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Why China Does Capitalism Better than the U.S. - Tony Karon (为何中国比我们还更会搞资本主义? - 浪宽)
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Original English

Why China Does Capitalism Better than the U.S.
Tony Karon

One of the great ironies revealed by the global recession that began in 2008 is that Communist Party-ruled China may be doing a better job managing capitalism's crisis than the democratically elected U.S. government. Beijing's stimulus spending was larger, infinitely more effective at overcoming the slowdown, and directed at laying the infrastructural tracks for further economic expansion.

As Western democracies shuffle wheezily forward, China's economy roars along at a steady clip, having lifted some half a billion people out of poverty over the past three decades and rapidly creating the world's largest middle class to provide an engine for long-term domestic consumer demand. Sure, there's massive social inequality, but there always is in a capitalist system. (Income inequality rates in the U.S. are some of the worst in the industrialized world, and here more people are falling into poverty than are being raised out of it — the 43 million Americans officially designated as living in poverty in 2009 was the highest number in the 51 years that records have been kept.) (See TIME's photoessay "The Rise of Hu Jintao.")

Beijing is also doing a far more effective job than Washington is of tooling its economy to meet future challenges — at least according to historian Francis Fukuyama, erstwhile neoconservative intellectual heavyweight. "President Hu Jintao's rare state visit to Washington this week comes at a time when many Chinese see their weathering of the financial crisis as a vindication of their own system, and the beginning of an era in which U.S.-style liberal ideas will no longer be dominant," wrote Fukukyama in Tuesday's Financial Times under a headline stating that the U.S. had nothing to teach China. "State-owned enterprises are back in vogue, and were the chosen mechanism through which Beijing administered its massive stimulus."

Chinese leaders are more inclined today to scold the U.S. — its debtor to the tune of close to a trillion dollars — than to emulate it, and Fukuyama notes that polls show a larger percentage of Chinese people believing their country is headed in the right direction compared to Americans. China's success in navigating the economic crisis, says Fukuyama, was based on the ability of its authoritarian political system to "make large, complex decisions quickly, and ... make them relatively well, at least in economic policy."

These are startling observations from a writer who, 19 years ago, famously proclaimed that the collapse of the Soviet Union heralded "the end of history as such... That is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government." (See "TimeFrames: An Eye on China, Old and New.")

Fukuyama has had the good grace and intellectual honesty to admit he was wrong. And he's no apologist for Chinese authoritarianism, calling out its abuses and corruption, and making clear that he believes the absence of democracy will eventually hobble China's progress. Still, he notes, while they don't hold elections, China's Communist leaders are nonetheless responsive to public opinion. (Of course they are! A Party brought to power by a peasant rebellion knows full well the destructive potential of the rage of working people.) But the regime claims solid support from the Chinese middle class, and hedges against social explosion by directing resources and investment to more marginal parts of the country.

China's leaders, of course, never subscribed to Fukuyama's "end of history" maxim; the Marxism on which they were reared would have taught them that there is no contingent relationship between capitalism and democracy, and they only had to look at neighbors such as Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore to see economic success stories under authoritarian rule — although the prosperity thus achieved played a major role in transforming Taiwan and South Korea into the noisy democracies they are today. Nor were Beijing's leaders under any illusions that the free market could take care of such basic needs as education, health care and infrastructure necessary to keep the system as a whole growing.
But Fukuyama is also making a point about the comparative inability of the U.S. system to respond decisively to a long-term crisis. "China adapts quickly, making difficult decisions and implementing them effectively," Fukuyama writes. "Americans pride themselves on constitutional checks and balances, based on a political culture that distrusts centralised government. This system has ensured individual liberty and a vibrant private sector, but it has now become polarised and ideologically rigid. At present it shows little appetite for dealing with the long-term fiscal challenges the U.S. faces. Democracy in America may have an inherent legitimacy that the Chinese system lacks, but it will not be much of a model to anyone if the government is divided against itself and cannot govern." (See "China's High-Speed Rail.")
Money has emerged as the electoral trump card in the U.S. political system, and corporations have a Supreme Court-recognized right to use their considerable financial muscle to promote candidates and policies favorable to their business operations and to resist policies and shut out candidates deemed inimical to their business interests. So, whether it's health reform or the stimulus package, the power of special interests in the U.S. system invariably produces either gridlock, or mish-mash legislation crafted to please the narrow interests of a variety of competing interests rather than the aggregated interests of the economy and society as a whole. Efficient and rational decision-making it's not. Nor does it appear capable of tackling long-term problems. (Comment on this story.)

China is the extreme opposite, of course: It can ride roughshod over the lives of its citizens. For example, building a dam that requires the forced relocation of 1.5 million people who have no channels through which to protest. But China's system is unlikely to give individual corporations the power to veto or shape government decision making to suit their own bottom line at the expense of the needs of the system as a whole in the way that, to choose but one example, U.S. pharmaceutical companies are able to wield political influence to deny the government the right to negotiate drug prices for the public health system. Fukuyama seems to be warning that in Darwinian terms, the Chinese system may currently be more adaptive than the Land of the Free.

