The Rise of the Dragon!
Part I: The Dragon Awakes…
Deng Xiaoping never held the title of the Head of State of China; nonetheless
his leadership of the Communist Party of China proved to be the catalyst that
has led the PRC on the path of becoming the most powerful nation on the face of
the Earth in the 21st Century.
It appears that Deng Xiaoping vision was clear for China. He knew that the road to economic transformation for the PRC would be an arduous journey paved with Communist hardliners and naysayers on all sides that questioned his commitment to the Socialist vision. Deng answer to his doubters was to “launch what he described as Socialism with Chinese Characteristics. Deng insisted the reforms were not capitalistic: I have expressed time and again that our modernization is a socialist one, Deng said.”(1)
Moving forward there have been some rather “poetic” descriptions of Deng’s policies which have seen as “radical pragmatism.” Deng himself called it “crossing the river by feeling for the stones” and the policy in its early stages was called the “the household responsibility system.” However, regardless of the verbiage utilized to describe Deng’s methods; the bottom line is they have proved to extremely effective. The facts of the matter dictate that “the reforms set in motion one of the longest sustained economic expansions in history; three decades of annual growth near 10 percent.”(2)
Deng’s vision was also “one of the primary causes of China’s economic growth was the loosening of restrictions on private businesses. Private enterprises began to sprout up, especially in the 1990s. These private enterprises quickly outperformed China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs). SOEs were not immediately dismantled, but they performed poorly compared to new private enterprises. Private companies were driven by a profit motive, rather than a political one, and were highly efficient compared to the aging SOEs.”(3)
Deng also put an “end to the commune system in the 1980s and expansion of private business ownership in China were important causes of China’s economic growth since 1978. However these were greatly aided by a huge influx of foreign investment during the Deng Xiaoping-era. Deng Xiaoping opened the door to foreign investment starting in the late 70s.”(4)
In closing in the Western world, Deng Xiaoping may be well known for his poignant quote “to get rich is glorious.” (5) However Deng’s methodology opened the door to a China that never existed previously. A massive land filled with a people that appeared to be determined to overcome their turbulent 20th Century; a nation that appears to be destined for greatness in the 21st Century. In my opinion more than any other leader in China’s modern history, the PRC has Deng Xiaoping to thank for their bright future.
Part II: The Dragon Attacks!
China is well on its way to becoming a global “super power” that will soon
eclipse the accomplishments of the former USSR. The concerns in the upper
echelon of American government are genuine; some of those thoughts are “the
implications of China's rapid ascent go far beyond those concerns. It is fast
becoming an economic giant, moving from low-end assembly lines and garment
sweatshops to high-end products and innovative approaches to green technology,
including wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars. Despite the
uncontrolled, almost Wild West nature of capitalism in China, for many
developing countries its muscular combination of top-down political control and
state-guided industrial growth represents a palpable challenge to the dominant
post–World War II paradigm of American-style development, and it is an
attractive one in many quarters.(1)
I am concerned that there are other places in the world where China's form of authoritarian capitalism is taking hold," says Carolyn Bartholomew, vice chair of the ESRC and a former aide to Representative Nancy Pelosi. "Look at how China is engaging in Africa.(2)
It's almost as if the continental plates of global politics are shifting beneath our feet," says Orville Schell, director of the Asia Society's Center on U.S.-China Relations. We suddenly have this other model of authoritarian capitalism that is proving to be remarkably successful, and it is even posing a challenge, not just economically but politically, to our belief that our system of democratic governance is the one that's best able to deliver a good life."(3)
In closing my personal opinion is China is well on its way to challenging the United States of America for our current status as the most powerful nation on Earth. Personally I am not comfortable with the concept of “China ruling the world”. Hopefully the leaders of both the United States and China can find an diplomatic solution to coexist; if not the possibility of war with China would have a devastating effect on the entire planet Earth!
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