Engagement’s Second-Order Catastrophes

Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell’s book Invisible China is an interesting if somewhat dry look at the development challenges China faces over the next 20 years. Chinese officials are perhaps the book’s main target audience. Rozelle and Hell worry that unless Communist officialdom takes drastic action soon, China will be stuck in what has been called the “middle income trap.”

But this post is not about China. Rather, it is about what China did to Mexico. Mexico is the cautionary tale Rozelle and Hell want to scare Chinese officials with. “If you don’t reform now,” they seem to argue, “what you did to Mexico will be done to you!” That is a boogeyman worth fearing.

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When “Engagement” Backfired: The Story Behind Pro-Communist Private Enterprise

Image source Min Ye’s  The Belt Road and Beyond: State-Mobilized Globalization in China 1998–2018 is an interesting, if dense, examination of Chinese development politics. I dislike the jargon Ye has invented to convey her ideas, but am delighted with the evidence she marshals in support of her arguments. Ye wants to focus our understanding of […]

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The World That China Wants (III): Taking Chinese Communism Seriously

Image source A few months back I promised I would highlight some of the key passages in Dan Tobin’s testimony to Congress, “How Xi Jinping’s ‘New Era’ Should Have Ended U.S. Debate on Beijing’s Ambitions.” Tobin’s testimony has since been published by CSIS as a full length report, but in my citations below I will […]

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The Problem Isn’t the ‘Merit,’ It’s the ‘Ocracy’

Image Source Two weeks or so ago Liam Bright posted the following tweet: Liberal technocrats give us literally no reason at all to think their interests are aligned with the great majority of people, yet when they are attacked as a governing class they stress their credentials and competency. But it’d be worse if they’re […]

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Why Taiwanese Leaders Put Political Symbolism Above Military Power

image Source How many people ruin themselves by laying out money on trinkets of frivolous utility? What pleases these lovers of toys is not so much the utility, as the aptness of the machines which are fitted to promote it. All their pockets are stuffed with little conveniencies. They contrive new pockets, unknown in the […]

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Are We Ready For What Comes Next?

“We must maintain a holistic view of national security. We take the people’s security as our ultimate goal, political security as our fundamental task, and economic security as our foundation.”  —Secretary General Xi Jinping, April 2014. Are we ready for what comes next? The news this week is that the United States of America has […]

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In Hong Kong, Your Clothes Matter

I have not had much time to devote to blogging this week, but I would like to forward a report I suspect most readers will find as fascinating as I have: the Asian Productivity Organization‘s APO Productivity Databook 2015. I have been slowly leafing through it over the last month; on every page there is a […]

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