Harold James


The pressure to engage in large-scale fiscal stimulation is also likely to alter the balance of China’s economic development. The Chinese model of capitalism is very different than that of the United States, and even before the economic crisis, there were two alternative models. The first was the rural, family, and small-business-based boom of the 1980s. But by the 1990s, some of the private-sector growth was being choked off by a rival vision of economic growth built around prestige projects and the large, state-owned enterprise sector. Consider Shanghai, which impressed many commentators as the most modern city in the world: Analysts of the Chinese economy have suggested it is one of the least entrepreneurial cities in China. Yasheng Huang, in his book Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics, described it as “a classic industrial-policy state.” The new stimulus package is likely to push the balance of Chinese development more decisively in this latter direction, toward state capitalism.


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