I swear I hear of the greatness of China all the time around here.
Yesterday John Kranz linked to a column in the WSJ by Andy Stern (previous SEIU boss) about the greatness of China.
As John says, this isn’t April Fools and
it is really a full-on Walter Duranty cheering session for central planning.
Gag. I read the whole thing. Two things stand out.
1) So they have a 5 year plan. ? That would be the central planning part of central planning. The real test is whether it works well.
As this was happening [our diplomat dissing China’s currency adjustments], I was part of a U.S.-China dialogue—a trip organized by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Center for American Progress—with high-ranking Chinese government officials, both past and present. For me, the tension resulting from the chorus of American criticism paled in significance compared to reading the emerging outline of China’s 12th five-year plan. The aims: a 7% annual economic growth rate; a $640 billion investment in renewable energy; construction of six million homes; and expanding next-generation IT, clean-energy vehicles, biotechnology, high-end manufacturing and environmental protection—all while promoting social equity and rural development.
2) and 3) I could bring this delegation to South Dakota to look at all the work being done, the jobs being had and the industry moving forward. BUT 700,000 units of public housing isn’t something to be proud of. And any numbers given by a totalitarian government are suspect.
While we debate, Team China rolls on. Our delegation witnessed China’s people-oriented development in Chongqing, a city of 32 million in Western China, which is led by an aggressive and popular Communist Party leader—Bo Xilai. A skyline of cranes are building roughly 1.5 million square feet of usable floor space daily—including, our delegation was told, 700,000 units of public housing annually.
Meanwhile, the Chinese government can boast that it has established in Western China an economic zone for cloud computing and automotive and aerospace production resulting in 12.5% annual growth and 49% growth in annual tax revenue, with wages rising more than 10% a year.
Coyote Blog has some thoughts too. Including:
Exactly how much economic progress had China made before its leaders brought in the very free market ideas Stern says are dead? None, of course. To read China as a triumph of statism and as the death nell of capitalism, when in fact it is one of the greatest examples in history of the power of capitalist ideas and how fast they can turn around a starving and poverty-stricken country, is just willful blindness.