The Myth of Chinese Capitalism
The conventional wisdom about China’s recent economic history goes something like this: The Chinese Communist Party implemented market reforms and transformed the country into an export-driven economic powerhouse, one that has lifted up living standards for the once-impoverished population and turned China into a global juggernaut.
Now, of course, this “global juggernaut” is being challenged by the staggering impact of the coronavirus. But according to Dexter Roberts, the long-standing narrative about China doesn’t tell the full story. Roberts, a journalist who spent 23 years in the country, is the author of the new book The Myth of Chinese Capitalism. He argues that China’s economic miracle has left hundreds of millions in the countryside behind. In the course of the book, Roberts travels to Dongguan, a bustling factory town in the Pearl River Delta, where migrant workers struggle to make ends meet. He also visits remote Guizhou Province, where life for residents does not match the stereotypical vision of Chinese wealth.
In this episode of Asia In-Depth, Roberts discusses his new book with Asia Society Executive Vice President Tom Nagorski at Asia Society New York and assesses China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.