The author tells us that historically the spread and growth of capitalist economies has required low wages, taxation, and environmental costs, as well as a hegemonic nation to prevent international competition from eroding these requirements. With the decline of the economic power of the United States, its current hegemonic role will deteriorate and the unprecedented growth of China will so erode the foundations of capital accumulation—by pushing wages and environmental costs up, for example—that the entire capitalist system will be shaken to its core. This is essential reading for those who still believe that there is no alternative.
Minqi Li has accomplished something different and very important. He has placed the ‘Rise of China’ from the Mao era to today in the context of the history of the entire world-system. He makes a persuasive case.
A thought-provoking account. Minqi Li considers the consequences of the entry of China into the global capitalist system, in light of the challenges facing human society from economic, political, and environmental constraints. This book makes a major contribution.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
…an important and significant contribution to the study of China’s potential futures and, in terms of [Minqi Li’s] analysis of both the Mao period and the nature and sustainability of post-Mao reforms, perhaps an even more important contribution to the study of China’s past and present.
Journal of Contemporary Asia