Putting China’s dramatic transformation into perspective

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I have been to so many coun­tries in the last decade that my car­bon foot­print is Yeti-size. But one coun­try I haven’t been to for 32 years is the one I’m in now: Chi­na.

What a dif­fer­ence three decades makes: my vis­it in 1981–82 coin­cid­ed with the tri­al of the Gang of Four; now many sub-25 Chi­nese think that must be the name of a new boy band they yet haven’t heard of.

My last vis­it was to run a sem­i­nar between Aus­tralian and Chi­nese jour­nal­ists on behalf of the Aus­tralia-Chi­na Coun­cil, after which we did a tour that focused on the nascent attempts to trans­form the social­ist and agrar­i­an com­mune-ori­ent­ed Chi­na of Mao’s day into a mod­ern indus­tri­al coun­try. Just before we left Aus­tralia, Chi­na released eco­nom­ic sta­tis­tics that had every­one on the Aus­tralian side scratch­ing their heads: it report­ed a 17 per cent increase in “light indus­try” out­put and an 8 per cent fall in “heavy indus­try”.

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About Steve Keen

I am Professor of Economics and Head of Economics, History and Politics at Kingston University London, and a long time critic of conventional economic thought. As well as attacking mainstream thought in Debunking Economics, I am also developing an alternative dynamic approach to economic modelling. The key issue I am tackling here is the prospect for a debt-deflation on the back of the enormous private debts accumulated globally, and our very low rate of inflation.