Andy Hearts the Chicoms
Topic: Liberal Fascism
Why bother to caricature progressives when they do it for me?
China's Superior Economic Model
It's superior to the US economic model, of course. Who thinks this? None other than Andy Stern, former president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and senior fellow at Columbia University's Richman Center. Stern, in case you didn’t know, is a leading critic of free-market capitalism, and he thinks he’s found the alternative in Communist China:
I was part of a U.S.-China dialogue—a trip organized by the China-United States Exchange Foundation and the Center for American Progress—with high-ranking Chinese government officials, both past and present. For me, the tension resulting from the chorus of American criticism [over China’s currency, trade and foreign policies] paled in significance compared to reading the emerging outline of China's 12th five-year plan. The aims: a 7% annual economic growth rate; a $640 billion investment in renewable energy; construction of six million homes; and expanding next-generation IT, clean-energy vehicles, biotechnology, high-end manufacturing and environmental protection—all while promoting social equity and rural development.
Wow! And he goes on:
Some Americans are drawing lessons from this. Last month, the China Daily quoted Orville Schell, who directs the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society, as saying: “I think we have come to realize the ability to plan is exactly what is missing in America.” The article also noted that Robert Engle, who won a Nobel Prize in 2003 for economics, has said that while China is making five-year plans for the next generation, Americans are planning only for the next election.
That the Chinese government is both brutal and corrupt, that the vast majority of the Chinese people continue to live in grinding poverty, that ethnic and religious minorities are viciously suppressed—these are minor blemishes as far as Mr. Stern is concerned. They have five-year plans! Yes, indeed, and so did Stalin.
Of course, the idea that China is a rising superpower poised to dislodge America from the top slot is an adolescent fantasy. Look beneath the high-tech façade (which Mr. Stern did not) and you see a society riddled with political, social and economic contradictions. You also see—thanks to the Chinese government’s ruthless one-child policy—a country on the verge of a huge demographic crisis. The outlook for China is, in fact, grim. And that’s bad news for the world, for as the economic and demographic noose begins to tighten around the collective neck of China’s Inner Party, the temptation to escape the choke hold via military adventurism will grow.
Stern’s Valentine to Communist China is in the great tradition of progressivism. Similar praises were heaped on Stalin’s Soviet Union and even on Fascist Italy by earlier generations of progressives: Beatrice and Sidney Webb, George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, etc. To people like that it seemed self-evident that rational economic planning was superior to the uncontrolled churning of a free market economy. History has taught otherwise, but Andy Stern was absent from class that day.
Posted by tmg110
at 9:16 AM EST