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China Does Capitalism Better Than America

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  • Ian Bremmer: China's Flawed Global Economy

    Clip: Ian Bremmer argues that the Chinese economic system is fundamentally flawed because it's too inwardly focused. Bremmer also asserts that the American financial system is superior because it values open access to global markets.

  • Orville Schell: The US Could Learn from China's Politics

    Clip: Orville Schell laments the political gridlock of the United States government. Schell believes that America's inability to enact timely policy stands in stark contrast to China's political system.

Debate Details

For all appearances, China has emerged unscathed from the global economic crisis, in stark contrast to its biggest debtor, America. China’s admirers point to its ability to mobilize state resources, quick decision-making and business-friendly environment as reasons for its economic ascendency. But can its brand of state-directed capitalism overcome rampant corruption and the threat of growing inequality, or will the American model of innovation and free markets prevail?

The Debaters

For the motion

Orville Schell

Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society

The former professor and Dean at the University Of California Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism, Orville Schell is Arthur RosselRead More

Peter Schiff

CEO & Chief Global Strategist, Euro Pacific Capital

Peter Schiff is CEO & Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital. He accurately and publically predicted the bursting of the housing market... Read More

Against the motion

Ian Bremmer

Founder and President, Eurasia Group

Ian Bremmer is the founder and president of Eurasia Group, the leading global political risk research and consulting firm. The company provides financial... Read More

Minxin Pei

Professor of Gov’t at Claremont McKenna College & Author, China’s Trapped Transition

Minxin Pei is the Tom and Margot Pritzker '72 Professor of Government and the Director of the Keck Center for International and Strategic Studies... Read More

Where Do You Stand?

For The Motion
  • China has emerged from the global financial crisis seemingly unscathed. Europe's hope that it will tap into its $3 trillion in reserves for a bailout only solidifies its newfound economic dominance.
  • In contrast to the political gridlock in the U.S., China's authoritarian government has the ability to mobilize its resources—impressive investment in infrastructure is one—and to make difficult decisions quickly, without fear of political retribution.
  • Since introducing capitalist economic reforms in 1978, China has lifted $300 billion people out of poverty.
  • With the 2nd highest corporate tax rate in the world, 35%, the U.S. is not business-friendly. China's rate is 25%.
Against The Motion
  • A weak economic foundation, widespread corruption and growing inequality, will bring an end to China's unprecedented growth.
  • With its gross national income per capita at 7,570, China trails Ecuador, Kazakhstan, and Romania, and falls well behind the U.S. at 47,120.
  • An authoritarian government means that there are no checks and balances; gridlock or not, America's divided government was created for a reason.
  • Companies rarely pay the full 35% in corporate taxes. In fact, once adjusted for deductions, the average corporate income tax is on par with other industrial nations.

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The Research

The Research

New Push for Reform in China

Bob Davis
February 23, 2012

An exclusive preview of an economic report on China, prepared by the World Bank and government insiders considered to have the ear of the nation's leaders, offers a surprising prescription: China could face an economic crisis unless it implements deep reforms, including scaling back its vast state-owned enterprises and making them operate more like commercial firms.

Multiple articles from the Economist
December 7, 2011

It is easy to equate that effectiveness of execution with good government. But fans of authoritarian regimes, including well-run ones like China, should never forget the agency problem that is their big structural flaw: For their systems to work, dictators need not only be smart; they must also act in the interests of the state, not of themselves.

Counterpoint: Debunking Myths About China

Eric X. Li
July 18, 2011

Today, China is the second largest economy in the world, a great power with global influence, and its people live in increasing prosperity; average life expectancy has reached 74 years. But the Western media’s discourse on China is dominated by misconceptions.

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