In recent years, popular wisdom has held that opening American markets to Chinese goods was the best way to promote democracy in Beijing---that the Communist Party's grip would quickly weaken as increasingly affluent Chinese citizens embraced American values. That popular wisdom was "wrong." As Eamonn Fingleton shows in this devastating book, instead of America changing China, China is changing America. Although this process of "reverse convergence" has been swept largely under the carpet by knee-jerk globalists in the American press, Americans will soon be hearing much more about it. Nowhere is the pattern more obvious than in business. Many top American corporations---Boeing, AT&T, the Detroit automobile companies, among them--openly collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party. In a stunning rejection of Western values, Yahoo! even provided the Chinese secret police with vital evidence that resulted in a ten-year jail sentence for one of its Chinese subscribers, a brave young dissident, under draconian censorship laws. Selling the American national interest short, countless other corporations abjectly do Beijing's lobbying in Congress. This book---the culmination of twenty years of study---also breaks new ground by revealing the secret behind China's phenomenal savings rate. Top leaders literally force the Chinese people to save through a highly counterintuitive---and, to ordinary citizens, virtually invisible---policy called suppressed consumption. This practice, which is to economics roughly what steroids are to sport, is fundamentally incompatible with Western ideas of fair global competition. It is reinforced by an Orwellian system of political control that, as Fingleton reveals, utilizes an ancient bureaucratic tool called selective enforcement---a form of blackmail that instills a silent reign of terror throughout Chinese society. Most worryingly, selective enforcement can readily be unleashed on any American corporation with interests in China---which is to say just about every member of the Fortune 500. While the Chinese people's rising affluence is, of course, an occasion for wholehearted rejoicing, Uncle Sam should give the Chinese power system a wide berth---lest he catch his coattails in the jaws of a dragon.
Eamonn Fingleton, a prescient former editor for "Forbes" and the "Financial Times," has been monitoring East Asian economics since he met supreme leader Deng Xiaoping in 1986 as a member of a top U.S. financial delegation. The following year he predicted the Tokyo banking crash and went on in "Blindside," a controversial 1995 analysis that was praised by J. K. Galbraith and Bill Clinton, to show that a heedless America was fast losing its formerly vaunted dominance in advanced manufacturing to Japan. His book "In Praise of Hard Industries: Why Manufacturing, Not the Information Economy, Is the Key to Future Prosperity "brilliantly anticipated the Internet stock crash of 2000. His books have been read into the U.S. Senate record and named among the ten best business books of the year by "Business Week" and Amazon.com.