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I know it's immoral, but can it last? Will this be the Soviet Union redux? Personally I think India has a better long-term chance because it allows more freedom than China.

asked Dec 17 '10 at 15:52

Morgan%20Polotan's gravatar image

Morgan Polotan

edited Dec 17 '10 at 17:37

Greg%20Perkins's gravatar image

Greg Perkins ♦♦

I, too have been wondering about this for some time. Perhaps, a more basic question is whether capitalism can survive let alone thrive in an authoritarian society that considers all property as belonging to the state and only loaned to members of the society. I do not believe that capitalism can survive in such an environment. Certainly, in the short term, there is and can be great success. However, at some point in time, there will be a clash between those wanting property and other rights and those determined to rule. The biggest gun will generally win such a clash.

One thing that appears to be established by the Chinese experiment is that capitalism is not a political philosophy. It is an ethical and social philosophy guiding how humans relate and trade with one another. It demands morality and fairness between the members of the society. One of the greatest challenges to capitalism is how society can regulate and control those who use the system to cheat and steal from others. Unrestrained capitalism is clearly and ideal. However, there will always be those who use deceit and Ponzi like schemes claiming to be capitalist while they are, in actuality, thieves. I wonder if an autocratic government is more or less likely to control these individuals?

answered Dec 17 '10 at 17:11

ethwc's gravatar image

ethwc ♦


One could hope that a growing middle class and the growth of the the internet and other forces will make the Chinese state cede power to the Chinese people over time.

(Dec 18 '10 at 07:30) Bruce Majors Bruce%20Majors's gravatar image

Bruce, that is my hope as well. The more I read about China the more I think their success will be short-lived if they don't liberalize their economy and give their citizens more political and civil liberties.

It seems there is a housing bubble ready to pop, and there have also been several embarrassing "ghost towns" built as a result of Keynesian economic planning. Internet censorship has played a role in the lack of social media connections between the Chinese and the rest of the world.

For the sake of the Chinese people, I hope liberty and freedom overpowers authoritarian government.

(Dec 22 '10 at 00:02) Morgan Polotan Morgan%20Polotan's gravatar image

I don't think an autocratic government will be more likely to combat white collar financial crimes like Ponzi schemes. If the criminal is a member of the Communist Party, the crime will likely be swept under the rug due to his political influence. There is a high level of corruption and political executions even in modern day China.

(Dec 22 '10 at 00:03) Morgan Polotan Morgan%20Polotan's gravatar image

The bottom line threat to capitalism in a despotic society is seen in the threat to property rights. There is an interesting editorial in the NY Times today describing China's approach to property rights. See it at http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/opinion/24fri1.html?_r=1&hp As long as the government claims first right to property, there are no property rights.

(Dec 24 '10 at 14:21) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image

unfortunately the despotic society's view of property rights partially overlaps with how more free western nations view property rights as well.

(Dec 25 '10 at 06:40) Fareed Fareed's gravatar image

Yes, there have been a number of cases infringing on property rights. A few of them have been particularly egregious (New London comes to mind). However, the difference between China's rule and ours is that we have an electorate who respond peacefully to being voted out of office. More important, we have a judiciary that is to serve as a balance to excesses of the elected legislative and executive branches. They are wrong on occasion but seem to correct those errors in time. China, on the other hand has as a basic policy abrogation of private property rights.

(Dec 25 '10 at 20:10) ethwc ♦ ethwc's gravatar image

For those who haven't seen it, I picked up a book recently entitled "Poorly Made in China", describing the business experience of an American agent living in China, whose job is to connect Chinese manufacturers with American importers. Based on his writings (the book is not a scholarly piece, but a series of events told somewhat out of sequence), the Chinese experience of "capitalism" has been exactly what the critics of capitalism claim it is: dog-eat-dog defraud-everyone-you-can-for-money type capitalism. So I don't hold out much hope for China.

(Sep 01 '11 at 06:47) white knight white%20knight's gravatar image

There are numerous reports, if you know where to look, that shed some light on the dark underbelly of China's much vaunted "miraculous growth".

The Ghost City documentary here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pbDeS_mXMnM) is a wonderfully informative look at what's going on in China today.

(Sep 01 '11 at 14:41) Sergio Sergio's gravatar image

It is good to contrast China with another authoritarian+capitalism salad state such as Singapore. There, it seems that populace has become addicted to acquiring ever more branded goods and status symbols and have lost all desire for self-determination. I think this may be what the Chinese rulers dream of: raw, one-party rule with a drone populace ever eying more and more Gucci purses, Tiffany necklaces and Mercedes limos.

(Sep 03 '11 at 21:16) Danneskjold_repo Danneskjold_repo's gravatar image
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Asked: Dec 17 '10 at 15:52

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Last updated: Sep 03 '11 at 21:16