The author is Joe Zhang and the subtitle is Is China’s State Capitalism Doomed? Here is the summary of his conclusions:
1. The state sector remains the dominant part of the Chinese economy.
2. In the past decade, China has erased most (if not all) of the liberalization of the previous two decades. As a result, the state sector has become more dominant than it was a decade ago.
3. The state sector enjoys widespread public support in China, contrary to perceptions in the West. there are political, social and cultural reasons for this “strange” situation.
4. The state sector and SOEs are constantly adapting to the public demand for transparency and efficiency. As a whole, they do not necessarily underperform the private sector. Indeed, due to systematic discrimination against the private sector, there is evidence to the contrary: the state sector has had a better financial track record in the past three decades. Indeed, it is not fair to make comparisons given the unleveled playing field.
5. The many challenges China faces today need a robust and well-funded state sector. At least that is, in my judgment, what the Chinese government and most members of the public think. These challenges include social inequality, overpopulation, environmental damage, and the depletion of global resources.
I do not agree with every claim in this book, especially the normative ones, but this is one of the better places to go for a look at how the Chinese economy actually works. Or doesn’t, as the case may be.