Today's China-News Trawl

By James Fallows

1) Damien Ma and I have a new discussion-video up on the Atlantic's "China's Rise" site, again produced by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz. Topic: is China's level of corruption still "efficient," in Boss Tweed terms of making sure things get done? Or has it moved past that point to a destructive, excess-resentment-producing stage?


2) The Eurasia Group, day-job site of the aforementioned Damien Ma, has just put out a very interesting version of its assessment of China's "12th Five-Year Plan." Not to spoil the surprise, and it certainly is worth reading yourself, but: one of the big themes is that China's options and prospects are not quite as smooth and easy as many Western observers assume. For instance:

>>Eurasia Group does believe that Beijing will achieve some of its goals. But ultimately, the country's leaders lack the political stomach and sense of the moment [exactly!!] to implement a comprehensive and ambitious rebalancing agenda. They have correctly diagnosed many of China's underlying economic challenges and have, at least on paper, prescribed many of the needed remedies. Yet, as innately conservative technocrats, their inclination to put off the toughest decisions about China's political economy means that Beijing will confront even starker choices down the road.

Failure to implement key portions of the rebalancing agenda will jeopardize China's economic trajectory. And over the longer term, such failures could also threaten China's political stability.<<

The U.S. has terrible problems of governance right now. Unfortunately, so do other major countries.

3) I will be on the Charlie Rose show tonight (or tomorrow or sometime -- taped today) talking about this and related issues. Link later, when available and when I know the real air date.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/08/todays-china-news-trawl/243794/