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China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know(R) is a concise introduction to the most astonishing economic growth story of the last three decades. In the 1980s China was an impoverished backwater, struggling to escape the political turmoil and economic mismanagement of the Mao era. Today it is the world's second biggest economy, the largest manufacturing and trading China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know(R) is a concise introduction to the most astonishing economic growth story of the last three decades. In the 1980s China was an impoverished backwater, struggling to escape the political turmoil and economic mismanagement of the Mao era. Today it is the world's second biggest economy, the largest manufacturing and trading nation, the consumer of half the world's steel and coal, the biggest source of international tourists, and one of the most influential investors in developing countries from southeast Asia to Africa to Latin America. China's growth has lifted 700 million people out of poverty. It has also created a monumental environmental mess, with smog-blanketed cities and carbon emissions that are a leading cause of climate change. Multinational companies make billions of dollars in profits in China each year, but traders around the world shudder at every gyration of the country's unruly stock markets. Most surprising of all, its capitalist economy is governed by an authoritarian Communist Party that shows no sign of loosening its grip. How did China grow so fast for so long? Can it keep growing and still solve its problems of environmental damage, fast-rising debt and rampant corruption? How long can its vibrant economy co-exist with the repressive one-party state? What do China's changes mean for the rest of the world? China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know(R) answers these questions in straightforward language that you don't need to be an economist to understand, but with a wealth of detail drawn from academic research, interviews with dozens of company executives and policy makers, and a quarter-century of personal experience. Whether you're doing business in China, negotiating with its government officials, or a student trying to navigate the complexities of this fascinating and diverse country, this is the one book that will tell you everything you need to know about how China works, where it came from and where it's going.


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China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know(R) is a concise introduction to the most astonishing economic growth story of the last three decades. In the 1980s China was an impoverished backwater, struggling to escape the political turmoil and economic mismanagement of the Mao era. Today it is the world's second biggest economy, the largest manufacturing and trading China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know(R) is a concise introduction to the most astonishing economic growth story of the last three decades. In the 1980s China was an impoverished backwater, struggling to escape the political turmoil and economic mismanagement of the Mao era. Today it is the world's second biggest economy, the largest manufacturing and trading nation, the consumer of half the world's steel and coal, the biggest source of international tourists, and one of the most influential investors in developing countries from southeast Asia to Africa to Latin America. China's growth has lifted 700 million people out of poverty. It has also created a monumental environmental mess, with smog-blanketed cities and carbon emissions that are a leading cause of climate change. Multinational companies make billions of dollars in profits in China each year, but traders around the world shudder at every gyration of the country's unruly stock markets. Most surprising of all, its capitalist economy is governed by an authoritarian Communist Party that shows no sign of loosening its grip. How did China grow so fast for so long? Can it keep growing and still solve its problems of environmental damage, fast-rising debt and rampant corruption? How long can its vibrant economy co-exist with the repressive one-party state? What do China's changes mean for the rest of the world? China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know(R) answers these questions in straightforward language that you don't need to be an economist to understand, but with a wealth of detail drawn from academic research, interviews with dozens of company executives and policy makers, and a quarter-century of personal experience. Whether you're doing business in China, negotiating with its government officials, or a student trying to navigate the complexities of this fascinating and diverse country, this is the one book that will tell you everything you need to know about how China works, where it came from and where it's going.

30 review for China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know

  1. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know by Arthur R. Kroeber is a concise and interesting text that lays out the basics of China's economy. It covers this topic from China's political, financial and social structures, examining topics like demographics, financing business and government, the nature of Chinese political power, and China's ambitions on the global stage. This book is both simple and comprehensive; it examines multiple competing factors in China's economy, while staying away China's Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know by Arthur R. Kroeber is a concise and interesting text that lays out the basics of China's economy. It covers this topic from China's political, financial and social structures, examining topics like demographics, financing business and government, the nature of Chinese political power, and China's ambitions on the global stage. This book is both simple and comprehensive; it examines multiple competing factors in China's economy, while staying away from intricate economic calculations and analysis. It also avoids and even dispels many of the tropes of China's business and political culture, challenging the notion of rampant Executive power, Chinese economic cheating, and so on. Kroeber instead focuses on the facts, and offers a clear analysis of the topic at hand, which is admirable, and makes the book more engaging and authoritative. Interesting topics abound in this text. China's demographics is shifting and, within the next 30 years or so, will be a population on a demographic decline. China's crude one child policy was a feature of this decline, but Kroeber argues that it is a natural occurrence due to China's growing affluence. China has been successful at bringing some 700 million Chinese citizens out of poverty, and although the country is much poorer (in GDP per capita) than many Western countries, it has certainly been successful at gradually and successfully improving the standard of living for most Chinese citizens. Another interesting topic was China's growing interest in making itself a more prominent economic power. It's continued participation in many multilateral trade agreements and agencies, as well as the development of its own - the interesting and controversial Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to counter the US/Japanese dominated Asian Development Bank, has seen much needed capital promised for development across the Asia-Pacific region. China is also looking to set up the Reminbi as a global currency, although this project is still very much incomplete. China's environmental issues are also examined, as China struggles to cut its reliance on coal, the only energy resource it has in abundance. This is a difficult feat, as China cannot strategically rely to heavily on energy imports - lest this is used as an economic weapon by rival states. China has increased investments in renewable energy resources and technologies, while also looking to alter its business funding strategies to encourage the development of more efficient manufacturing and service industries, which will move away from the infrastructure and energy intensive production and funding techniques currently in place in China. Kroeber also examines the upcoming strategies in China. China is looking to increase its import security by constructing the "One Belt, One Road" initiative - a series of roads, ports, railways and infrastructure projects both across Central Asia, and through the Indian Ocean. China's internal policy revolves around a few factors: Xi Jinping wishes to secure the CCP's position as China's only political force, and is focusing on centralizing key political positions through the creation of Leading Small Groups - steering committees for important topics like the economy, foreign security, and environmental concerns. China is also looking to liberalize the economy by promoting private enterprise, and continuing to slowly erode the power of its State Owned Enterprises - which are on the whole quite wasteful in terms of efficiency, and often part of China's corruption issues. China is focusing on transitioning its economy away from its manufacturing lead approach, and is trying to do so by improving efficiencies and encouraging the growth of its own consumer economy. Kroeber also looks to combat stereotypes on Chinese economics. He disapproves of the notion that China is looking to steal manufacturing away from Western nations. Quite the opposite, much of China's raw material imports continue to come from other countries, and the vast rise in China's labour wages is encouraging many countries to seek manufacturing options in Africa and Asia. He examines the conflict between China's external security interests, and its desire for continued economic growth, noting the unease many countries have about allowing to much Chinese economic investment domestically (probably warranted), but also noting China's long standing domestic policy of non-interference. This seems to be changing under the leadership of Xi Jinping, but so far China's record of non-interference in foreign affairs is pretty solid. This conflict will probably play out within China's political system, and could potentially see (or has seen) the creation of two competing policy interests within the country. As it is right now, China seems to shy away from direct confrontation, and usually seeks multilateral solutions to its problems - bar the South China Sea dispute. Finally, the notion of China being the "workshop of the world" is examined. Although China is able to create cheap goods that are globally competitive, it has also seen a large increase in labour wages, making it a less attractive option for multinational firms looking to offshore costs. China is also relatively low tech in terms of its technological prowess in comparison to Western nations. This would make it difficult for China to be too assertive as a global economic power, as nations like South Korea and Japan operate at much higher levels of technological development, and focus on product quality in a way China cannot match as of yet. This is beginning to change, but will take time, as technologies and intellectual capital take time and experience to gain, and China has only been operating at its current economic trajectory for a few decades. Kroeber also notes the gradual decrease in Chinese growth rates, and posits at how this may effect China and its internal politics. Currently, there is a high degree of support for China's authoritarian style system domestically (as far as observers can tell anyway, as official statistics do not exist), as it seems the high growth rate and rapidly improving social conditions are strong enough factors to keep many satisfied. China couples this with sharp crackdowns, and control over the information systems in the country, as the Tienanmen Square crackdown, or China's harsh repression over its blogging and information spheres can contest. These factors seem to be effective at maintaining the CCP's current political shape and stability. China has constantly been able to defy Western observers who couple economic growth with political liberalization. However, this issue has not played out, and China is certainly a nation that has changed vastly and dramatically within the last few decades. I believe this dilemma has not been comprehensibly solved, so it is difficult for me to buy into any conclusions. Many more topics are covered; suffice to say I quite enjoyed my time with this book. It is comprehensive while also maintaining a concise and readable format. It is not overly technical, while being well sourced and containing interesting statistics and figures. It contains excellent and relevant information on China's current economic structures. Not to be missed by China watchers, or those looking for a good analysis of China's economy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    For anyone interested in China's economy there are some good statistics and things to pull out of this but this guy's mainstream economic views are really irritating. I really don't understand how people can look around at what's going on in the world and continue to glorify things like development, growth, increased consumerism, innovation and "efficiency" (the way economists use the word, not actually saving energy and resources like it's supposed to mean). We're already using way more than For anyone interested in China's economy there are some good statistics and things to pull out of this but this guy's mainstream economic views are really irritating. I really don't understand how people can look around at what's going on in the world and continue to glorify things like development, growth, increased consumerism, innovation and "efficiency" (the way economists use the word, not actually saving energy and resources like it's supposed to mean). We're already using way more than the planet can sustain and these idiots are telling us not to worry because the damage tends to level off as countries become fully developed. Well, whoopdee fucking doo. I guess we should all just sheepishly let things run their course then, right? So stupid. Even the leveling off phase is horrible since it's not just a result of things like recycling and updated factory designs. Instead businesses are basically just coming up with ways to get people to buy things that they used to get for free. Plus, with economic systems that require growth, if they survive long enough, eventually everything is being bought and sold and technologies can't be improved or miniaturized any further, then resource use and pollution have to start increasing again for the economy to keep growing. I mean, this isn't rocket science. It's unbelievable that so many people are still pretending that there's nothing wrong with infinite growth. I have no patience for it anymore.

  3. 4 out of 5

    James

    For those interested in economics this is a must read, China has a strange economic setup of which only bits and pieces are reported on in the mass media and much of that coverage is nonsense. It's not just about money, it covers the society and politics that formed the new China out of the ashes of a starving, poorly governed country to one that provides a decent living for most of its citizens. These gains came from a relaxing of economic rules and a changeover from state to private For those interested in economics this is a must read, China has a strange economic setup of which only bits and pieces are reported on in the mass media and much of that coverage is nonsense. It's not just about money, it covers the society and politics that formed the new China out of the ashes of a starving, poorly governed country to one that provides a decent living for most of its citizens. These gains came from a relaxing of economic rules and a changeover from state to private enterprises while the Communist party tightly controlled the political world. Is China going to wipe out the US economy? Like Japan did in the 1980s? (hint: they didn't). The book takes a stab at predicting the economic future of China and wonders if Xi Jinping's leadership takeover signals the end of economic expansion along with other factors. A great read, if you write SF novels, you might be able to steal some ideas so you don't have to use monarchies as the go to political system. The only downside is this book is slightly dated thru no fault of its own, it was written prior to The Asshole in ChiefTrump.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Diego

    One of my favorite books to read. It's a good introduction to the basics of the Chinese economy. Read this on my way to Beijing, helped immensely to understand my surroundings. Also with in-depth conversations with the ex-pats there. Very eye opening. I will expand on this and continue to read more about the ass-backwards Chinese political and economical structure, though they find ways to make it work. Look forward to read more on the renminbi. So much fake currency floating around there it was One of my favorite books to read. It's a good introduction to the basics of the Chinese economy. Read this on my way to Beijing, helped immensely to understand my surroundings. Also with in-depth conversations with the ex-pats there. Very eye opening. I will expand on this and continue to read more about the ass-backwards Chinese political and economical structure, though they find ways to make it work. Look forward to read more on the renminbi. So much fake currency floating around there it was hard to argue with the locals the authenticity of the bills. The rise of the renminbi for foreign investment will heavily depend on clamping down on counterfeit prints. Fascinating book.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Phillip

    4.25 / 5.0. Comprehensive Survey of Major topics in the evolution and current dynamic of today's Chinese economy. Balanced fact based analysis investigates and challenges many common Shibboleths of public and political. Comparative analysis relates policy at stage to devellopment to that of 1800's USA, Japan, and East Asian Tigers. Overall picture of respect for future challenges emerges along with admiration for the rapid yet comparatively minimally disruptive progress made to date.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Byrne

    I learned a lot but didnt change my mind about anything. If you believe in the mainstream narrative about Chinas economythat its going to keep growing, but more slowly in the past; that China mostly excels in lower-tech manufacturing; that ghost cities are a symptom of fast growth, not an existential threatthen youll come away from this book with your opinions mostly unchanged. Fun stuff I learned: - China is very, very decentralized. 85% of government spending is at the sub-national level, I learned a lot but didn’t change my mind about anything. If you believe in the mainstream narrative about China’s economy—that it’s going to keep growing, but more slowly in the past; that China mostly excels in lower-tech manufacturing; that ghost cities are a symptom of fast growth, not an existential threat—then you’ll come away from this book with your opinions mostly unchanged. Fun stuff I learned: - China is very, very decentralized. 85% of government spending is at the sub-national level, compared to 25% for developed, democratic countries. Among other things, this decentralization means that China has a deep bench of leaders who have experience running a country-sized entity. - China’s surprisingly freewheeling media/blog environment is a function of this decentralization. Bloggers are tacitly allowed to criticize local government so the national government can keep an eye on provinces. This must make government work in China incredibly stressful. - Some allegedly huge cities in China are actually cities plus surrounding rural areas. Chongqing is described as a city, but has roughly the same land area as Austria. - Land reform was, and is, a huge driver of inequality: city dwellers were allowed to buy their previously government-owned homes at artificially cheap prices. Property developers can buy farmland out from under farmers, also for artificially cheap. - China’s growth has partly been due to easy comparisons: from 1958 to 1978, things got so bad the population actually got more rural. - In 1998, bad debt was about a third of GDP. They grew their way out of this problem. - Also in 1998, China has $45bn of foreign direct investment, $45bn of trade surplus, but had net FX inflows of just $5bn. The gap was due to 1) smuggling, and 2) people moving assets offshore. They’ve since cracked down. - China’s tax system relies on corporate VAT. They have a clever decentralized way to collect them: VAT for a given company is determined by the price of their product minus VAT paid by their suppliers. State-owned enterprises pay their taxes and demand that suppliers do, too; suppliers force their suppliers to pay accurate VAT, and so on.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Accessible, well-written and broad, this book does a really good job covering what it says it will. As a general layperson interested in China, this was a great introduction to their economy, with sufficient depth to make me feel like I learned something. Kroeber challenged certain common ideas people have about China, particularly that they are a currency manipulator, which Kroeber says they are not, and that they unfairly subsidize their SOEs. To that last point Kroeber points out that it Accessible, well-written and broad, this book does a really good job covering what it says it will. As a general layperson interested in China, this was a great introduction to their economy, with sufficient depth to make me feel like I learned something. Kroeber challenged certain common ideas people have about China, particularly that they are a currency manipulator, which Kroeber says they are not, and that they unfairly subsidize their SOEs. To that last point Kroeber points out that it clear that the SOEs are not run nearly as well and efficiently as their private counterparts. If any subsidization is happening (beyond what many countries do), it is certainly not creating really competitive companies. It is not uncommon to hear a fear among certain Americans of China's economy eclipsing ours. This is likely to happen at some point just because their population is so much larger than ours. But it really doesn't mean anything more than that. They are not close to the level of wealth in our country, and they are not leaders in really any technological field. Take the IPhone for example - it is merely assembled in China, all of the serious technology comes from companies in other countries, including the US, South Korea (Samsung), and Taiwan (Foxconn). China's "middle class" is much poorer than other developing countries' middle classes. What we would consider middle class is really upper class in China. Kroeber discusses why there hasn't been any meaningful civil unrest, and one reason may be that the "middle class" is actually quite poor. Because China is a communist country, it is easy for us to dismiss them and their strategies. But it is really interesting to see what they have done to sustain growth for such a long time despite many headwinds, which still exist and may yet rear their head.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    Great cursory view of China's system of government and economy

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sherri

    Fascinating read... well researched and well documented account of how China functions: why China is where it is and makes the decisions it makes. Only issue is its a little dated (written in 2015) but Id still say its worth a read Fascinating read... well researched and well documented account of how China functions: why China is where it is and makes the decisions it makes. Only issue is it’s a little dated (written in 2015) but I’d still say it’s worth a read

  10. 5 out of 5

    Weibo Xiong

    Superb. A must-read book for those who are interested in China's economy. Mr. Kroeber's book cover overarching themes with analyses in depth but without a chunk of numbers and charts. He clearly summaries the secrets of China's past economic achievement, and also identifies a set of key roots of challenges China must deal with to ensure future success. He writes this book in the form of question-and-answer in each chapter, a very easy way to read. More importantly, he makes me to have second Superb. A must-read book for those who are interested in China's economy. Mr. Kroeber's book cover overarching themes with analyses in depth but without a chunk of numbers and charts. He clearly summaries the secrets of China's past economic achievement, and also identifies a set of key roots of challenges China must deal with to ensure future success. He writes this book in the form of question-and-answer in each chapter, a very easy way to read. More importantly, he makes me to have second thoughts about many topical issues by referring to a few popular misconceptions, for example, about the roles of household spending and investment in future economic growth, the importance of infrastructure and capital stock building, and the possible short-term impact of social safety network building on consumption. Some of his conclusions are quite mind blowing, and I think this is one of the most amazing parts in this book. Highly recommend this book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Sankey

    Another volume in this very useful series--Kroeber distills a career's worth of analysis of China's economy into a primer that also gently explains the economic foundations and historical context of China's expansion into global markets and the second and third order effects, including a booming middle class and industrial pollution. His bibliographic information is there for anyone who wants to mine more deeply, and the chapter on resource extraction in Latin America and China is particularly Another volume in this very useful series--Kroeber distills a career's worth of analysis of China's economy into a primer that also gently explains the economic foundations and historical context of China's expansion into global markets and the second and third order effects, including a booming middle class and industrial pollution. His bibliographic information is there for anyone who wants to mine more deeply, and the chapter on resource extraction in Latin America and China is particularly useful.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Trung Nguyen Dang

    A great primer on China's economy. Possible the best source I've read on China.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Void lon iXaarii

    I found the book to be pretty interesting and a pretty balanced and fact filled narration of the China story in the past couple of decades. More than once I was surprised to see the author raise incredibly pertinent series of questions that few dare to bring up, and then proceed to answer them in a systematic and rational way. In doing so he provides answers that seem pretty reasonable and even dares to thus go counter to many prevailing feel good notions on the subject that float around. My I found the book to be pretty interesting and a pretty balanced and fact filled narration of the China story in the past couple of decades. More than once I was surprised to see the author raise incredibly pertinent series of questions that few dare to bring up, and then proceed to answer them in a systematic and rational way. In doing so he provides answers that seem pretty reasonable and even dares to thus go counter to many prevailing feel good notions on the subject that float around. My favorite concept that I learned from the book and that took me by surprise was the idea where he argues that even as many people describe the country as very centrally controlled he seemed to argue that despite the facade of iron control there exists in fact a surprisingly decentralized system going on the inside, with the tensions between the central and the provincial politics leading to a surprisingly even globally impressive level of competitiveness. This I found new and interesting and a possible explanation for some otherwise paradoxical results. On the other hand the book does seem to come from a framework of mainstream statist positions and advocates the typical western policies in areas of social state and environmentalism. The later he mitigates by presenting also the Chinese argument on the subject with the priority of raising hundreds of millions out of poverty and the human impact complemented with the steps both officially taken and naturally emerging as the living standards rise. Overall I found the book a nice source of information on the subject, with lots of interesting facts and a balanced perspective which looks not just at the western point of view. He acknowledges the competition problems raised for western powers by the return of this giant to international recognition (a position that it held for 1000 years before 1800) but instead of accusations he seems to lean towards encouraging steps of competitiveness and a healthy respect of the rights and desires of others to also better their lives. I wouldn't consider the book to be as wonderfully logical as books by say Murray Rothbard however I can't help but admire his observing what works and acknowledging the desires of other peoples to better themselves. PS: on a personal note, in my answer to my question if it is a right path to continue to learn Chinese despite the difficulties, the book has provided unfortunately a mixed bag of answers: on the one hand the book mentions the huge prosperity and growth brought on by the market oriented turn of China in past decades, however it does seem to suggests it might be slowing from that and turning to more western style stagnation policies. Even so, at least in the context of size through numbers, it does seem to suggest that it might surpass the US economy in impact by 2030 so I guess it's confirmed. Overall I'd say things are looking good, however it does seem the temptation to go away from the discomforts of growth into the comforts of stagnation like the west has done are great and of course there's the nearby example of Japan which has gone a similar path after the promising 80s. A mixed bag it seems... time will tell.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    In his book, Chinas Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know, Arthur R. Kroeber highlights and outlines Chinas institutional peculiarities which contributed to Chinas remarkable economic growth since Deng Xiaoping's reform and reopening over three decades ago. As a state that is highly centralized in theory, but now highly decentralized in practice, Chinas economy exhibits a unique condition in the global world economy. Starting with the influence of the public sector, Kroeber covers a wide array In his book, “China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know”, Arthur R. Kroeber highlights and outlines China’s institutional peculiarities which contributed to China’s remarkable economic growth since Deng Xiaoping's “reform and reopening” over three decades ago. As a state that is highly centralized in theory, but now highly decentralized in practice, China’s economy exhibits a unique condition in the global world economy. Starting with the influence of the public sector, Kroeber covers a wide array various facets of the Chinese economy which have created the systems and condition which we currently witness. Throughout the text, Kroeber makes various positive and normative claims, using data to draw conclusions about the Chinese’ economy’s current state as well as its negative externalities and future economic trends. In the first chapter, Kroeber relays an outline for the Chinese political economy by answering a series of questions which introduce China as a paradoxical, yet functioning bureaucratic-authoritarian, one party-state (in principle), while simultaneously a dynamic and fast growing, decentralized economy. The fact that these two (seemingly contradictory) conditions arose distinguishes it from the Soviet Union’s vacuum struggle of command and power. In China, the communist party receded from its Maoist-era approach to controlling every aspect of an individual’s life and began to incrementally evolve towards a policy system of influencing “every sphere of globalized activity” instead. Kroeber notes that China’s shifting political climate which began to take hold post-Tiananmen Square, contributed in part to the periods of high growth – and sometimes “runaway” inflation. Learning from the successes of his East Asian neighbors, Deng, declaring Gorbachev to be “an idiot”, led systematic monetary policy reforms with the aim to keep interest rates low, focus capital into domestic investment schemes, encourage foreign direct investment (FDI), and undervalue the exchange rate. The result of these monetary policies (which had been tested and adopted by many other high-growth, east Asian countries) paired with structural economic reforms like focus on export manufacturing and the redistribution of farmland led to the creation of new social classes of both rural smallholders and urbanites. In the second chapter, Kroeber closely examines the rural economy, where rural small holders went on to make up more than half of the Chinese population and a third of the national workforce. Kroeger explains how the agriculture economy ‘took off’ in the late 1970’s when grassroot movements aimed to bring the “land to the tiller” by privatizing farmland and divvying up the collectives into individual plots (p. 11). This early wave of privatization led to the establishment of township and village enterprises (TVE’s) and spurred early entrepreneurial activity to some extent. Reforms in the 1980’s proportionally benefitted the countryside – TVE’s were free of the regulations and tax constraints imposed by the government on State Owned Enterprises (SOE’s) and were thus able to more acutely meet the demands of market. Finally, despite the early prosperity captured by rural small holders, they received no pension or social welfare and were somewhat limited by the Hukou System (p.73). In addition, their land ownership rights were uncertain and largely limited when compared to the urban class. The resources captured by the agricultural provided the seed capital for state-led investment in basic industry and export. Once ignited, modernized industrial urban firms created a ‘population magnet’ by offering higher wages and productivity. The agricultural economy took a comparative ‘hit’ to forced ‘townization’ and urbanization, which happened at a rate nearly twice that of the United States (p. 67). By the 1990’s urban industry had begun to overtake the rural population to become the driving source of wealth and labor in the economy. In addition to urban growth, FDI reached a peak in in 1994 at nearly 18% and has since petered off to 2% in 2014 (p.53). China’s decentralized system of authority allowed policy experimentation and economic optimization on a large scale. By following monetary lessons learned from the East Asian Development model and the Soviet Union’s transition towards free market enterprise, Deng Xiaoping was able to lay the foundation for ‘mass industrialization’. State resources were incrementally reallocated to the private sector, which Kroeber points to as the source of “virtually all the gains in productivity and employment” (p. 104). To back this thesis up, the author shows how the private sector now accounts for a majority of GDP, employment, fixed investment, industrial production and trade surplus. Thus, while their breakneck spending on the ‘second wave’ of industrial privatization – stated as capital investment in urban housing and infrastructure – contained significant inefficiency and has begun to come to a close, Kroeber explains that China’s state-led economy’s core slogan is now that, “market forces will play a “decisive role in resource allocation” (p.51). With this in mind, Kroeber still points out the existence major flaws in China’s current fiscal system (post-1994 tax reforms) in Chapter 6. The problem’s center around financial mismanagement at the local level, especially with reckless spending, borrowing, and ad hoc financing (p. 120). The fiscal reform program will attempt to mitigate some of these problems through reforming revenue structure, budget accountability, and implementing higher corporate taxes and a property tax. Notably, China is one of the few modern economies without an income tax, which Kroeber speculates is to defuse political tension in accordance with Xi Jinping’s political agenda of top-down control. Looking at negative aspects and externalities of The Chinese economy, Kroeber examines technology and the environment. From the standpoint of ‘technological innovation’, the Chinese economy has made undeniable rapid progress over the last three decades, but Kroeber thinks, “there is little evidence to suggest that it is becoming a technological leader” (p. 237). In the last two decades, for example, China tended to import important ‘ideas’ (and intellectual property) and thus “follow rather than lead” (p.65) the tech and innovation production curve. From a political examination, China’s capacity for innovation may be limited by the state's obsession with technological autonomy and information control. From an environmental standpoint, China’s rapid industrialization and reliance on coal consumption has led to a major increase in CO2 emissions (which are a primary contributor to global warming). In the final chapter Krueber comes to the conclusion that few of the Chinese institutions are exportable due to the unique conditions of China covered earlier in this paper. Because China is dynamic and adaptable, “containment” – that strategy which worked well against the Soviet Union, is a foolish idea. He concludes that globalized neoliberalism will lessen the gulf between the “Chinese” and “Western” value set and lead to a tolerable balance of institutional convergence. In the end, Kroeber believes that there is room for both political systems, and that we should strive for “peaceful coexistence” (p.262).

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Mannina

    This is a great read that should be considered essential for anyone who wants to understand how and why China has emerged as such an important geopolitical force. Arthur Kroeber answers every important question and addresses every concern related to China's economic rise, and identifies both dangers and opportunities associated with it. Most importantly, he does so in a way that's both accessible to the layman and, presumably, still informative for more advanced students of economics. I am not This is a great read that should be considered essential for anyone who wants to understand how and why China has emerged as such an important geopolitical force. Arthur Kroeber answers every important question and addresses every concern related to China's economic rise, and identifies both dangers and opportunities associated with it. Most importantly, he does so in a way that's both accessible to the layman and, presumably, still informative for more advanced students of economics. I am not an economist but I found the book easy to read, engaging, and very insightful. I would highly recommend this book to students of economics, international relations, security studies, or Asian studies.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ashish Mundawane

    I was getting back to reading after long time and after general elections in India in 19, I wanted to see Indian economy is performing and what India should be doing. I thought a good way is know how China has grown over the decades. This book gives a good idea about all aspects of it's economy. Land reforms, infrastructure and manufacturing boom, consumption based economy and importance to FDI to achieve export driven economy. One notable point about policy makers was they more or less knew I was getting back to reading after long time and after general elections in India in 19, I wanted to see Indian economy is performing and what India should be doing. I thought a good way is know how China has grown over the decades. This book gives a good idea about all aspects of it's economy. Land reforms, infrastructure and manufacturing boom, consumption based economy and importance to FDI to achieve export driven economy. One notable point about policy makers was they more or less knew what are their targets to achieve even if it is coming at the cost of other parameters deteriorating. This book is a good compilation of all the growth parameters and gives a very good idea of what to seek further.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laurent De Serres Berard

    Fantastic book about China. Recommended for everyone who have interest in Modern day China. It will give you all the main general knowledge to understand modern day China. The author is easy to understand, and succeed in his goal to make it readable for an non-economic audience, giving us a holistic knowledge of China's economical situation. Not only he exposed all dimension briefly through the book, but also main opinions on China's by medias and experts, and give you a way to weight them, Fantastic book about China. Recommended for everyone who have interest in Modern day China. It will give you all the main general knowledge to understand modern day China. The author is easy to understand, and succeed in his goal to make it readable for an non-economic audience, giving us a holistic knowledge of China's economical situation. Not only he exposed all dimension briefly through the book, but also main opinions on China's by medias and experts, and give you a way to weight them, without imposing his own opinion, guiding you through differents experts prediction or medias opinion about China, and the source of those positions. It is indeed a great piece of work.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Retraint

    A clear and cogent introduction to China's economy 4.25/5. Regrettably, some chapters are somewhat more academic and dry than I had expected from the collection- and certain points find themselves repeated more often than necessary. Admittedly, both of those points are more a matter of personal taste than of any actual flaws in the book. I will, however, state that a (slightly) greater preponderance of visual representations of data would be helpful, and more crucially, a summary at the end of A clear and cogent introduction to China's economy 4.25/5. Regrettably, some chapters are somewhat more academic and dry than I had expected from the collection- and certain points find themselves repeated more often than necessary. Admittedly, both of those points are more a matter of personal taste than of any actual flaws in the book. I will, however, state that a (slightly) greater preponderance of visual representations of data would be helpful, and more crucially, a summary at the end of each chapter, with the key points covered therein.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracy B

    Superb What an excellent book. Being generally interested in economics, investing etc. I have always been aware of the growth of China. As I type this, a Chinese executive has been arrested by Canada for sanctions busting, films such as The China Hustle and various documentaries on ghost cities paint horror stories of what potentially will befall gullible westerners and a tariff war is taking place. This book explains it all, in an easy read. Well researched and honest this will strip away the BS Superb What an excellent book. Being generally interested in economics, investing etc. I have always been aware of the growth of China. As I type this, a Chinese executive has been arrested by Canada for sanctions busting, films such as The China Hustle and various documentaries on ghost cities paint horror stories of what potentially will befall gullible westerners and a tariff war is taking place. This book explains it all, in an easy read. Well researched and honest this will strip away the BS taking place and put things into context. Recommended, not just for economists.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bo

    Kroeber's book on China's economy is a must-read if you are interested in China! It is well-balanced, thoroughly researched and documented. It gives a brilliant picture of the dynamics of the economic development in China since 1979. Although it starts out with a statement, which we today know is wrong, namely that China is not a dictatorship since it has institutionalised rules for power transitions. Well, after Xi Jinping was allowed to continue after 2022 recently, this proves wrong. But Kroeber's book on China's economy is a must-read if you are interested in China! It is well-balanced, thoroughly researched and documented. It gives a brilliant picture of the dynamics of the economic development in China since 1979. Although it starts out with a statement, which we today know is wrong, namely that China is not a dictatorship since it has institutionalised rules for power transitions. Well, after Xi Jinping was allowed to continue after 2022 recently, this proves wrong. But despite this mistake, it is a fabulous and very insightful book. Absolutely recommendable!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Khadijah

    I Know A Lot About China's Economy Now This reading was very academic, organized, well structured, smart, up to date, and factual. A brief examination of the financial, fiscal, enterprise, and energy systems that support China's economic structure. I chose to read this for my microeconomics class in college. Totally appropriate for college level students or avid readers with strong vocabulary. 😁

  22. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Lim

    Pretty good book for readers who are starting out and trying to learn more about the economy of China. Provides a solid framework to think about how China has shaped its policies in the past and how it will continue to change its standing in the world as well. At some parts the book was slightly repetitive, but generally well written. The book itself is also pretty concise and can probably be easily digested by readers with a basic interest in getting to know China better.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Steven Bosch

    Kroeber comes up with a good, easy to read analysis of chinas political, economical and financial dynamics. He tries hard to stick by the facts and discard certain common myths through data driven insights. All in all a good read to understand more of china, eventhough i found the 100 year marathon more thought provoking Kroeber comes up with a good, easy to read analysis of china’s political, economical and financial dynamics. He tries hard to stick by the facts and discard certain common myths through data driven insights. All in all a good read to understand more of china, eventhough i found the 100 year marathon more thought provoking

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarfaraz Choudhary

    I thought I knew very little about China's economy.. after reading this I realised I knew almost nothing.. This well written account of China's rise in the world as a superpower covers in detail all the aspects of its policies that has helped China reach the heights it has achieved. Arthur Kroeber has done a wonderful job. Highly recommended.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marcus Goncalves

    This is a great book, highly readable. The Chinese economy is consistently a topic that dominates political and economic discussions. This book conveys how the Chinese economy is often misunderstood and how aspects of it can be grossly overstated while others underrepresented.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Kosten

    Fascinating book on Chinese economy and economic policy. Very insightful. Debunks a lot of myths and simplistic explanations with balanced perspective. One of the best books i've read this year. Highly recommended if you're interested in China!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pierre

    interesting if a bit dry. Recommended if you'd like to develop some good insight in a few hours.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Peter Bomer

    Unusual to find such depth of knowledge in support of insight. Not light reading but important and in a class of its own among books on China writers by westerners.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Beck

    Great book on Chinas economy. It gives a nuanced view to chinas economic rise. Great book on China’s economy. It gives a nuanced view to china’s economic rise.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eddie Choo

    China without the hype A very good guide on Chinas issues. A good overall view about the governance of China - not just the economy but about some of the social issues as well. China without the hype A very good guide on China’s issues. A good overall view about the governance of China - not just the economy but about some of the social issues as well.

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