The U.S. loves to say the words that Americans believe in and what Americans want the world to have under her leadership. As a world leader, the U.S. advocates freedom, human rights and democracy regardless whether her example is acceptable or not in a different society and whether or not her example is not yet perfected. The U.S. preaches a global vision and value system based on her belief including the concepts of American first, American exceptionalism as well as religious and social doctrines supported by her constitution. By the leadership of the U.S., freedom, human rights and democracy are often used to attack non-aligned regimes to the point of exercising ‘regime change’ to maintain ‘world order’. Unfortunately, the U.S. Administration is currently surrounded with key staffs like John Bolton, Peter Kent Navarro, etc. holding such hawkish Views.
In a TED speech, Dr. Dambisa Moyo convincingly challenged the Western (US led) presumption of liberty and democracy being the pre-requisite of economic development; rather she proclaimed that economic development (majority of population achieving middle class status) is the pre-requisite of liberty and democracy. She cites China’s successful development as an example, a model that many developing countries would like to learn from and replicate. Dr. Moyo was born 2 February 1969 in Lusaka, Zambia, grown to be an elegant African lady. Moyo holds a bachelor's degree in Chemistry and an MBA from the American University, an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School and a DPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford. She is an international economist and author who analyzes the macro-economy and global affairs. She serves on many corporate boards including Barclays Bank, the financial services group, Seagate Technology, Chevron, Barrick Gold and 3M Company. She also worked for two years at the World Bank and eight years at Goldman Sachs before becoming an independent author and international public speaker. To her credit, she has published four New York Times bestselling books: Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa (2009), How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly – And the Stark Choices that Lie Ahead (2011), Winner Take All: China's Race for Resources and What It Means for the World (2012), and the latest (2018) Edge of Chaos: Why Democracy Is Failing to Deliver Economic Growth – and How to Fix It (2018). Dr. Moyo’s books and speeches are very convincing and credible observations and statements.
Dr. Moyo is not the only scholar who has done a rational analysis on the West preferred political and economical systems, but she did it with the China model as a case study. In 1992, then Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Kuang Yao, in a post-speech Q/A at the Hong Kong University answering then Hong Kong governor Chris Patten’s question: What is your view regarding the progress of British de-colonization has made? PM Lee’s answer was that “I don’t think democracy made economic progress” (for the Asian colonies). In fact, he said democracy was repressive to the economic development. He cited the reason as that an elected short-term official with insecurity always places his personal interest as the first priority whereas a good government requires a strong leader (or a king in a royal system) to place the people’s interest as his or her highest priority. Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997 with the stipulation that Hong Kong will maintain its political system (democratic except the governor not elected by the citizens with one man one vote). Now twenty two years passed, Hong Kong maintained her economy (prosperity) with China granting her all kinds of privileges; but Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Shanghai made far more and faster economic progress making Hong Kong people feeling stressed. Sadly, an ignorant few of Hong Kong people blame this competitive pressure to Hong Kong on her political system for not having a full democracy (one man one vote). Thus, with external support and agitation, Hong Kong now has a small group pushing for Hong Kong independence. If PM Lee were alive today, he probably would laugh his head off since he knew what the real pressure being a small independent country trying to please two giants was really like.
In the Mainstream and Internet organic media, there are lots of studies and reports discussing China’s model and/or China threat. Unfortunately, the mainstream scholars dominate the floor thus the discussion is often biased with the Western view stated in the opening of this article. However, there are a few rational analyses in the organic media that can be summarized here. The readers are urged to evaluate these points and make your own assessment about the China model or China threat. The main points made about China’s political system or China’s Rise with Chinese characteristics can be listed as follows:
- China is a socialist country but does not reject capitalism; although China is an one-party ruling system but she does not reject accountability to her people or other monitoring parties.
- China has her self-developed economic development model, a mixture of government controlled and market driven economy, quite effective thus far.
- Majority of her citizens are patriotic, sensitive and responsive to inter-national conflicts concerning China’s interest, despite of some minority unrest.
- Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is extremely sensitive and accountable to people’s interest, exhibited by its effort in building infrastructure, taxation, removing poverty, disaster recovery, etc. ; China’s Government despite of some corruption is the world’s most effective government, seemingly able to accomplish any goal. China’s successes were measured by her five-year economic development plans which were developed with long-term and persistent views containing amazing measures to prevent, judge and solve problems.
- China has a unique personnel system for promoting able administrator, executive and political leader with scrutiny by people and party spanning decades with no interest group controlling or interfering.
- Education system is practical focusing on producing creative (science and technology) and leadership (management) people in large number; currently China’s leadership class has an average age below forty with high percentage being repatriates from overseas.
- China has a complete industrial and manufacturing supply chain system in most domains (from commodities, technology products to military equipments); China learned fast in making her superior products into global brands, applying network technology to create value and now leading in wireless and mobile products and business models.
- China has enormous savings, financial bank and trade reserves and the largest holdings of US treasury bills (US debts). China is capable of dealing with financial crises as exhibited in her response to Asia and World financial crises. In 2008, China was able to not only solve her own but also help solve the world financial crisis.
- China has a huge internal market thus being able to promote a consumption based economy. She is taking careful steps to steer her economy to increase domestic consumption as well as to foster innovative industries and remove harmful markets.
- China has maintained sound strategic economic development plans over at least four decades spanning several leadership succession cycles all based on a simple doctrine - serving the people, gradually learning from and opening to the world and pursuing constant reform and stressing peaceful rise in all domains if possible.
The above ten points describe China’s development model and reasons for her success, but perhaps they are also perceived by some as ‘China threat’ since no other nation seems to be able to match. Competition is unavoidable in the world. Human civilization should be matured enough to understand that humans must embrace competition in a healthy way so that humans learn from competition thus advancing civilization.