February 27, 2006

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"Socialist" China

Following up on the continue rise of the new Marxism in China, Wu Zhong in today's Standard looks at the socialist contradiction in the new China:

Despite China's sweeping reforms that have transformed a socialist command economy into a somewhat capitalist-style market, socialist ideology continues to manifest itself whenever there's a chance.
Absolutely read the whole article - it nicely skewers one Marxist academic and points out two recent examples of ideology trying to re-assert itself over reality. As the article concludes, concern about China's wealth gap are best addressed by alleviating poverty (i.e. raising the bottom up) rather than redistribution (i.e. dragging the top down). And one point that often gets missed. The rich getting richer doesn't mean the poor are getting poorer - the whole pie is getting bigger. In absolute terms, everyone is getting richer, but in relative terms some are getting richer faster than others.

As we say at family reunions, it's all relative.

posted by Simon on 02.27.06 at 01:06 PM in the China politics category.


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The criticism of the property developer seems pretty justified to me. If you don't mix up various classes in one zone you get slum areas like the Parisian suburbs - only good for rioting. Sadly when you put the poor where the rest of society can't see them, little tends to be done to resolve their problems. Also the further out the poor go, the harder it is for them to find work, owing to transport costs. That's why any new housing built in London, for example, has to include a certain amount of "social housing" (i.e. low cost). Governments tend to get around to this eventually, but by the time they realise no police/teachers/plumbers can afford to live in the centre of town it takes a mammoth effort to resolve.

posted by: Duncan on 02.27.06 at 06:20 PM [permalink]

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