Reihan Salam at National Review pokes at U.S. union overlord Andy Stern's belief that we have a lot to learn from China:
Andy Stern believes that the Chinese economic model is superior to what he calls the “conservative-preferred, free-market fundamentalist, shareholder-only model.”....Andy Stern believes that the United States needs a Chinese-style central plan to flourish, one that will be executed by a streamlined government.
To really learn from the Chinese, and to enjoy such staggering growth rates, we should go about things differently: let’s have a Maoist insurrection followed by a civil war that lasts for several years. Then let’s destroy most of the wealth in the country, and drive out millions of our most enterprising and educated citizens by launching systematic terror campaigns during which millions of others will die in violence or of starvation. Next, let’s have a modest economic opening in coastal regions: impoverished citizens will be allowed to launch small-scale township and village enterprises and components will be assembled in a handful of cities by our stunted descendants. Then let’s severely curb those township and village enterprises because they represent a potential political threat and invite large foreign multinationals and state-owned enterprises [let's not forget those!] to work our population to the bone at artificially suppressed wage rates, threatening those who complain with serious reprisals up to and including death. Let us also initiate a population control policy designed to improve our dependency ratio for a few decades. As large numbers of workers shift from low-value agricultural work to manufacturing, we will experience … rapid growth! Mind you, getting from here to there will involve destroying an enormous swathe of our present-day GDP. And that sectoral shift from rural to urban work will run out of gas pretty fast, as will the population control policy that will guarantee rapid aging.
Link via Scott Sumner at Money Illusion, who adds: "There’s nothing I find more annoying than people who talk about how we need to learn from China’s 'success.' I’m all for learning from other countries, but can we please focus on actual success stories (Denmark, Switzerland, Singapore) and not a country that is much poorer than Mexico."