Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Real Threat to China's Development

Though there's much that I've disagreed with on his blog in the last year, I think Thomas Barnett nails it in his read of what hinders China's development and leadership in the world:

The main reason why China can't lead the world for now is that it hasn't established any sort of real leadership yet in Asia and because maintaining its own regime legitimacy remains job #1 of the Communist Party. Neither reality allows China enough risk-toleration to become a serious leader. If you can't suffer losses, you can't handle risk, and if you can't handle serious risk, you can't be a global leader.
Along with a useful analogy: "Imagine a U.S. that couldn't replace its party in power: it never would have recovered from Vietnam and it wouldn't be able to recover now." I would add that as is true for markets, competition in politics results in accountability and, somewhat counter intuitively, long term stability.

Update: More from Thomas Barnett's blog - "China is not ready to lead."

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