Can America Be Fixed?
The New Crisis of Democracy
Capitalism and Inequality
What the Right and the Left Get Wrong
Why a Founding Father of Postwar Capitalism Spied for the Soviets
A Conversation With Stanley McChrystal
The Rise of Big Data
How It's Changing the Way We Think About the World
The Road to D-Day
Behind the Battle That Won the War
How Jewish Extremism Threatens Zionism
Who Is Ali Khamenei?
The Worldview of Iran’s Supreme Leader
Biology's Brave New World
The Promise and Perils of the Synbio Revolution
Google's Original X-Man
A Conversation With Sebastian Thrun
Making Sense of Mali
The Real Stakes of the War Rocking West Africa
Saving the Euro, Dividing the Union
Could Europe's Deeper Integration Push the United Kingdom Out?
The Real Reason Putin Supports Assad
Mistaking Syria for Chechnya
How Iran Won the War on Drugs
Lessons for Fighting the Afghan Narcotics Trade
The Egyptian State Unravels
Meet the Gangs and Vigilantes Who Thrive Under Morsi
Even Good Coups Are Bad
Lessons for Egypt from the Philippines, Venezuela, and Beyond
How Yemen Chewed Itself Dry
Farming Qat, Wasting Water
The Arab Sunset
The Coming Collapse of the Gulf Monarchies
Where Have All the Workers Gone?
China's Labor Shortage and the End of the Panda Boom
Love in the Time of Bollywood
India's Strained Romance Revolution
It became fashionable after the Soviet Union’s collapse to say that breakneck economic growth was the only thing postponing the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) day of reckoning. Communist ideology was discredited, went the argument, but as long as the economic pie kept growing, citizens would set aside broader concerns and take their piece. But what if growth were interrupted by, say, a global financial crisis, collapse of world trade, and mass layoffs on the Chinese factory floor? The music would stop, the masquerade party would end, and Jennifer Connelly would smash her way through David Bowie’s bubble prison, so to speak.
Except that it didn’t. The Chinese economy faced exactly this cataclysmic scenario in the final months of 2008. Collapsing confidence and worldwide financial dysfunction forced businesses to cancel orders en masse. It was a huge blow to the Chinese manufacturing industry, compounding the weaknesses of a domestic economy already fragile after months of government efforts to cool a real estate bubble and overheating inflation. Tens of millions of Chinese migrant workers were laid off in the lead up to the Lunar New Year holiday in late January 2009. They returned to the countryside, passed the holiday with relatives, and waited for the crisis to abate.
Meanwhile, Zhongnanhai’s poobahs began to sweat. The global economy was plunging into the worst recession since the 1930s. China responded hastily with an outsized stimulus package that boosted confidence, but was insufficient to create jobs for both the laid-off workers and the millions of college graduates and young migrant workers who had flocked to urban job markets every year for decades. Early in 2009, Chinese officials were openly worrying about maintaining social stability in the Chinese countryside.
The economy in 2009 was indeed shaky by Chinese standards, if not in comparison to the rest of the world. China’s real GDP growth slowed to single digits -- the lowest it had been in nearly a decade. Accordingly, the China bears rose from hibernation to
Loading, please wait...