You are previewing In Line Behind a Billion People: How Scarcity will Define China’s Ascent in the Next Decade.
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In Line Behind a Billion People: How Scarcity will Define China’s Ascent in the Next Decade

Book Description

Nearly everything you know about China is wrong! Yes, within a decade, China will have the world’s largest economy. But that is the least important thing to know about China. In this enlightening book, two of the world’s leading China experts turn the conventional wisdom on its head, showing why China’s economic growth will constrain rather than empower it. Pioneering political analyst Damien Ma and global economist Bill Adams reveal why, having 35 years of ferocious economic growth, China’s future will be shaped by the same fundamental reality that has shaped it for millennia: scarcity. Ma and Adams drill deep into Chinese society, illuminating all the scarcities that will limit its power and progress. Beyond scarcities of natural resources and public goods, they illuminate China’s persistent poverties of individual freedoms, cultural appeal, and ideological legitimacy — and the corrosive loss of values and beliefs amongst a growing middle class shackled by a parochial and inflexible political system. Everyone knows “the 21st century is China’s to lose” — but, as with so many things that “everyone knows,” that’s just wrong. Ma and Adams get beyond cheerleading and fearmongering to tell the complex truth about China today. This is a truth you need to hear — whether you’re an investor, business decision-maker, policymaker, or citizen.

Table of Contents

  1. About This eBook
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright Page
  4. Praise for In Line Behind a Billion People
  5. Dedication Page
  6. Contents
  7. Acknowledgments
  8. About the Authors
  9. Introduction
    1. Economic scarcity
    2. Social scarcity
    3. Political scarcity
  10. Part I: Economic Scarcity
    1. 1. Resources: While supplies last
      1. The Panda Boom
      2. Land: So much yet so little
      3. Energy: From industry to transport and residential
      4. Water
    2. 2. Food: Malthus on the Yangtze
      1. Feeding one-fifth of humanity
      2. A diet for a land of plenty
      3. Hot and bothered...and thirsty
      4. Rise of the machines?
      5. From Happy Meals to deadly dinners
    3. 3. Labor: Where did all the migrants go?
      1. Socialist employers’ paradise...
      2. ...Becomes socialist employers’ paradise, lost
      3. Migrants came, saw, and some are saying see ya later
      4. School of hard knocks
      5. What happens when your key economic input shrinks?
      6. When 150 million workers unite
  11. Part II: Social Scarcity
    1. 4. Welfare: Socialism with Chinese...actually no, not socialism at all
      1. Dismantling the welfare system...
      2. ...And stitching it back together
      3. From youth bulge to geriatric bulge
      4. Mo’ bling, mo’ honeys
      5. Serving the people
    2. 5. Education: Give me equality...but not until after my son gets into Tsinghua
      1. A thought experiment: Turkmenbashi for a day
      2. No, seriously, there is a real thing called urban bias
      3. The social equalizer that isn’t
      4. From urban bias to urban household bias
      5. Turn on, tune in, and study abroad: Life at the top
      6. Running out of levers to pull
    3. 6. Housing: Home is where the wallet is
      1. Phat cribs and fatter wallets
      2. When virtues become flaws
      3. Socialist property rights with Chinese characteristics
      4. Revenge of the capitalists
      5. Squeezed
  12. Part III: Political Scarcity
    1. 7. Ideology: The unbearable lightness of the Yellow River Spirit
      1. A young nation-state
      2. E pluribus mishmash
      3. What comes after a revolution?
      4. Forging the Deng Xiaoping consensus
      5. New slogans, same consensus
      6. The second identity crisis
      7. Nationalism to the rescue (sort of)
      8. Virtue is as virtuous does
      9. Searching for a distinctly Chinese paradigm?
    2. 8. Values: What would Confucius do?
      1. Qu nar (or where to)?
      2. Software upgrades
      3. Pursuit of happiness
      4. Separate but unequal
      5. Governing post-materialist China: The “what have you done for me lately” problem
      6. China pushes back on values
      7. China the exceptional?
    3. 9. Freedom: Keep on rockin’ in the firewalled world
      1. A decade of harmony?
      2. The “average Zhou” pushes back
      3. From 100 flowers to 100 million weibos
      4. Coloring outside the lines
  13. Conclusion
    1. All your (economic) base are belong to us
    2. Embracing change: the basecase
    3. Baby steps
    4. What if the Chinese dream is deferred?
  14. Endnotes
    1. Introduction
    2. Chapter 1
    3. Chapter 2
    4. Chapter 3
    5. Chapter 4
    6. Chapter 5
    7. Chapter 6
    8. Chapter 7
    9. Chapter 8
    10. Chapter 9
    11. Conclusion
  15. Index