“China is a fundamental game changer. Not only the great competitor, for the first time in U.S. history and for the first time in a century, but also raising the most fundamental questions about economic organization, about capitalism itself and about the next system that replaces capitalism...”
The newest Global Capitalism lecture is all about the Chinese economy. In “China - US’s First Real Competitor in a Century”, professor Richard Wolff introduces the successes, problems and lessons from “Chinese Socialism” and what it means for global capitalism.
Prof Wolff is not advocating for China. But finally, we can learn from their economy outside of capitalism’s bias or through Western Cold-War style propaganda.
The Chinese economy has achieved some remarkable success. Their growth in GDP, real wages, technical capacity and transportation infrastructure is unmatched. They’ve been able to keep COVID’s impact low, and at times, they have reigned in multinational corporations.
“When that power speaks in China, everybody nods. And that is a remarkable use of their power of mobilization and coordination.”
However, the Chinese economy is not without problems. Chinese wealth has been export-based. When the world economy elsewhere struggles, how will the Chinese continue to employ their workers that make goods for international trade? Will the Communist-party be able to exist alongside their private, capitalist industry? Can they have more civil liberties?
“The Chinese government- being a government of communists at least ideologically opposed to capitalism, critics of capitalism, suspicious of capitalism- have a problem in having invited and enabled an immense private capitalist sector that can and already has bumped heads with the Communist party and the government.”
Prof Wolff dedicates the latter-half of the lecture to Chinese relationships with the rest of the world. How can the United States with a company like Walmart simultaneously blame China for economic loss & rely on them for cheap consumer goods? The interdependence of China with the rest of the world is a key factor that changes our understanding of socialism v.s. capitalism.
“I am neither an advocate nor an enemy of the People's Republic of China. My presentation today attempts to be balanced in explaining what's going on rather than taking a particular position.”
China is a key part of our modern history. Everyone around the world is connected to their economy somehow, even as capitalist countries are abundant with criticism. We’re offering this deep-dive into China’s economic power in hopes that we can understand the status of global capitalism.
Watch this lecture on our YouTube channel today.
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