“Socialism with Chinese
characteristics” is how the rulers of China describe their economic system. But
most economists say it isn’t so much socialist as state capitalist.
State capitalism is an economic system
in which government bureaucrats control and regulate state-owned corporations.
Some 85 percent of Chinese enterprises are state-owned. Although there are
private companies, they are also government-regulated.
Had it not been for that “incident”
near the Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea, the 121st anniversary of
Philippine independence would have come and gone like any other holiday whose
significance escapes many Filipinos.
The death of Mao Zedong in 1976 led to the dominance of Deng Xiaoping and his like-minded colleagues in the Chinese leadership. To Mao’s insistence that China should hew to the socialist path of development, Deng argued that “it doesn’t matter whether a cat is white or black so long as it catches mice” — i.e., that capitalism could just as well, and even better drive, China’s development.
Thirty-eight years later it seems that Deng had a point. Although socialist in name, China is now a capitalist society. It has the world’s second largest economy, and its cities throb with all the appurtenances of progress and development. China has also reclaimed its place among the world’s powers. No issue of global significance, whether Iran or North Korea, can be addressed, resolved, or even discussed without China’s participation, concurrence, or at least its silence.