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Is the China Model Gaining?

by Joshua Kurlantzick
May 1, 2013

A worker walks past a pool of water inside a construction site in central Beijing on April 6, 2013. A worker walks past a pool of water inside a construction site in central Beijing on April 6, 2013. (Courtesy Reuters)


Today, China—and to a lesser extent other successful authoritarian capitalists—offer a viable alternative to the leading democracies. In many ways, their systems pose the most serious challenge to democratic capitalism since the rise of communism and fascism in the 1920s and early 1930s. And in the wake of the global economic crisis, and the dissatisfaction with democracy in many developing nations, leaders in Asia, Africa, and Latin America are studying the Chinese model far more closely—a model that, eventually, will help undermine democracy in their countries.

On the site China-US Focus, I expand on my argument about the China model in a new piece. Read it here.

Post a Comment 2 Comments

  • Posted by David Suen

    Your article on the Beijing Consensus is compelling and very informative. But I think, we need to understand the cultural differences associated with economic growth. Generally speaking, Westerner’s and people in general all seek short term satisfaction and reward with neglect for long term stability. Whereas the Eastern or Asian cultures do take into account the long term view and are more community based.

    That said, I think your argument on inequality in China is weak. Only because you fail to compare that to America’s inequality. Its quite obvious that every country has its troubles, but you fail to mention that over 40 million people in America live on FoodStamps and the wealth gap is at all time highs in America.

    What you don’t realize is that China understands the wealth gap and though, there is corruption, Chinese leaders will not allow that gap to increase as much relative to the US wealth gap because the rich will not have the political power when compared to the Republican’s power to counter the poor. Even more, China has 1.3 billion people. the US has 300 plus and only because she eliminated an entire race of Natives during her expansion.

    Its easy to analyze the problems of China, but its better to compare them to another model and ask questions. But I still believe America can grow organically and sustain its model in the long term, though it will be a long and hard battle against the Chinese Capitalists.

  • Posted by Uzi Nogueira

    I suppose the short answer for the rhetorical question proposed is obviously YES. China extraordinary economic growth of the last three decades is unprecedented in modern history.

    China’s economic model is characterized by fast economic growth, modernization of education, update of infrastructure, income distribution, end of poverty and economic integration of its vast territory. This ambitious agenda is being accomplished by a single political party, CCP.

    Milton Friedman’s thesis of capitalism thriving only under democracy is being challenged by the Chinese model.

    The single party model appears better suited to solve the complex problems of Chinese society in the 21st century. A collegiate decision making process is accompanied by speedy implementation of policies once approved. Efficiency is China’s trademark on economic and politics.

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