Undemocratic Capitalism

Will  the market democratize China? The logic of economic determinism may not be so inexorable after all.

Issue: Summer 1999

The Clinton administration's China policy has come under attack from
many quarters for being too conciliatory, too optimistic and too
compromised by a nexus of money and insider politics. But the
President and his aides deflect each jab by contending that, despite
episodic problems and pratfalls, a policy of engaging China on a
broad range of issues has the best chance of maximizing American
influence and impelling China toward positive change. The key dynamic
is assumed to be rapid economic growth, which, it is tenaciously
held, will result ultimately in political liberalization. That, in
turn, would not solve all problems between the United States and
China, but it would conventionalize those problems and, presumably,
make them easier to manage.

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!