Paradoxical past, present and future of China's "socialist market"

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U.S. Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Ray Odierno met with commanders of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in Beijing, China, Feb. 21, 2014. Gen. Odierno, spoke with different Chinese commanders to strengthen and promote military to military relations between the United States and China. Photo by U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Mikki L. Sprenkle

In this week's Scheer Intelligence podcast, host Robert Scheer discusses the paradoxical past, present and future of China's "socialist market" economic model with Nathan Gardels, author of "It Is No Longer Glorious to Get Rich in China," published this week by Noema, a magazine of the Berggruen Institute. 

Observers of the rising Asian superpower should "stop drinking the neoliberal Kool-Aid and drink the party tea" if they want to understand it, says Gardels, highlighting the longstanding tension between the Chinese Communist Party's ideology and the fantastic capitalistic energy unleashed since Deng Xiaoping infamously promulgated the slogan "to get rich is glorious" in the 1980s. 

Today, Gardels notes, "China has more billionaires than the US, the top 1% owns 31% of the wealth of the whole country," and China's current leader Xi Jinping is now announcing that the rich need to start sharing the wealth in what he is calling the "third distribution."

Scheer, who himself has been studying, visiting and writing about China since he was an econ grad student at Berkeley in the '60s, explores with Gardels one of the biggest questions of this century: Does the most populous nation on Earth actually take Marxist-Leninism seriously? 



Joshua Scheer