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Capitalism with Chinese characteristics

Date: Sunday 6th November
Time: 15:15 - 17:00
Location: Hilda Clark Suite
Speaker: Daniel Morley

China is discovering that under capitalism, what goes up must come down. The impending collapse of property developer Evergrande, as it struggles with $300bn debts, is reminiscent of the subprime mortgage scandal. The Chinese government is facing the same dilemmas as the US over a decade ago, as it stares into the abyss of capitalist crisis.

Extreme inequality is the defining feature of Chinese society and it dogs every thought of the regime. China is officially more unequal than even the USA. In January, Xi Jinping declared that “we cannot allow the gap between the rich and the poor to continue growing…We cannot permit the wealth gap to become an unbridgeable gulf.” It is comments like these that have given Xi something of a reputation for being a ‘neo Maoist’ who has a plan to abolish capitalism and return to a planned economy.

What the Evergrande crisis reveals is the limits of the capitalist system. If Xi Jinping were a genuine communist leader, the Evergrand crisis would be a perfect opportunity to begin nationalisations and the restoration of a planned economy. If China is not to return to a planned economy, what is its future under capitalism? And given it is now at the centre of the world economy, what does the crisis of Chinese capitalism mean for world capitalism?


Recommended reading: China: everyone can feel the profound anxiety of the ruling class

Recommended watching: China: from revolution to Tiananmen