tirsdag 21. juli 2020

Why it’s misleading to call US-China rivalry the new cold war

Those of us old enough to have lived through the Cold War can still remember some of the key ideological debates of the era. Given the intensifying rivalry between China and the United States, it’s increasingly common in the media and academic discourse to refer to it as Cold War 2.0.

However, we only need to remember the old Cold War to realise that such a characterisation is a misnomer. There are many reasons for this, but here I will focus on only one issue, which I will call “the economics of shortage”. It is also the eponymous title of a book by the influential Hungarian economist Janos Kornai. Calling Kornai influential is a bit like saying Keynes and Marx were influential. There is probably no single foreign economist who has had a bigger impact on China’s reforms in the 1980s. Among his many proteges is Zhou Xiaochuan, the former People’s Bank of China chief.