Chinese Translation

为何中国比我们还更会搞资本主义?
浪宽

Translated by:http://blog.wenxuecity.com/blogview.php?date=201101&postID=22979

始于2008年的全球经济衰退,让我们看到一个最据伟大讽刺意义的事实,即共产党统治的中国,竟然比我们美国的民选政府,更会应负和处理资本主义的危机。中国的经济刺激方案,开支比俺们的还要大,对抗经济衰退的效果也好得多啊。他们的钱大多用在建设基础设施,从而进一步奠定了将来经济发展的基础。你看看他们建了多少楼房和高铁,而我们呢,一直在发补贴给那些没的吃没得住的人。

正当我们西方的这些民主国家苟延残喘之际,中国的经济却咆哮地往前突飞猛进。在过去三十年,中国让5亿人脱贫,从而迅速创造了世界上最大的中产阶级,为本国提供了长期的消费需求的引擎。你当然可以指责说,他们的贫富差距太大,社会不公很严重,可资本主义制度下,不都这样吗?大家是彼此彼此、半斤八两。 美国人的收入不平等实际上是发达工业国中最严重的。2009年,有4300万美国人正式生活在贫困线以下,这是51年来最高的纪录。

中国在为将来经济发展所做的准备,对于应付未来的挑战方面,也胜美国一筹。胡总对美国罕见国事访问,是在他们用自己的办法,成功地抵御了金融危机之后,也象征着一个新时代的开启。美国式的自由理念将不再是主导。美国实在没有什么可教给中国人的了。中国模式的核心是政府向国有企业注入庞大的资金来达到刺激经济的目的。我们的自由经济系统在这方面是一筹莫展。奥总花了那点钱,就已经被“茶党”们骂的狗血喷头了。

中国领导人现在终于有资格骂美国人了,我们的债务接近一万亿美元。民调显示,更多的中国人相信他们的国家正朝着正确的方向发展,而这样看自己国家的美国人就少了。中国应对经济危机的成功,一个重要的原因就是,中央集权的制度,让政府有能力快速做出重大而复杂的经济决策,不像我们,国会天天为怎样花钱打架,钱不能到位,等钱到了,问题也更严重了。

真是“三十年河东,三十年河西”啊。19年前,当苏联的解体之际,谁也想不到会出现现在的局面。我们以为,历史将以西方自由民主的全球化而告终呢。

承认这样的认知错误,不仅需要良好的风度,也需要智慧和诚实。我们不是为中国专制辩护,它的弊端和腐败也是无可争辩的。没有民主,最终还是会阻碍中国的进步。不过,令人不解的是,虽然中国共产党领导人不是选举出来的,但他们也会顺应民意。也许是,不这样做不行,一个通过农民起义发家掌权的党,一定比谁都更明白广大劳动人民愤怒的潜在破坏力。

美国的现行制度,似乎对国家的长期的危机束手无策。中国人能够快速地适应新形势,作出困难的决定,并加以有效实施。而美国人引以为豪的三权分立、互相制衡的宪法和政治生态,则基于对中央集权政府的不信任感。我们的政治系统本来是为了确保个人自由和充满活力的私营企业。但这个系统现在出了问题了,它现在已走向两极化,已经搞得思想僵化。目前的情形非常清楚的显示,美国人根本没有勇气来着手处理他们所面对的长期的财政挑战孔。的确,美国的民主体系可能有一种内在的合法性,是中国的体系所缺乏的,但如果一个政府如果因为自身的分裂和两极分化,以至于无法正常运作,那它绝对不会是别人学习的模式。

在美国钱已经成为的政治选举的王牌。最高法院认可任何企业有权使用他们的财力来支持自己的候选人,抵制和封杀对自己不利的候选人。所以,无论是医疗改革还是经济刺激计划,由于特殊利益集团的参与,要么不能落实,要么最后搞出一个能取悦某些利益集团的折衷方案,而不太可能按照全社会的整体利益来立法。这样一来,就不可能出现高效而合理的决策。更不可能有解决长远问题的能力。

中国的情况恰恰相反,政府可以凌驾在公民之上。例如,要建一个大坝,150万人搬迁,想不搬迁也不行,不会有什么有效的管道让你可以抗议。但是,中国的系统不会让任何个别的企业,有权否决或左右政府的决策。中国政府的决策,不会为了某部分人的利益,而牺牲国家的整体利益。

一句话,目前看来,中国的社会制度,可能比美国的自由制度更具有适应能力和生命力。

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English to Chinese Translation - 中文翻译 - Business, Economy - 为何中国比我们还更会搞资本主义? 浪宽 Why China Does Capitalism Better than the U.S.Tony Karon