The Life of the Party
17/02/2013 Deja un comentario
(…..) China’s new leaders will govern the country for the next ten years, during which they will rely on CCP’s adaptability, meritocracy, legitimacy to tackle major challenges. The current economic slowdown is worrying, but it is largely cyclical, not structural. 2 forces will reinvigorate economy for at least another generation: urbanization + entrepreneurship. In 1990, only about 25% of Chinese lived in cities. Today, 51% do. Before 2040, a full 75%, nearly one billion people, are expected to be urban. Amount of new roads, housing, utilities, and communications infrastructure needed to accommodate this expansion is astounding. Therefore, any apparent infrastructure or housing bubbles will be momentary. China’s leadership will need to continue or even increase investment in these sectors in the years to come. That investment and the vast new urban work force, with all its production and consumption, will drive high the economic growth rates. Party’s extraordinary ability to develop and execute policy and its political authority will help it manage these process (…..) Should the 18th Party Congress’ initiatives succeed, 2012 might one day be seen as marking the end of the idea that electoral democracy is the only legitimate and effective system of political governance. While China’s might grows, the West’s ills multiply: since winning Cold War, the United States has, in one generation, allowed its middle class to disintegrate. Its infrastructure languishes in disrepair, its politics, both electoral and legislative, have fallen captive to money and special interests. Its future generations will be so heavily indebted, a sustained decline in average living standards is all but certain. In Europe, too, monumental political, economic, social distress has caused European project to run aground. Meanwhile, during same period, China has lifted a hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and is now a leading industrial powerhouse. The West’s woes are self-inflicted. Claims that Western electoral systems are infallible have hampered self-correction. Elections are seen as ends in themselves, not merely means to good governance. Instead of producing capable leaders, electoral politics have made it very difficult for good leaders to gain power. And in the few cases when they do, they are paralyzed by their own political and legal systems. As U.S. Secretary of State Clinton travels around the world extolling electoral democracy, the legitimacy of nearly all the U.S. political institutions is crumbling. The approval rating of the U.S. Congress among the American people stood at 18% in November. The president was performing somewhat better, with ratings in the 50s. And even support for politically independent Supreme Court had fallen below 50%. Many developing countries have already come to learn that democracy doesn’t solve all their problems. For them, China’s example is important. Its recent success and failures of the West offer a stark contrast. To be sure, China’s political model will never supplant electoral democracy because, unlike latter, it does not pretend to be universal. It cannot be exported. But its success does show that many systems of political governance can work when they are congruent with a country’s culture and history. The significance of China’s success, then, is not that China provides the world with an alternative but that it demonstrates that successful alternatives exist. Twenty-four years ago, a political scientist Francis Fukuyama predicted all countries would eventually adopt liberal democracy and lamented that the world would become a boring place because of that. Relief is on the way. A more interesting age may be upon us.