Why the hell is this street sprinkler truck in China spraying water in flooded street?

Nothing like the level it is here. I have seen so many incredibly stupid things done because people will do exactly what is told of them and will not question. If you ask too many questions, you will cause the boss to lose face (this would imply the boss is not correct) and he might have friends in the Party. If the Party notices you, that’s pretty much it. Life is not fun anymore. Don’t be the nail that gets hammered. Don’t stick out. Just do what you are told.
So the guy cleaning the streets? Nothing unusual. A shame you can’t hear the music though, if this is from a city that has it. In Shanghai in my neighbourhood, the street-cleaning truck plays “It’s a Small World” over and over, like an ice-cream truck. Somewhat surreal but you get used to such things.

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They sure are good at calling themselves communist. In actual practice, not so much. China is one of the most nakedly capitalist countries (as a walk down Beijing-lu from People’s Square towards the Bund will confirm) in the world, but their leaders call themselves communists for the sake of legitimacy. Xi has cracked down on corruption, so it’s not so conspicuous these days, but the party elite are in it for the money.

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They had to abandon communism as it (once again) failed miserably. After the disasters of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution (eerie parallels there) and the millions who died due to the ideology, they realized they would have to embrace capitalism in order to flourish. It was an astounding success (which always happens when capitalism is introduced). I have talked to many older people and without exception they tell me that life is so much better now compared to before when capitalism was introduced.
I have asked Chinese people why they put up with the current regime. They tell me that as long as the government provides what they promised, they will let them stay in power. However, if they stop providing what they promise, watch out. This is why China is so terrified of its people. They know they are their government is illegitimate and they know full well that if the people ever decide to get rid of the government, they will not be able to stop them. This is why they introduced their version of capitalism. Or, as they call it, “Socialism with Chinese characteristics”. They realized that socialism and communism don’t work but they keep the names around for the reason you mentioned.

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Socialism seems to be working out pretty well for Scandinavia.

I think that it’s more apt to say that China failed to implement Communism because, quite frankly, they didn’t really know what they were doing with their “Great Leap Forward,” and the reaction to that was to try to fix things through Cultural Revolution, which destabilized the country to the point of collapse. The reforms of the 80s and 90s weren’t replacing a failed Socialist system, but were implemented in place of chaos resulting from mismanagement that led to, rather than arose out of, a failed attempt to establish something resembling Socialism or Communism.

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Problem is that Scandinavia is not socialist but proudly capitalist.

People often say “Well, that wasn’t real communism or socialism. Now, if I was in power, it would have have worked” or some variation of this. That statement is like saying “Well, the National Socialists failed in Germany but they weren’t doing it correctly.” How many millions have to die until this ideology is finally brought to rest? It has never worked in the past because it can’t work. It is a profoundly anti-life ideology. Humans are not ants.

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That statement covers capitalism remarkably well. It is the single ideology that has ever come close to wiping out Earth as a human habitable place. Our planet is cooking for profit.

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So the question then becomes: “Has there ever been an actual Socialist or Communist state?” And then: “What would a Socialist or a Communist state even look like?” And then, I think that we would have to look at the closest states that have ever existed, and that brings us back to Scandinavia. As you say, Scandinavia is not perfectly Socialist (I believe that Socialism can exist in degrees), but it is the closest that humanity has come to Socialism, and much closer than the countries that claimed (or still claim) to be Communist only to devolve into oligarchies within a few years.

You cannot have a Communist state if real power is not vested in the proletariat, and none of the states that have claimed Communism have really made any attempt to do so. I am not saying that Communism would or even could work in practice. I am just saying that it is not fair to call it a failed system when it has not really been attempted. I will say this though: the lukewarm semi-Socialism of Scandinavia is still producing the best all-around outcomes for the citizenry there. They are doing much better than the naked capitalism of the US or China when it comes to quality of life and human development index, etc. And they are doing even better still than countries like Venezuela, Cuba and the Soviet Union…oligarchies that concentrated power in the hands of a small number of elites without empowering the proletariat…i.e. Communism in name only.

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