(From The FT)
Chairman Mao’s legacy has became a battleground for “leftists” and “rightists” over the past year, 50 years after he launched the chaotic and violent Cultural Revolution. The rancorous debates come as current president Xi Jinping tightens control over the party and society. On Friday, censors closed down the social media accounts and website of a think-tank founded by 88-year-old economist Mao Yushi, a frequent target of neo-Maoists (and no relation with the Communist leader),
You’ve been warned.
It’s not supposed to be like this. What with the central planners of the Chinese Communist Party in charge. And yet like pretty much every really big government regime outside of the tiny Nordic countries (and even there sometimes) there is massive pollution.
In socialist countries the planners call the shots, and despite what many of our “progressive” friends might think, those in government don’t typically have “the public” in mind. This is the great myth. It’s as obvious as the smog hanging in the Beijing sky.
We shouldn’t even have a Commerce Department.
In fairness it’s not hard to be both an admirer of China and also a harsh critic. We’re in that camp.
My grandfather was actually one of the first westerners in China post-Cultural Revolution. The cuff links he was given by Chinese officials I wear to meetings often. They are inscribed with the Chinese symbol for “lucky.” I find much value in a couple of schools of thought that emerged from of China. I, like Mr. Ross, love China.
The Chinese Communist Party sees clearly the power of social media and it is trying to jam that genie back into the bottle. And as the fake “fake news” campaign, and Ms. Clinton’s “deplorables” statement has shown, the Chinese powers that be aren’t the only ones who see social media as something that needs to be controlled.
Some people think central planning is good for the environment. The Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and now (and perhaps especially) China show that is a rather silly notion.
Central planning means no feedback loop. It means bureaucrats run amok and crushing dissent. Free prices, free enterprise, REALITY, is much better for the environment pretty much any way one cuts it.
The term “fake news” should pretty much always be in quotes. “Fake news,” probably for the most part is code for news that reflects poorly on the powers that be. Fighting “fake news” isn’t about fighting conjured rumors or false stories. It’s about controlling the conversation.
If you’ve got the cash, we’ve got the admission. And this sort of practice isn’t restricted to Chinese students.
This is a wrist slap. Most other companies are threatened with jail time for executives, forced to agree to long probationary periods, and forced to hire friends of regulators at inflated fees to “monitor” them for years. JPMorgan wanted to settle this with Obama still in office.
The growing Indian trade deficit with China is becoming a front and center issue on the subcontinent. There are increasing calls for boycotts of Chinese goods from New Delhi. China has responded by insulting its regional rival saying that India can only “bark” about the deficit.
I mention this development because we see two highly centralized governments that oversee crony economies, with a history of warfare and with nuclear weapons, squaring off as Asia continues to stagnate economically.
We have already mentioned Professor Pei’s new book China’s Crony Capitalism: The Dynamics of Regime Decay, but here’s a little more on it from The Economist.
China is the Ultimate Crony Capitalist State.
Modern China is driven by central planning and a deeply crony culture. Interestingly the country has succeeded in reinflating its housing bubble. I say reinflate because about a year and a half ago things looked like they were really going to bust. (Thanks to the unsound monetary policy that created the initial unstable boom.) Then the government and the banks intervened (in typical central planner fashion) and we’re off to the races again. The government delayed the inevitable. But the debt monster lurks,
This is excellent stuff. When Minxin Pei writes about how it is easy to amass wealth politically in a one party state an image of California instantly popped into my mind. Cali and China are in no way equivalent on the crony spectrum, but as the state increasingly becomes a Democrat only state (and this is only partially because of voter preferences) the observation Pei makes will only become more true.
Regardless we are pleased to see this exploration of China,