Thursday, December 30, 2010

America fades off into the horizon - Xiaoping's (China) a rising star - Preparations underway for WWIII? - Where's Maurice?


How Deng Xiaoping, architect of China's rise, defined the decade
By Mallory Factor
December 30th 2010

Deng Xiaoping in 1978

As 2010 closes, Americans might be inclined to consider Osama Bin Laden or George W. Bush as Person of the Decade. (All the better if Bin Laden would agree to pick up the award in person.) But the designation should actually go to someone who is less familiar to us - and who has been dead since 1997: Deng Xiaoping, the former "paramount leader" of China.

When Deng took power in 1978, China was still a poor country with collective farms and virtually the entire economy under state control. Mao had been dead for only two years, and his Cultural Revolution, which killed millions and exiled Deng himself to the countryside for "re-education," was a fresh memory.

Deng laid the foundations for the most breathtaking national transformation in world history.

Soon after his ascent to power, Deng introduced "Socialism with Chinese characteristics," which combined central planning with a market economy. He opened Special Economic Zones in the south as capitalist enclaves; the first, Shenzhen, is now a prosperous city of at least 9 million people, with its own stock exchange and a hub for high-tech companies. Deng also led the efforts to modernize and expand the Chinese military, the Peoples' Liberation Army, which continue to this day.

In the early 1990s, Deng set out a plan for Chinese growth that could be expressed in only 24 Chinese characters. In English: "Observe calmly; secure our position; cope with affairs calmly; hide our capacities; bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile; never claim leadership."

China has followed these principles consistently since Deng's death to slowly challenge the United States as the most powerful nation on Earth.

China has increased its GDP tenfold since Deng's ascension to power and has averaged 8% annual GDP growth, even through a series of global economic downturns. China has recently overtaken Germany as the world's largest exporter and Japan as the world's second largest economy. China today is not only the world's second biggest economy but is also home to the second-largest number of billionaires.

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