Pettis on China

Michael Pettis

A great analysis of China’s economic situation:

“According to my understanding of Chinese growth, it was policies that systematically forced households implicitly and explicitly to subsidize often-otherwise-unprofitable investment and manufacturing that led to wide and divergent growth rates between production and consumption, and of course the gap between the two is the savings rate. If that is true, the stimulus package is only likely to exacerbate the domestic imbalance.”

“The idea that being poorer makes policy easier can’t have emerged from looking at the experience of developing countries. I suspect that it arises from assuming that poverty does not represent differences in real factors – worker productivity, education, the institutional and legal framework, etc. – so much as in policy mixes.”

“It is hard to imagine that a system that was already misallocating capital on a huge scale (for example by almost any reasonable standard most SOEs are value destroyers, whose viability is only assured because of input subsidies and highly subsidized borrowing costs) would suddenly, under tremendous pressure to expand investments massively and quickly – and with the understanding that all risks would be socialized – could do so without increasing the number of unprofitable investments.”

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