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Friday, May 11, 2012

Questioning China's Economic Model: One Spark?


The New York TimesAs Growth Slows, China’s Economic Model is Questioned sets a tone in marked contrast with its enthusiastic accounts of China’s prowess. One of its most respected columnists, Thomas Friedman, has been singing the praises of  Chinese infrastructure for years. In New York City, Friedman sees potholes. In China, gleaming highways. Friedman never met a cement mixer he does not like. China has plenty. We have too few because the Republicans won’t authorize an infrastructure bank. We have political stalemate, while China is run by wise technocrats dressed in muted business suits who decide what is best for the country and are not hobbled by the rule of law, property rights, and other small things that get in the way of progress.

The Times piece raises an uncomfortable question for those who regard the Chinese model as the way of the future. Could it be that China is a house of cards, ripped apart by political infighting over political power and spoils, that is kept alive only by embattled  private enterprise?  Could it be that the polite men in dark business suits, who are feted in Washington as our equals, rob state enterprises for their personal benefit, suppress dissent because they know that one spark can destroy their party monopoly, and compete among themselves to see who can waste public savings the fastest by pouring concrete faster than their regional competitors.

go to forbes.com

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