Niall Ferguson on Chinese State Capitalism by Political Observer

Here is Niall Ferguson in the magazine Foreign Policy, the prestigious voice of American Establishment thinking, in an essay entitled We’re All State Capitalists Now. Mr. Ferguson or the editors have a way with this outworn cliché, it speaks of historical moments, well past. But Mr. Ferguson is an Economic Historian with many irons in the fire: full time apologist for the British Empire, a Free Market advocate, a Conservative of some political standing and, now, a full time resident of America, teaching at Harvard. We like our political reactionaries so much, we like to import the best of the lot from the mother country. State Capitalism is the newest description for the form of Capitalism that has evolved in China, I would say Post-Communist but that would be inaccurate. Mr. Ferguson assures us of his fealty to Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations while leaving it’s intellectual companion The Theory of Moral Sentiments unacknowledged. The question arises, why might that be of import in a conversation on economics and it’s various iterations, of it’s models. Smith’s plan was to construct a ‘Science of Man’ with Wealth and the Theory as parts of that unrealized whole. Economics was once a branch of ethics (the Dismal Science has a past!),that might be a difficult burden for Mr. Ferguson to carry, even, perhaps too intellectually confining: Modern Conservatism’s economics has more in common with the thought of Spencer, than with the whole of Smith-the truncated version being more politically convenient. But in this essay we have a example of an ‘American’ public intellectual’s fascination with the slave labor camp of China, the ‘successful’ wedding of authoritarianism and capitalism. Even Žižek has commented on this phenomenon. For Mr. Ferguson and his political/economic allies it is a model that speaks to their aspiration of a nearly problem free form of political oppression, in service to profit: modern Conservatism’s obsession with the care and maintenance of the natural Capitalist aristocracy. Perhaps I have overstated the case, but most assuredly not by much. As recent reports have indicated the greatest expenditure in the Chinese economy is ‘internal security’, meaning a vast spying network that has been constructed to maintain the fiction of a nonexistent political harmony, with an eye to wining new customers. But the miracle of authoritarian capitalism is belied by the growing number of reports of worker rebellions,strikes and the wave of suicides: all very deleterious to attracting new business. Mr. Ferguson, true to Conservative form, is sounding the warning of the Yellow Peril, but in this iteration as a threatening challenge to the economic hegemony of the ‘West”.


Political Observer

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.'
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