Ah, if only we could be more like the Chinese, says Andy Stern in today’s Wall Street Journal. If only we could come up with some centralized, five year plans to drive our economy, our problems would be solved! He writes:
The conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model—so successful in the 20th century—is being thrown onto the trash heap of history in the 21st century. In an era when countries need to become economic teams, Team USA’s results—a jobless decade, 30 years of flat median wages, a trade deficit, a shrinking middle class and phenomenal gains in wealth but only for the top 1%—are pathetic.
What free market? When’s the last time we’ve had a free market? And has anyone noticed that as our market has become less free, things have gotten worse? As for the “jobless decade,” our unemployment rate was fairly normal until Barack Obama was sworn in. Then things got a lot more jobless. Shouldn’t he call it the jobless “term of office?”
I keep hearing about the wonders of China, but the Chinaphiles gloss over the side affects of centralized planning: slave labor, gulags, executions of dissidents… wonderful! And what people don’t seem to get is that these are natural outcomes of centralized planning because centralized planning means removal of economic freedom, and you can’t have personal freedom without economic freedom.
But hey, China’s people are wealthy? Right? Well, no. China’s ranks 121st in gross income per capita, below such winning economies as Botswana and Jamaica.
China keeps its people artificially poor, their wages artificially low, and their savings diminished in value, in order to increase the profits flowing into the state enterprises run by Beijing’s power elite, a good deal of the returns being captured by the thriving entrepreneurs who make up the officers’ corps of the People’s Liberation Army. When one considers that China’s economic strategy is predicated on creating needless poverty for its people, it all seems a lot less clever…
Which is pretty much what happened in the USSR. Everyone was poor except for the small cadre in charge. As for China’s fabulous economy today… well, we’ll see. Many experts are now saying that the Chinese government has created a bubble economy.
I’m not betting on China.