China
Third World capitalism par excellence
in Imperialism and the development myth
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Modern growth of Chinese capitalism has acquired an unprecedented economic importance with vast social implications. Its degree of success or failure in bringing social progress to Chinese people is central to assessing the prospects for capitalist development across the Third World more broadly and also for understanding the trajectory of the world economic system. Recent growth of research and development in China appears to indicate a move into higher technology production. However, quantitative growth of research and development does not tell us much about its quality or type. In China there is far more ‘development’ going on than basic research of new productive technologies. Development of existing techniques makes China a competitive place to locate many production processes, but it does not threaten the monopoly of the rich, imperialist countries over high-technology production. China is also commonly viewed as a financial power in part due to the large size of its state-held foreign currency reserves. However, closer examination of Chinese reserves and how these are invested, shows many of the weaknesses not strengths of Chinese capitalism. What explains the long economic boom, lasting several decades, in China is not that China is a rising challenge to the dominance of the rich countries. Rather, China has ascended from the position of one of the poorest Third World countries, at least in terms of dollar income, to a productive and income level comparable to other relatively developed Third World societies such as Mexico and Brazil.

Imperialism and the development myth

How rich countries dominate in the twenty-first century

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