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Bill Overholt and I recently had a discussion about the points he makes in his new book, China's Crisis of Success. Here are five key points, each corresponding to a section below.
The Rise of China: How Economic Reform Is Creating a New Superpower by Bill Overholt, published in 1993, was called 'nonsense' and 'too optimistic.' How did that work out for the reviewers?
Now, almost three decades after The Rise of China, Bill believes that China's future has become 'much more uncertain.' And, he addresses his concerns in a new book, China's Crisis of Success.
Bill outlined some the key points from his book recently in an interview with me. And, I have conveyed these below. As you will see, I have let Bill speak for himself.
Bill was right in 1993.
China's Crisis of Success—1
'Why is this sense of terrible crisis a prerequisite for an Asian economic take off? Because it creates a certain political environment.'...'The counterpart, on the economic side, is an economic simplicity.' says Bill Overholt.
China's Crisis of Success—2
'Simple economies and politics have been replaced with immensely complex ones. And you gradually get to a point of complexity, where there is an economic and political crisis of some kind.'
China's Crisis of Success—4
'Second, they realized that these reforms are painful, and so there's going to be a lot of pushback from all the important power groups of Chinese society. So, they used the Anti-Corruption Campaign as a hammer to push aside these groups who were resisting reform.
'What President Trump has done is to signal we are willing to move away from this formula that the North Koreans have to give up everything in their nuclear program before negotiations - only then we'll talk with them. I admire our U.S. negotiators, but that formula is simply absurd.'
Hard on President Trump's 'American First' inaugural address, Xi Jinping gave a rousing paean to globalism at the World Economic Forum. And, immediately the hot question became: 'Is the U.S. ceding global leadership to China?'
Yes and no, says Bill Overholt of the Harvard Asia Center. Yes, the U.S. is ceding global leadership. No, China won’t replace the U.S.
What will replace the U.S. is ‘G-Zero’, a world with no single global leader. Not China, not the U.S.
So, can his critics lay this outcome at President Trump’s feet?