The Agenda

Fear of a Weak China

My column in tomorrow’s issue of The Daily is an extended riff on China and the prospect of a coming growth slowdown, so I’ll keep this post brief:

(1) Daniel Blumenthal has a really interesting and substantial post at Shadow Government on why China is getting pricklier: (a) it has a stronger military; (b) weak leadership at the top (as the revolutionary generation has faded, its successors find that they don’t have the legitimacy they need to assert themselves) has created a vacuum that the PLA is well-placed to fill; (c) and xenophobic nationalism is on the rise, fueled by a CCP desperately trying to find new sources of legitimacy (there’s that word again). Blumenthal also notes the potential impact of surplus males.

(2) David Barboza has a report in the NYT on rising inflation in China. Barry Eichengreen, Donghyun Park, and Kwanho Shin cite an uptick in inflation as a potential sign that a growth slowdown is on the way in “When Fast Growing Economies Slow Down,” their new working paper. Other factors that make a growth slowdown more likely: an undervalued currency and a rising old-age dependency ratio. Sound like any countries you know? And a spike in inflation could make the Chinese bourgeoisie restless. Wouldn’t want that.

Basically, I think we have much more to fear from a weak that sees its growth rate plummet than from a strong China that embraces the kind of economic and political reform it needs to stay on a high-growth trajectory.   

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular


Trump and the North Korean Tipping Point

The world has been stunned by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s announcement last week that he was suspending his country’s nuclear tests in preparation for the impending meeting with President Trump. Even critics have had to concede that Trump’s bellicose rhetoric since last summer regarding the North ... Read More
Politics & Policy

E Pluribus . . . Gridlock

A mantra we hear everywhere these days is that diversity is a good thing. And no doubt, it is. Diversity facilitates an exchange of ideas and opinions, and it promotes economic growth. Moreover, the alternative to diversity is to suppress the views and opinions of some subset of citizens, which is completely ... Read More
Economy & Business

Trade Misunderstandings

I was distracted by other policy topics last week but not enough not to notice Peter Navarro’s article in the Wall Street Journal, headlined “China’s Faux Comparative Advantage.” Considering Navarro’s position in the White House, it is unfortunate that it demonstrates some serious misunderstandings ... Read More