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China Will Defeat Itself

Posted on May 15 2010 6:00 pm
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Ian Bremmer, the author of The End of the Free Market, was on Thursday night’s episode of “The Daily Show.” He argued that the free market in the U.S. needed more regulation so as to better compete with China. The biggest threat to our economy, he said, was “state capitalism.”

China does not have a free government and has a mostly free economy, except it is more regulated and the government controls the banks. This, Bremmer says, is a formula that works. He claims that the Chinese people look more favorably upon their government than Americans and other Westerners look upon theirs.

Watch the video below:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Ian Bremmer
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

I expect China’s growth to become mentioned more and more by advocates of bigger government. The highly-respected George Friedman, CEO of STRATFOR, has done some great analysis to show the illusion of China’s magic formula. Surprise, surprise—undemocratic governments lie, and they lie a lot.

In this article, Friedman explains that China’s government, just like the U.S., uses bogus statistics to disguise their problems. The difference is that the world focuses on the U.S. and our free media allows reporting on our problems to flow while China’s economy is immune from the damage of honest reporting. Friedman writes that China is actually held hostage to its consumers (that’s us, folks) and so when we get a cold, they get pneumonia.

There are structural problems in China, as explained by Friedman in that piece as well as in his intriguing book, The Next 100 Years. The wealth is mostly concentrated on the coast, and this could very well give way to resistance, or even uprisings, among the people more inland.

And I don’t buy Bremmer’s statement that the Chinese people love their government. Google Tiananmen Square. Tens of thousands have petitioned against their local corrupt officials. There is a growing movement for free elections and democracy. There are valid reasons to be concerned about China’s growth, but there are also valid reasons for optimism.

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