The last 20 years have been amazing in China.
The average growth rate year on year exceeded 10 percent. That’s led to a swathe of new millionaires and a burgeoning middle class. While tremendous income disparity means millions live at poverty levels, the growth of the economy at least provided direction for the masses. They had a dream.
In the early days of China’s growth people aspired to a rice cooker and a solid bicycle. That was 20 years ago. Today Chinese buy sports cars, luxury apartments and travel abroad. The number of new shopping malls being built across China have some calling for a possible glut.
Today in The Wall Street Journal Asia editorial writer Michael Auslin says the party is nearly over (“China’s Party Is About to End“). He credits low growth to mismanagement of the economy, where planners favoured state-owned enterprises and where greedy local governments were able to siphon stimulus funds.
The consequences, says Auslin, are extreme:
“The country’s looming problems have never looked as sharp in the past two decades, which spells not only an economic deterioration, but also a possible collapse for the Party.”
I could paraphrase and cut and paste all day. I get like that when confronted with brilliant writing. Instead, I suggest you read the original editorial here.
When you do read the piece, take a look at the comments. There are vociferous defenders of China’s strong economy and quite a few pot-shots. Tom Wang wrote:
“Dumb article! A discredit to WSJ and plainly derisional to the intelligence of the readers. Nothing but sweeping and shallow conclusions simply to forebode the imminent collapse of China like so much such garbage before.”
But as in many, many social media communities there’s a defender. Arindom Choudhury is suggesting that some people aren’t used to editorial freedom and haven’t been exposed to free-thinking. He wrote:
“…for the Chinese who’s known only Party Propaganda, posting here – this is called an ‘Open Debate’ .”
Given the intellectual stimulation and the heated debate, this sounds like a party worth attending!