Tuesday, January 7, 2014

China and World developments. Some musings.

Larry Summers former US Treasurer was quoted in the Wall Street Journal on January 2nd as follows. Calling China an economic miracle he went on "When the US was growing at its fastest , it doubled living standards about every 30 years. China has been doubling living standards roughly each decade for the past 30 years - and it has done so without following Washington's playbook for development. China's super-rapid growth has already lasted three times longer than a typical episode (in world history) and is the longest ever." Summers doubts that it can last. We, the authors of this blog have also been saying that it cannot last. We have been pointing to China's problems with pollution class conflict and  political crisis, and also to the development of a new world recession as possible obstacles.

But we want to be a bit more conditional than was our habit in the past about world perspectives. We do not want to remain set in old ways when "we knew everything" and perspectives were unconditional. We want to be open to various alternatives and not get into the old ways of the past when it was just capitalism is in crisis and that was that. Therefore I would like to ask these questions.
Can something of a more fundamental character be developing. Not that capitalism is getting out or or will ever get out of its crisis but to what extent if any could there be a new phase opening up in the world economy and can there be a major change in world relations between the capitalist powers.
Has something major changed in the world already? Are we insufficiently open to more major changes in world perspectives. The World Bank estimates that since initiating market reforms in 1978, China has lifted more than 500 million people out of poverty. This is no small potatoes, this is not a few bowls of rice. Then I see the Chinese elite with their giant aircraft carriers, their landing on the moon, their putting down roots in the former colonial countries, their buying big companies in the advanced capitalist world, and I wonder are we missing something here. Could there be a new phase in world history opening up? I doubt this given the crisis of climate change, the massive pollution in China, the increased conflict between the classes in China and internationally, the increased conflict between the different powers, the likelihood of the other shoe dropping in relation to the 2008 economic crisis. However I am just putting up these few musings because I am worried that I might we missing something

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