Skip to comments.The Dark Side of China’s Rise
Posted on 02/27/2006 2:53:55 PM PST by billorites
Chinas economic boom has dazzled investors and captivated the world. But beyond the new high-rises and churning factories lie rampant corruption, vast waste, and an elite with little interest in making things better. Forget political reform. Chinas future will be decay, not democracy.
The only thing rising faster than China is the hype about China. In January, the Peoples Republics gross domestic product (GDP) exceeded that of Britain and France, making China the worlds fourth-largest economy. In December, it was announced that China replaced the United States as the worlds largest exporter of technology goods. Many experts predict that the Chinese economy will be second only to the United States by 2020, and possibly surpass it by 2050.
Western investors hail Chinas strong economic fundamentalsnotably a high savings rate, huge labor pool, and powerful work ethicand willingly gloss over its imperfections. Businesspeople talk about Chinas being simultaneously the worlds greatest manufacturer and its greatest market. Private equity firms are scouring the Middle Kingdom for acquisitions. Chinese Internet companies are fetching dot-com-era prices on the NASDAQ. Some of the worlds leading financial institutions, including Bank of America, Citibank, and HSBC, have bet billions on the countrys financial future by acquiring minority stakes in Chinas state-controlled banks, even though many of them are technically insolvent. Not to be left out, every global automobile giant has built or is planning new facilities in China, despite a flooded market and plunging profit margins.
And why shouldnt they believe the hype? The record of Chinas growth over the past two decades has proved pessimists wrong and optimists not optimistic enough. But before we all start learning Chinese and marveling at the accomplishments of the Chinese Communist Party, we might want to pause for a moment. Upon close examination, Chinas record loses some of its luster.
(Excerpt) Read more at foreignpolicy.com ...
I loved Steyn's comment on China:
"They'll get old before they get rich." (referring to their negative birth rates).
China has never been a stable country.
Every dynasty created a competing dynasty that destroyed it. The current dynasty is doing the same thing. Is it a defect in the Chinese character that drives them to repeat the cycle of spectacular failure over and over?
The fall of Rome gave birth to the nations of Europe, but the fall of Chinese dynasties only leads to the rise of another dynasty.
Manchu - Nationalist - Maoist... where does the cycle end? Can a leopard lose its spots? The harder they try, the behinder they get.
I hear the CPC is down to 60 million members - in a population that only grows larger. Why aren't all Chinese in the CPC? Probably because 60 million is the limit that a dynasty can reach by bleeding its subjects in present day China.
My guess would be that Chinese dynasties begin to crumble when that max limit is reached.
I mean . . . is there any side to the rise of Red China which is not dark?
I think a lot of this stuff about China is "yellow-peril" hysteria. China has the most rapidly aging population on earth. Expansionist powers have (historically) always had a rapidly increasing population with a large number of males of military age. In a knock-down shooting war, China would sustain causalities she could not maintain for very long and she would have no reservoir of replacements (except for 2nd line females and older individuals). All her ports are on one ocean, only. Her industry is concentrated in large complexes that would be easy targets. Furthermore, some of her most crowded areas are protected by dykes will be taken out early. In short, China best think twice if she should ever feel froggy.
In part, democracy itself has been a victim of the countrys economic expansion. However flawed and mismanaged, the countrys rapid growth has bolstered Beijings legitimacy and reduced pressure on its ruling elites to liberalize. Democratic transitions in developing countries are often triggered by economic crises blamed on the incompetence and mismanagement of the ancien régime. China hasnt experienced that crisis yet. Meanwhile, the riches available to the ruling class tend to drown any movement for democratic reform from within the elite. Political power has become more valuable because it can be converted into wealth and privilege unimaginable in the past. At the moment, Chinas economic growth is having a perverse effect on democratization: It makes the ruling elite even more reluctant to part with power.
I think that making Red China wealthy was a mistake.