Reading Martin Jacques this morning I find this.
The east Asian countries have never subscribed to the neoliberal economic agenda, eschewing sweeping privatisation, a minimalist role for the state and wholesale market liberalisation. At the centre of Chinese policy remains a highly interventionist state and state-owned firms. Lin himself has written that the government is the most important institution, determining whether development is successful, and argues that privatisation is neither necessary nor sufficient for making Chinese state-owned enterprises more efficient. Imagine such sentiments being expressed by the Bush or Clinton administrations, or Gordon Brown for that matter.
It looked a little odd, as the way in which the Chinese have grown th economy over the decades is to freeze the State owned companies and allow private sector ones to grow up around them. The faster growth rate of those private companies has meant that the percentage of GDP controlled by the State has been declining.
Fortunately, in comments, there\’s this:
Ummm, no. Actually. It is true that neo-liberal economics is not uniform across the East Asian region. Japan is still highly regulated although a lot less than it used to be. South Korea is less so and becoming even less so with time. But both have seen massive privatisations including Japan National Rail in 1987 which I believe was the biggest privatisation in the history of the world. Japan Telegraph and Telephone was privatised in 1985. Japanese Highways were privatised. I believe that Japanese Post is about to be.
Nor China is not a highly interventionist state. There have been massive privatisations in China as well – more so than in Britain. The American government spend more on health care than China does. The Chinese State own enterprises are all but dead in the economy. It is true that China\’s big manufacturer Haier is part owned by the State but probably not for long. Essentially all growth in China is the result of the private sector – which is more or less unregulated. The Chinese state simply does not have a clue what is going on in the Chinese economy.
All the states in this region remain reasonably minimalist in terms of their share of GDP. Japan is the lowest among the Developed nations. China\’s is under 15 percent of GDP.
So given that first claim is utterly factually incorrect, what is the point of the rest of the article?
Glory be for the division of labour and specialisation: I don\’t need to repeat that demolition of the basic suppositions of Jacques\’ piece, I can simply copy it.