From Publishers Weekly
In his latest take on global geopolitics, the economics editor of The Guardian performs an ambitious dissection of U.S. and Chinese economic policy, sounding the alarm that "the implications could not be more profound" should Western superpowers fail to shape China into a workable model of democracy and enlightenment. Delving into the 3,000 year history of the Chinese, Hutton introduces readers to Confucius and Mao, the rise of Chinese Communism and the political experiments that have left the Chinese economy "in an unstable halfway house-an economy that is neither socialist nor properly capitalist run by a party that is neither revolutionary nor subject to the normal constitutional checks and balances of even China's own Confucian past." The big questions-of how much longer the Communist party can deliver economically, of where the world will head if U.S. protectionism triumphs in painting the East as an enemy-are brilliantly analyzed, with an eye toward maximizing gain for all players: despite the fact that the U.S.'s "strategic trade policy-openness-is being exploited by a potential superpower rival," Hutton looks to the history of the U.S. to explain why, "if it can stay open, the U.S. will be rewarded by the ultimate achievement of transforming communist China and growing richer at the same time." This book pushes back from the center against those who see globalization as "a juggernaut threatening to carry us all away either to a free market nirvana-or hades" with sound historical overview and a rational call for economic pragmatism.
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The authoritarian government of China, Communist in name, quasi capitalist in economics, and strenuously nationalistic in foreign policy, inspires many books advising how Western powers should deal with its growing power. This example from a prominent British economics journalist follows James Kynge's China Shakes the World
(2006) and discusses the historical and contemporary economic data beneath the issues Kynge raises. Due to corruption, overinvestment of capital, underconsumption by the populace, and a reluctance to let its currency float, the Communist government, to summarize Hutton's thesis, is brittle and ever wary of popular opposition. Lest internal economic tensions prompt the regime to do something risky, such as invade Taiwan, Hutton advocates a host of policies both for the regime itself and the U.S. Critiquing the latter's international economic condition from a left-of-center perspective, Hutton urges the U.S. to shy away from Bush administration policies, stand for Enlightenment-style liberalism, and mollify rather than confront China. Confidently counseled, Hutton's informed views will engage those current on Chinese affairs. Gilbert TaylorCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved