Third Party & Independents Archives

China Is a Mixed Kleptocracy

It’s amazing what you can do with Windows XP; just ask unit 61398 of the Chinese military, hunched over their PC’s in a building somewhere in Shanghai. Five officers of the People’s Liberation Army have been charged in an indictment based in Western Pennsylvania with stealing industrial secrets from at least six major U.S. companies. This is the smoking gun that the Chinese have been almost daring the U.S. government to produce. From solar power to nuclear power plants, information on vital technology has been hacked by the Chinese military according to the indictment. In a perhaps related development, the Chinese government has announced that the Central Government Procurement Center — how’s that for a confidence inspiring moniker? — has issued a ban on Windows 8 for use on government computers. The reason given is for energy saving purposes.

Is this a tit for tat by the Communist regime in Beijing? It wouldn't be the first and likely won't be the last, but more importantly, perhaps we need a new label for the Chinese economy. China has been called a Socialist Market economy or a form of State Capitalism, one which is competing with Democratic, (liberal in the classical European use of the term), Capitalism. Proponents of state intervention, while bemoaning the authoritarian regime, tend to give an approving wink to China's economic policies, even suggesting that the U.S. could learn a thing or two from them. In fact, isn't the learning going the other way? What gets invented in the USA often ends up being stolen by the Chinese. That would make China a Kleptocracy by any reasonable definition of the term. Not only does it arguably prey on it's working class and display lower forms of kleptocratic governance like bribe-taking local officials, it also engages in high kleptocracy by seeking out innovation, and filching it. I propose labeling China a Mixed Kleptocracy; at the low end taking bribes and swindling peasants out of their land, and at the high end using talented military hackers to steal whatever Beijing deems strategically important to the People's Republic. It has been suggested that China is merely following a development path similar to Japan and South Korea. There is one major difference: Japan and, to a lesser extent in the earlier years, South Korea, were democracies or at least not communist regimes in the latter's case. China's great leap forward into a consumer led society will only happen when they abandon Communism and adopt Democracy. Until then they remain a powerful, well organized Mixed Kleptocracy.

Posted by AllardK at May 21, 2014 6:11 PM
Comment #378639

I suppose they could become a consumer based economy if the rest of the world used their currency as the reserve currency and not the dollar.

Posted by: Weary Willie at May 22, 2014 7:43 PM
Comment #378679

China is a rapidly rising consumer society. It seems that communists like consumption as well as democracies.

Posted by: Rich at May 23, 2014 6:38 PM
Comment #379030

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