Sunday, November 22, 2009
Let’s be very clear on one point: although it is still run by the Chinese Communist Party, China is no longer a communist country. Instead, it is an authoritarian capitalist country. When Nixon first went to China in 1972, the move was premised on the idea that engagement with China would eventually lead to both economic and political reforms. When China began experimenting with capitalism in the 1980s, America began buying Chinese goods based on the assumption that economic prosperity would lead to democracy and human rights. The experience of the past few decades should relieve us of such misapprehensions, or at least of the misapprehension that Chinese political and human rights reforms will happen any time soon. To date, there is no evidence that China cannot continue to be an authoritarian capitalist regime for the foreseeable future and America must base its China policies on that presumption.
I think the big issue over the next 10 years and the big contest is going to be between authoritarian capitalism, à la China, and democratic capitalism, à la the United States, and its not clear to me that authoritarian capitalism is not going to win…
I am betting on democratic capitalism but I think that the authoritarian capitalism, we cannot [over]state the threat to the way we go about our business, the way we think about the world.