The specter of competition with China leads people to make some odd claims. For example, Tina Brown:
Whether marijuana legalization would raise or lower Americans’ absolute living standards and well-being is surely the issue here, not the comparison with China. Suppose the PRC leadership decides to abandon its current course and shift back to Great Leap Forward policies of immiseration and famine. Would that turn Brown into a pot legalizer?
And it’s not just marijuana. I heard a segment on NPR this morning that started by deploring the U.S. government’s waning fiscal commitment to basic research (genuinely deplorable) and then suggested that this is made even worse by the fact that the Chinese are ramping up research spending. In fact it’s just the opposite. Growing Chinese R&D mitigates declining research in the United States. An effective cancer treatment developed in Taiwan or Switzerland or China would be great for cancer patients in Boise, Idaho, or Dallas.