The following is an excerpt from DAN BLUMENTHAL | March 19, 2012 | TheWeeklyStandard.com |
The idea that China is practicing a new form of capitalism, and may even be “doing capitalism better than America,” is reaching a fever pitch in policy and business circles. Two arguments buttress the claim of “Beijing Consensus-ers.” The first is that there is a “Beijing Model” of authoritarian politics and state-led “capitalism” that is the new secret sauce for economic development. Just look at the numbers: almost double-digit economic growth for decades! Hundreds of millions pulled out of poverty! A stimulus that worked! More solar panels! Better rail systems and supercomputers—“that used to be us,” says President Obama.
The second is that this “Beijing Model” is a threat to the supposedly discredited Washington Consensus of free markets and liberal democracy. Time to end “free market fundamentalism,” exclaims Andy Stern, the former public-sector union boss, and adopt Chinese-style industrial policy. This year’s World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos included an early eulogy for “Western-style” capitalism. According to these arguments, the battle between free market and state capitalism is the ideological struggle of our time.
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