1st Edition

Ethics, Efficiency and Macroeconomics in China
From Mao to Xi

ISBN 9781138630925
Published April 20, 2017 by Routledge
216 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

This book tells the story of how China’s leaders, from Mao to Xi, have sacrificed ethics to promote either macroeconomic performance or microeconomic efficiency. This story includes Mao’s collectivization of land, the Great Leap Forward, the Great Cultural Revolution, Deng’s opening China to international trade, Tiananmen Square, the freeing of prices, food and medicine scandals, the 2015 surge and collapse of the Chinese stock market, the falling of China’s foreign reserves, and so on. In 2008, China’s leaders correctly identified the best strategy as a "consumption-driven growth strategy" because the current world is suffering from a glut of savings. However, for that strategy to work, the Chinese need to be able to trust China’s economy and leaders. In the absence of trust, people will make decisions based on extremely short time frames which will hurt China’s long-run potential and continue to generate a series of speculative bubbles. In the absence of trust, wealthy Chinese will continue to move their assets abroad, putting tremendous downward pressure on the Chinese yuan. The Chinese will develop a long-run perspective and invest in China only when they can trust China’s future. In today’s world, trust is necessary. Trust is built on ethics.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction and Evaluation Criteria

2. Power Struggles over Policies: The Mao Years

3. Mao Sacrifices Ethics to Advance Macroeconomic Performance

4. The Cat’s Color does not Matter: The Deng Years

5. Deng Xiaoping Sacrifices Ethics to Promote Efficiency

6. Some will get Rich before Others: The Jiang Zemin Years: 1989–2002

7. Jiang Zemin Sacrifices Ethics to Promote Efficiency

8. Harmony? The Hu Jintao Years: 2002–2012

9. Export-Driven to Consumption-Driven Growth

10. Central Planning Goals Overshadow Ethics under Hu Jintao

11. Xi Jinping’s Domestic Dream for China

12. Consumption-Driven Growth Fails to Thrive under Xi Jinping

13. China’s International Dream under Xi Jinping: Trade and Exchange Rate Issues

14. China’s International Dream under Xi Jinping: Geopolitical Expansion and Military Issues

15. Xi Jinping Sacrifices Ethics for Macroeconomic Performance

16. Future Paths for China

17. Conclusions, Recommendations, and Xi’s Nightmares

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Jonathan Leightner teaches at Augusta University in the United States and Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. Johns Hopkins University hired him to teach at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in China for 2008–2010. His publications include articles on China’s trade, exchange rates, foreign reserves, fiscal policy, and land rights.


'This book clearly defines the greatest challenge China faces going forward, which is the urgency for China to address the need for ethics in dealing with its own people and with the global community. The book points out that a market economy is based on trust and confidence in the markets. Without building the trust of the Chinese population, failure will follow. The book also highlights China’s amazing ability to change and reinvent itself and there is hope that the new generation of Chinese leaders are up to the task.'David Starling, Chair of Asia Council of the University System of Georgia

Jonathan Leightner’s principle concern in this well-argued volume are the "ethics" of China’s political leadership which, he posits, has direct implications for the country’s transition to a dynamic consumer based economy. The problem he sees for China is the disconnect between the leadership’s proposed consumption driven growth strategy as enunciated in 2008, versus the government’s actual centrally controlled economic strategies. For true long-term growth and development of a consumer based economy, China’s leaders must make a firm commitment beyond rhetoric that will earn the trust of their countrymen and women.’ — Paul A. Rodell, Professor of History, Georgia Southern University