Re: [OPE] Lecture for a Chinese Delegation

From: Michael Webber <>
Date: Sun Dec 19 2010 - 19:00:58 EST


good luck with the talk.

i think that the notion of contradictions is a good place from which
to start to think about china:
. the one you noted: rhetoric about socialism; practice of capitalism.
. apparently monolithic central state; highly decentralised
administration, including wide province - province variations in
development paths.
. apparent state power; inability to force / cajole lower level
governments into doing what beijing wants.
. strong labour laws; lax enforcement.

in general, i think that officials understand well the problems of
capitalism. they understand too the reasons for the banking crisis in
the usa and the earlier asian financial crisis. that's one reason for
not floating the RMB. but i suspect that they do not see an
alternative that is actually feasible. in any event, there are too
many entrenched beneficiaries of capitalism in china for a substantial
change in direction to be presently on the cards.

i wouldn't think about suggesting that a major change in direction is
desirable. that will only come if workers / peasants get really upset
and start to dispute. i'd be looking for some practical lessons from
the usa - things to avoid.

best of luck


On 18 December 2010 15:59, michael perelman <> wrote:
> I am going to give a talk to a Chinese delegation.  I have to write up
> the talk in advance for the participants to have a translation to read.
> Any comments would be appreciated.
> China presents a curious contradiction.  Your country sees herself as a
> socialist state, yet the influence of Western, capitalist-oriented
> economics in the universities seems to be pervasive.  Here in the United
> States, many people put great stock in what the economists have to say.
>  Part of this authority comes from academic credentials; part comes
> from economists' ability to talk in pseudo-scientific terms.
> Yet, this style of economics has left a trail of failures for decades,
> culminating in the present economic crisis.  In my book, The
> Confiscation of American Prosperity: From Right-Wing Extremism and
> Academic Economics to the next Great Depression, which came out just as
> the stock market peaked in 2007, I predicted that terrible consequences
> were sure to follow policies that academic economists were promoting.
> Fortunately, a Chinese translation is in the works.
> More at:
> --
> Michael Perelman
> Economics Department
> California State University
> Chico, CA
> 95929
> 530 898 5321
> fax 530 898 5901
> _______________________________________________
> ope mailing list

Michael Webber
Professorial Fellow
Department of Resource Management and Geography
The University of Melbourne
Mail address: 221 Bouverie Street, Carlton, VIC 3010
Phone: 0402 421 283
ope mailing list
Received on Sun Dec 19 19:02:41 2010

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