October 5, 2013

How China Became Capitalist, Ronald Coase and Ning Wang

How China Became Capitalist by Ronald Coase and Ning Wang describes the extraordinary, and often unintentional, journey that China has taken over the past thirty years in remodeling itself from a closed agrarian socialist economy to an indomitable power within the international arena.

The authors revitalize the controversy around the development of the Chinese language system by way of the use of primary sources. They persuasively argue that the reforms applied by the Chinese language leaders didn't symbolize a concerted try to create a capitalist financial system, but that the concepts from the West finally culminated in a basic change to their socialist mannequin, forming an unintended path to capitalism. Authors argue that the pragmatic strategy of "seeking truth from reality" is in reality way more in step with Chinese language culture.

The authors also insist that the longer term dynamism of China's financial system depends upon the continued growth of its personal sector. But they are much less clear on the way forward for China's large state-owned enterprises and of China's partial efforts to privatize them.

Occasionally the authors' contentions are problematic. For example, they opine that a free market for ideas may be sustained without political democracy. Truly, it's onerous to think about one without the other: Some of the concepts on offer, in spite of everything, may strongly advocate expanded democracy, which is anathema to China's leaders. And though the authors acknowledge the centrality of property rights in efficient market reform, they avoid the query of whether property rights, if not regulated, may typically be exercised at the expense of human rights.

This book challenges the received knowledge about the way forward for the Chinese economy, arguing that while China has monumental potential for growth, this might be hampered by the leaders' propensity for control, each when it comes to economics and their monopoly of ideas and power. It is a major contribution to the whole literature on financial change as well as on China. Nowhere in the entire literature on economic change and development that I do know is there such a detailed examine of the fumbling efforts of a society to evolve and particularly one which had as long and as far to go as China did.

Finally, this book offers a captivating, though somewhat partisan, account of the Chinese economic transformation from the late Seventies as much as the present day. Anyone curious as to how China grew to become the world’s second greatest economy should read this interesting book.

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