In an extract from his forthcoming book about China, "The Writing on the Wall," British thinker Will Hutton argues
that China's economy is far from a free enterprise success story:
"The truth is that China is not the socialist market economy the party describes, nor moving towards capitalism as the western consensus believes. Rather it is frozen in a structure that I describe as Leninist corporatism - and which is unstable, monumentally inefficient, dependent upon the expropriation of peasant savings on a grand scale, colossally unequal and ultimately unsustainable. It is Leninist in that the party still follows Lenin's dictum of being the vanguard, monopoly political driver and controller of the economy and society. And it is corporatist because the framework for all economic activity in China is one of central management and coordination from which no economic actor, however humble, can opt out."
Hutton describes rampant corruption in China, which he attributes to the lack of institutions such a free press and an independent judiciary which might check the power of Communist party officials. He argues that true capitalism requires much stronger property rights and greater individual freedom than currently exists in China.
"The west is unforgivably ignorant about China's shortcomings and weaknesses, which leads it vastly to exaggerate the extent of the Chinese "threat"....Rather, the west needs to understand the depth of China's problems and the possibility, if not probability, of an economic and political convulsion as China seeks their resolution."