Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

China and its transition imperatives 31: a brief orienting note on this series and on where it is headed moving forward

Posted in macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on April 29, 2016

Most of the series of postings that I offer in this blog are written with a fairly carefully thought through completion point and goal in mind, and from their inception. This applies to series that are tightly focused around some single issue that I seek to systematically address, and to series that I offer that seek to connect together more of a diversity of issues for their more underlying, unifying commonality. This series, as I have at least briefly noted in recent installments, is different.

China is a vast nation that seeks to become a true 21st century global powerhouse, and in manufacturing and economic spheres, and militarily and politically and culturally. And for all of its very real strengths, China should be in a strong position for at least achieving significant portions of that overall goal. But at the same time, China and its government and its one political party system are burdened with deep-set fundamental structural challenges that long-term at least, make much of their apparent strength more illusory than real. And China is now confronting and seeking to address a fundamental, and fundamentally unavoidable transition period as a result of that. And it is one where longer-term consequences are unavoidably coming to the surface and both within China itself and more globally as other nations and their economies have to deal with China.

• It is in fact the fundamental nature of China’s one party only, centrally managed system and the weaknesses that this system creates that have made this transition inevitable. And it is the limitations of that system that have set up the impending collisions that shape this transition period and that will ultimately shape its outcome.

So I have been writing this series as a more open ended one. China is unavoidably facing fundamental change. But as of this writing, it is still uncertain as to how this transition period will fully take shape, and precisely where it will end. I will only add in that regard, that recently emerging trends and China’s official responses to them, have created at least a significant possibility that China’s Communist Party and their current government will become historical memory as undeniable forces that they cannot control, and their ongoing momentum proceed forward. I am thinking of the downfall of the Soviet Empire as I write this, starting at least as a formally overt step with the breakup and fall of the Warsaw Pact, and with that followed by the demise of the Soviet Union itself as a would-be communist nation too. Only time will tell what will happen next and where this will all lead; and lacking a working crystal ball, that leaves me with writing of this as an open ended series.

Why am I writing about China here, and not for example about the Euro Zone nations and their ongoing turmoil? Their still ongoing economic challenges and the conflicts of interest that have shaped them, as played out between their have and their have-not member states are notable and important. And all of that is being exacerbated, to put it mildly by the sociopolitical tensions and challenges that are created by the huge influx of migrants that are being driven there by all but genocidal conflicts in places such as Syria. I am one person and I have only so much time and energy to devote to this blog, and I see all of the European nations involved as being fundamentally sound; many will endure real change but they will endure all of this. China is both vast for its global impact and influence, and fundamentally vulnerable and in ways that even the weakest of the Euro Zone nations are not. The challenges that it is facing as I write this, are existential in nature and severity, and it is essentially inevitable that even if a nominally communist nation state emerges from this transition period in China, it will not be the same as the one that entered it.

I see fundamental need on my part to include this series here in this blog as China and its actions and its fate will of necessity play significant roles in shaping the 21st century and globally. And I continue this series today, (writing this note on April 20, 2016) accordingly.

And I end this posting with a housekeeping note, because I have decided to shift my schedule for this series to what would normally be my off-days for having next postings go live. I have been posting a larger number of addendum, fractional posting number installments for this series than I have for any other in this blog. And I have pushed every one of them into the posting queue and between regularly scheduled and completed installments of this series, and I see that as disruptive of the narrative progression that I would like to organize it into as a whole. I might switch back to posting to go live on my more regularly scheduled days for that, but for now I will schedule and include these postings this way, to more easily fit them into the live publication flow and with less need for breaking my order of presentation here.

And with that noted I set up my next installment to this series, starting with the end notes that I offered in Part 30. I ended that posting, by noting that I would “consider how transparency and opacity are used, and both in China and elsewhere as governments seek to manage their national economies.” And I added that I would also delve other issues too, including my commenting on more-breaking news events.

I will address those issues in my next series installment where I will focus in large part on a progression of recent news events that have been brought to public attention starting several months ago now, that collectively tell an interesting story. I will then consider the issues of transparency and opacity in light of these recent events, and for what they represent and for how they are acknowledged or not, and responded to or not. I am writing this installment to go live on April 29, 2016 and will write a Part 32 to go live approximately two weeks after that.

Meanwhile, you can find this entire series and all of its postings at Macroeconomics and Business as postings 154 and loosely following for Parts 1-12 and for a supplemental posting: Part 12.5. And see Page 2 to that directory for subsequent main sequence and supplemental installments to this. You can also find other, China-related postings and series at those directory pages, and at Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time too.

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