Tibet and the attraction of Buddhism

Brad De Long delong at econ.Berkeley.EDU
Thu Jul 2 10:46:19 PDT 1998


>There was nothing in her report to offer any support to lovers of the
>current (or past) PRC regimes -- but there was equally nothing to suggest
>that the people of Tibet were not, however wretched, better off than under
>the responsible and kindly rule of the Buddhist theocracy.

Yes there was.

Think what we know about China.

The Great Leap Forward (Roderick MacFarquhar says what, 50 million dead?), the Cultural Revolution (50 million imprisoned or exiled?), agricultural collectivization (am I right in remembering that the Chinese advisors to Ho Chi Minh during the collectivization of agriculture in North Vietnam complained to Ho that his people weren't tought enough: that they had a quota to shoot at least one ex-landlord in every village, and that in order to make the proper impression you needed to shoot at least five?)--all in all, the first two-and-a-half decades of PRC rule appear close to the nadir (next to life under Hitler and Stalin) of human existence...

My bet is that medieval theocracy was preferable, especially since the PRC functionaries tended not to speak Tibetan...

On the other hand, I can't help but feel that China's future has at least a good chance of being *better* than medieval theocracy...

Brad DeLong

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