Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Xi Jinping: Are you Listening?

A month ago I discussed Roderick MacFarquar's article in the NYR: he worried about how much it matters that Xi Jinping does not subscribe to the rule of law, is afraid of democratic values, civil society, and universal rights, and is stoking nationalism with a vague "China Dream?"

Brad DeLong worries too.  Do read his article in The World Post.  Here is the gist:
One of the few historical patterns to repeat itself with regularity over the past three centuries has been that, wherever governments are unable to make the allocation of property and contract rights stick, industrialization never reaches North Atlantic levels of productivity. .... China -- in spite of all its societal and cultural advantages -- had failed to make its allocation of property rights stick in any meaningful sense through the rule of law. Businesses could flourish only when they found party protectors, and powerful networks of durable groups of party protectors at that. .... 
China has hitherto kept growing and growing rapidly, even without anything a North Atlantic economic historian would see as the rule of law. It has had its own system of what we might call industrial neofeudalism. Instead of the king's judges enforcing property and contract rights, Chinese entrepreneurs have protection via their fealty to connection groups within the party that others do not wish to cross. ....
But ....
China's success at grasping the future depends not on economic growth but on political reform. It depends on the establishment of the rule of law and an open society rather than the rule of the CCP and a closed party elite. Only after successful political transition might economic growth and convergence resume.
Xi Jinping, are you listening?

Picture hangin in Xi Jinping's office
Croke Park, Dublin 2012

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