realized that would be inaccurate. The truth, I realized and said to the students, is that both nations engage in state-sponsored capitalism. But there is a key difference.
The Chinese government owns companies that make a profit. The United States government only owns companies that lose money.
And that is why they are loaning us money instead of the other way around.