Ran Yunfei (冉云飞): Pathological Stability is the Root of Social Instability

Chengdu blogger Ran Yunfei, in a June 10th blog article that is being widely picked up on other blogs (see here), discusses the rapid rise in Chinese government spending at all levels on the maintenance of social stability. CDT thanks the translator, who wishes to remain anonymous:

Pathological Stability is the Root of Social Instability
by Ran Yunfei

(summary translation)
Social Science News on May 27 reported that during 2009, China’s overall spending on stability (including public security, state security etc.) reached 514 billion RMB, with central government public security expenditures up by 47%. While many people worry about mounting military expenditures and the flows of money therefrom that increase corruption opportunities, few are addressing the bulging spending on maintaining social stability in China. Corruption, many social issues, and exaggeration of these problems by officials in order to grab more funding are driving increased spending. This trend makes it easier for officials to grab their own rents from public spending, wasting tax payer money, and so becoming a source of instability themselves.

Some officials who manage stability, not necessarily without the knowledge of public security and state security officials, seek to exaggerate the problem to increase their own power and social stability funding. They care only about their own official position and that maintaining social stability trumps all on their performance evaluation. The center says here is the money, take it — this also enables higher officials to shirk responsibilities and pass the buck downwards. Local officials know of all kinds of problems, but they can count on the support of higher-ups and get away with all kinds of extortion, and the money coming down isn’t theirs anyways, so it would be strange if social stability spending was not increasing under these circumstances. Wasting money this way is itself a source of social instability. The tolerance of taxpayers is limited and the trend of increasing stability spending knows no limits.

When in a modern country the courts don’t follow the law and do not uphold social fairness, the legislature (RenDa) does not serve as a check on the government and its policies, and public security does not protect the rights of the populace, then the public security bureau becomes the most important bureau. This is a classic case of ineffective governance. In a normal society, when these institutions function properly, there is no need to set up all these social stability measures. Ever since 1949, the Chinese people have labored to support a redundant party-state system — supporting their redundant system is a kind of oppression. As the contradictions in society become more acute and people become more aware of their rights, more organizations are set up to ensure social stability in addition to the redundant state-party layers. So this piling on of financial burdens on the the people becomes even more serious.

Some people suggest that these enormous official social stability expenditures be used to solve problems people are having and for social relief, and so the goal of protecting social stability can be achieved. This would be addressing the symptoms and not the cause, however, and so while it could help some it is not a solution. This government is arrogant and not concerned with the people, so how could this suggestion be adopted? In their eyes what matters are the interests of the officials, not those of the rabble. The selection and dismissals of officials does not depend upon the results of elections, so the people really don’t count and so can have no real role in this game. Many people in society have already made suggestions but from the central government down to the various levels of local government, who is really going to listen? What they care about is their monopoly on power, how to be a big pig at the public trough who can keep the other pigs away. They don’t have any intention of sharing the fruits of development with the rabble. Thus, officials can only maintain a pathological kind of stability. If this does not change, Chinese will gradually reach the point of no return on the road to collapse.

Chengdu, June 12, 2010 10:06 AM

变态维稳是社会不稳定的根源

冉云飞 @ 2010-6-12 10:07 阅读(2442) 评论(11) 推荐值(125) 引用通告 分 类: 贡献常识
维稳快超军费,这已是一个公开的秘密,只不过再度由5月27日的《社会科学报》公布的数据,将其坐实而已。该报提到,2009年度全国维稳经费5140亿,中央政府公共安全支出增长幅度达47.5%,已逼近军费开支。众所周知,军费开支里面酿成的军队腐败,已军费开支的一个主项。那么接近军费开 支的天价维稳经费里面,有没有贪污腐败,甚至故意夸大危险,而从中为自己捞取不利之财的呢?这难道是不可能的吗?一方面是社会的确问题多多,矛盾尖锐,使 得中央和地方政府不得不增加维稳经费来硬性维稳;另一方面,维稳可使公安及国安系统扩大权力,增加经费以及增加寻租的机会,因此他们会做许多手脚来夸大其 间的矛盾,以便执政者为他们增加寻租机会和权力空间助一臂之力。要言之,维稳人员本身就是社会不稳定的一部分,且看我下面的论述。

一些具体管理维稳的官员,未必不知道公安及国安系统的人员,如何夸大社会矛盾,以扩大自己的权力和增 加维稳经费,他们本身只考虑自己的官位和维稳的所谓一票表决,我尽量给你钱,我拿钱消灾。我把钱给你持拨够了,你维稳不好,我好拿你早问。且即便出了问 题,也可以推卸责任。其实这些官员他也深知这里面的经费申请有许多猫腻,有许多漏洞,因为要仰仗于公安及国安等系统的维稳,所以睁只睛闭只眼,让他们无度 “勒索”,反正又不是我的钱,光我什么了鸟事?有的具体管维稳经费拨付的官员,更有创造性,他不仅睁只眼闭只眼,还和维稳经费的使用单位,联合起来共同寻 租。如此一来,维稳经费不爆涨才是怪事。而大幅度攀升的维稳经费本身就成了社会不稳定的一部分,为什么如此说呢?因为这得靠不断地搜刮民财才能保障。而纳 税人的血汗钱是有限,而变态维稳经费的增长是无度的。以民众有限的血汗,来应对无限增长的维稳经费,殆矣!

正如时评作者熊传东所说,任何现代文明国家,其机构组成自然就负担着社会平稳运营的责任。也就是说, 法院不依法办事,不维护社会公正,人大不制衡政府及其相关政策的实施,公安不为保障民众权利而存在,亦即公安局成了母安局,等等,这都是典型的政府机构失 效的地方。一个正常的社会,这些机构本身天然地起着使民众利益的责任,不需要在这些政府机构之外,另设什么维稳办、综治办等叠床架屋的机构来维持社会运 营。本来四九年后,中国政府的运营就是党政两套班子,也就是说,民众天然地养了两个叠床架屋的政府,这本身就是对民众的巨大盘剥。随着社会矛盾的加深,民 众权利意识的高涨,在叠床架屋的党政系统之外,再增设许多机构来维护社会稳定,其对民众的盘剥只会有增无减,在此等情况下,要想靠所谓的维稳来维护社会稳 定,无异于缘木求鱼。

有人也给官方支招,建议他们将天价维稳经费中的一些拿来舒解民困,解决民生问题,社会稳定自然就可以 达到。这个招数虽然只能治标不能治本,但应该说可以起到一定的作用。但傲慢冷漠是这个政府的贯性,他们怎么可能听得进你切实的意见?在他们的眼中,屁民只 有臣服的份,没有说他们一经需要一经反抗,我们就满足他们。在他们眼中,屁民永远只是屁民,不应受到足够的尊重。因为人事任免和政权的合法性,都不是通过 民众选举的,所以在他们眼中,民众根本没有足够的份量,来制衡他们,与他们博弈。这个社会已经有很多有识之士提供了不少好的建议,但从中央到地方的各级政 府哪里能听得进去呢?他们想的是如何尽量垄断和吞独食,根本不想与屁民分享经济发展的成果。在如此的情况下,官方只好变态维稳,如不改变策略,中国社会只 好进一步走上一条逐渐崩溃的不归路。

2010年6月12日10:06分于成都
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See also Ran Yunfei on Twitter and on his blog. Additional translations of Ran Yunfei’s work is available via CDT.