(K. Brent Tomer),
China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know. By Arthur Kroeber. Oxford University Press; 319 pages; $16.95 and £10.99.
Street of Eternal Happiness: Big City Dreams Along a Shanghai Road. By Rob Schmitz. Crown; 326 pages; $28.
CHINA’S economy inspires extreme and, often, diametrically opposed views. There is the bear case: growth is severely unbalanced, waste unbearably high and collapse nigh. And the bullish: past performance is proof of the government’s managerial skill, innovation is blossoming and China will soon surpass America as the global economic powerhouse. But between these extremes lies a wide expanse of “muddle-through” alternatives, which hold that China’s future will be far less spectacular: neither especially bright nor very gloomy.
If the notion of a middle way sounds intuitively appealing, Arthur Kroeber’s book brings rigour to the debate to show why it is also the most likely outcome. A longtime China analyst now managing an independent research firm, he launches an assault, albeit…Continue reading