The “China Model” of government is being promoted widely in political circles as an explanation for China’s economic rise over the past 40 years. US billionaire and presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg is among the latest to advocate this system. But these promoters of China are overlooking many problems that are baked into the Chinese situation. Here is one of them:
[The China Model] exhibits two main features:
- The first is a highly skilled, technocratically efficient, and meritocratically recruited bureaucracy. This bureaucracy (which is clearly the primary beneficiary of the system) has as its main duty to realise high economic growth and implement policies that allow this goal to be achieved. Growth is ultimately needed for the legitimisation of continued bureaucratic and party rule.
- The second feature is the absence of rule of law, rather than its unequivocal application. This, Milanovic argues, is necessary to ensure that the interests of businessmen (and the private sector in general) are never in a position to become primary drivers of government behaviour, which they would if a stable and consistent application of law was undertaken. Instead, the state retains authority and autonomy precisely because it can choose to apply the law to whomever and wherever it wishes.
To even semi-informed observers, it should be apparent that these two main features produce an inherent contradiction. How can you have a technocratic and meritocratic bureaucracy at the same time as the transient absence of rule of law?
… this is precisely what leads to another defining trait of the Chinese system — rampant corruption. This is because any system that requires discretionary decision-making opens the door to malpractice. The problem with corruption, from the point of view of the leadership, is that, taken too far, it tends to undermine the integrity of bureaucracy and the ability to conduct economic policies that produce high growth.
Therefore, the system is always in a precarious equilibrium.
It is not just the Chinese political system that is perpetually balanced on a sharp edge. The mood of the Chinese people has always been highly changeable, for thousands of years — subject to gambling on revolt and insurrection if the portents point in that direction.
Cold War with China has Been Ongoing for Decades
The west did not completely understand where China was heading when Deng allowed foreigners to begin investing and manufacturing inside China. China gave western companies and countries “an offer they could not refuse:” Higher profit margins. A place to send their pollution and their garbage. A way to outsource a host of worries about supply chains and costs. China gladly became “the world’s factory.”
Judging by the IEA graphic above, Chinese industrial consumption of fuel is more than three times US consumption. Some of that fuel goes to building infrastructure in-country, but a lot of it goes to building products for the outside world. This trade has made China’s party insiders very wealthy, although hundreds of millions of Chinese are still quite poor.
Yesterday we mentioned several ways that the communist Chinese have infiltrated the US economy, through markets, company ownership, university endowments, pension fund investments, etc. The economic aspect of the Chinese cold war is real.
China today poses a bigger economic challenge than the Soviet Union ever did. Historical estimates of gross domestic product show that at no point during the Cold War was the Soviet economy larger than 44 percent of the economy of the United States. __ Source
Australia and Japan Sharing Coping Strategies
Australia and Japan are both vulnerable to Chinese whims and ambitions of an economic and military nature. It is only natural that the two nations confer on strategies and tactics for dealing with the neighborhood bully.
Faced with isolation by Beijing after 2012, Shinzo Abe focused on India and Southeast Asia, setting a diplomatic pace with visits, investment and aid that has outstripped any other postwar Japanese leader. In the process, Abe has built up enormous personal capital in the region.
At the same time, Tokyo stepped up its engagement in the South China Sea, something that Beijing repeatedly warned it against doing. Again, Japan stood firm on asserting its presence in waterways it regards as vital to its national interest.
Abe has also worked hard to keep Donald Trump on side, putting pride to one side to make sure that he has the U.S. president’s ear at vital moments in the diplomatic calendar.
Australia under Morrison is pursuing a not dissimilar path, bulking up in its backyard in the Pacific, trying, albeit inconsistently, to buttress relations with Southeast Asia and attempting to keep Trump onside. __ https://asia.nikkei.com/Opinion/Japan-can-teach-Australia-how-to-carefully-handle-China
As discussed in previous postings, China would like to be able to treat the entire world the same way it treats the Uighurs, Tibetans, and domestic religious practitioners such as the Falun Gong.
Michael Bloomberg has no problem with China’s plans. With a President Bloomberg, the US would no longer be an obstacle to Beijing’s ambitions. Other presidential candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden, would be similarly inclined to submit to most key economic demands from the Communist Party of China, as long as they saw no obvious direct political cost to themselves. Since the US is the only significant obstacle to Chinese global supremacy, things would move quickly after the election of such a person to the US presidency in 2020. Between the new “China appeasement president” and the suddenly influential Washington DC branch of the CPC, no future opportunity for the election of an American exceptionalist US president such as Donald Trump would ever be allowed.
Sobering Parting Thought:
Before 2015, China, whose Confucian value system considers it important to keep the body intact after death, had no voluntary organ-transplant system. Yet hospitals perform some 60,000 to 90,000 transplant surgeries each year.
Chinese hospitals promise that they can deliver hearts, livers, kidneys and corneas of matching blood type and size in two weeks. The surgeries can be scheduled in advance, which suggests hospitals know exactly when the “donors” are going to die…
Although Israel and Taiwan both passed laws making it harder for their citizens to obtain transplants in China, most other democratic governments were reluctant to acknowledge this crime against humanity, perhaps because doing so would imply an obligation to act immediately.
China launches vicious ad hominem attacks against critics, to undermine our credibility. Numerous screenings of my film, and of documentaries on the subject, have been canceled on university campuses and elsewhere following phones calls from Chinese diplomats. __ Source
This is just a sophisticated form of cannibalism for wealthy elites both inside China and outside. You can get a person to say almost anything if you offer them a fresh heart, liver, or kidney that will keep them alive.
This is China today. A cult of cannibals, ruled by corrupt gang members. No wonder the people of Hong Kong are having second thoughts. And no wonder the unease is spreading to the mainland.
… with Hong Kong inspiring and igniting protests in Guangdong, you can bet word is getting out to all the interior of China.
It really is Beijing’s worst nightmare.