Re: Hu vs. Jiang

From Jonathan Lassen <>
Date Sat, 09 Oct 2004 14:41:15 -0500
Cc brian turner <>
In-reply-to <>
References <>
User-agent Mozilla Thunderbird 0.6 (Windows/20040502)

Hi Brian,

Let me take a stab at one of the questions, hopefully someone more
knowledgable will answer the others.

> On another issue, Joe Studwell (_The China Dream_) predicted the economy
> was in a gradual decline in the late 1990s, and I believed him at the
> time, but now the opposite seems the case.  Have you heard of any recent
> comments by him on this issue?  Has he revisited his argument?  Does
> anyone believe this is a growth bubble or is it real sustainable growth?

I haven't read Joe Studwell's book, so I'm not sure exactly what
arguments his prediction of a decline are based on. It certainly hasn't
happened yet. Whether we're in a bubble or not is anyone's guess, and 
can only be predicted with certainty after the fact.

Moreover, one of Studwell's key areas of pessimism (at least based on
reviews and info on Amazon) - that foreign companies would find it very
difficult to profit in China's domestic market - seems to be off the
mark. See the gushing of the multis in China at:

"Mainland moves from sideshow into the investment main event" SCMP

Whether this profit, or China's growth in general, is 'sustainable'  or 
not (capitalist growth can be sustainable? news to me) is another argument.

For some real interesting reading about whether this is a bubble or not
(I think it is), wibble over to:
"Andy Xie on China's Economy - China: A Major Correction Ahead"

(his: "China: The Playground" is also worth reading)

Also, on inequality



PS I also found a great recent article about rural inequality at:

Last, has anyone seen or heard this one before? Lu Xueyi is quoted as
saying that the 'actual' urban-rural income difference is 6:1.

brian turner wrote:
>> From: Marc Blecher <>
>> To:
>> Subject: Re: PRC Statistics
>> Date: Fri, 08 Oct 2004 08:58:09 -0400
>> Jonathan is right on growth data.
>> On inequality, see my notes for a recent talk at the APSA.
>> Marc
> Dr. Blecher: (or anyone else)
> Thanks for the interesting and informative notes.
> Could you elaborate on what the Hu/Wen vs. Jiang ideological debate is 
> exactly?  Being in VN has made it hard to follow China like I used to.
> And I thought your point about how addressing inequality might backfire 
> by raising expectations.  But are the expectations already there?  In 
> the 1980s, China had growth with lower than normal inequality, won't 
> people ask 'why not more of that?'
> My ignorant conjecture is the most important thing is how the inequality 
> is perceived.  If it is perceived as being earned or somehow natural, it 
> may be tolerated, but if it's perceived as the result of insider 
> connections or special treatment, or luck, maybe not.
> And I'd be curious to know whether people perceive local inequality 
> different from inquality between large regions (e.g. NW vs SE).