Shanghai 1987-2013, with the new Shanghai Tower building on the right (Reuters/Carlos Barria)
Derek Scissors of the Heritage Foundation provides a more Cassandra-like contribution, written as of 2011. He cites the US unemployment figure then at 9%, just before we were entering what was to be the third "summer of recovery", and it is now lingering at around 7%. (The press would like you to disregard the wailing about the US economy under Bush when it rose to 4.9% – make no comparisons, nothing to see here, move along…)
One of the most surprising developments resulting from the financial crisis is the belief among ordinary Americans that China has become the world's leading economy. This view appeared in the roughest times of 2009 and has persisted even though the impact of the crisis has begun to ebb. US media have frequently conveyed the same belief. But it is patently absurd.
Buried within the report is a quick but cogent comparison to the Japanese stagnation, now entering the 23rd year of its "lost decade", with a chart that lays out how Japan's GDP growth increased by 444% between 1971 and 1991, but has increased only 3% since.
Tokyo repeatedly chose fiscal stimulus over reform. The outcome has been unpleasant.
The Japanese notwithstanding, Scissors presents a detailed look at the Chinese management of their economy, from the significant market reform begun in 1978 – experimentation with a capitalist economy under a Chinese Communist leadership – until the party leaders sought to increase its intervention in the market in 2003, fearing an increasing loss of control. He ends with some sharp recommendations:
Limit federal control of lands to defense needs and preservation of natural and cultural phenomena.
Immediately and sharply cut the federal deficit.
In particular, reduce subsidies of every kind./
Ensure a well-educated and growing labor force.
Last March, even CBS in its 60 Minutes provided a glimpse behind those Potemkin façades in the sparkling new yet empty Chinese cities:
Zhengdong New Area, central district (BI)