Will Materialism Hold China Together in a Faltering Economy?

In a society composed of elites commanding the economy with people acting as bricks and materialism acting as mortar, what holds it together when things start faltering? What happens to materialism in a faltering economy?

First, let us see how China is starting to falter:

The Politics of a Slowing China by Minxin Pei – Project Syndicate

Slower GDP growth undermines elite unity according to a different political dynamic. The current Chinese system is a gigantic rent-distributing mechanism. The ruling elites have learned to live with each other not through shared beliefs, values, or rules, but by carving up the spoils of economic development. In a high-growth environment, each group or individual could count on getting a lucrative contract or project. When growth falters, the food fight among party members will become vicious.

The Politics of a Slowing China by Minxin Pei – Project Syndicate

Trouble in Emerging-Market Paradise by Nouriel Roubini – Project Syndicate

This approach may have worked at earlier stages of development and when the global financial crisis caused private spending to fall; but it is now distorting economic activity and depressing potential growth. Indeed, China’s slowdown reflects an economic model that is, as former Premier Wen Jiabao put it, “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable,” and that now is adversely affecting growth in emerging Asia and in commodity-exporting emerging markets from Asia to Latin America and Africa. The risk that China will experience a hard landing in the next two years may further hurt many emerging economies.

Trouble in Emerging-Market Paradise by Nouriel Roubini – Project Syndicate

China’s End of Exuberance by Michael Spence – Project Syndicate

China’s growth has slowed considerably since 2010, and it may slow even more – a prospect that is rattling investors and markets well beyond China’s borders. With many of the global economy’s traditional growth engines – like the United States – stuck in low gear, China’s performance has become increasingly important.

China’s End of Exuberance by Michael Spence – Project Syndicate

China Grows Down by Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng – Project Syndicate

For more than three decades, China’s GDP has grown by an average of more than 10% annually. But former Premier Wen Jiabao rightly described this impressive growth performance as “unstable, unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable,” highlighting the many economic, social, and environmental costs and challenges that have accompanied it. Now China must choose between the export-based, investment-driven growth model of the past and a new, more viable economic order.

China Grows Down by Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng – Project Syndicate

The following story about the Tower of Babel comes from Rabbi Daniel Lapin and is told by Glenn Beck. Here we learn the meaning of stones, bricks and mortar.

The Tower of Babel like you’ve never heard it before

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So what is the brick? Bricks especially I live in Connecticut. Stones, those great stone calls, they’re all different and they are all made by God and they are all made differently. And when you build these stone walls or a foundation, all of our churches back in colonial days, they weren’t bricks. They were all stones. Stones are all different and they are all made by God. The stones represent people. So do the bricks. Nimrod says let’s make bricks. He’s talking about people, let’s make them all equal, let’s make them all exactly the same. Because then everybody is equal, everybody will have the same and they will be interchangeable. And what did they use as mortar? In the ancient Hebrew, mortar, the word “Mortar” actually means “Materialism.” So materialism. It’s what holds the bricks together.

The Tower of Babel like you’ve never heard it before

Socialism (modern liberalism) and communism turn people into bricks by making everyone the same, or at least no better or worse off than any other. Obviously, in communist China the elites treat much of the population likes bricks. But the introduction of capitalism plus heavy state control by the elites has turned China into a fascist state. Fascism plus the people as bricks and materialism as mortar holds China together.

National Socialism with Chinese Characteristics – By John Garnaut | Foreign Policy

Two years ago, one of China’s most successful investment bankers broke away from his meetings in Berlin to explore a special exhibit that had caught his eye: “Hitler and the Germans: Nation and Crime.” In the basement of the German History Museum, He Di watched crowds uneasily coming to terms with how their ancestors had embraced the Nazi promise of “advancement, prosperity and the reinstatement of former national grandeur,” as the curators wrote in their introduction to the exhibit. He, vice-chairman of investment banking at the Swiss firm UBS, found the exhibition so enthralling, and so disturbing for the parallels he saw with back home, that he spent three days absorbing everything on Nazi history that he could find.

National Socialism with Chinese Characteristics – By John Garnaut | Foreign Policy

In china, we are looking at a combination of both national socialism and fascism.

Can China Be Described as ‘Fascist’? – NYTimes.com

Chinese politics is controlled by the Communist Party and its powerful families and factions, so when the son of a former party chief says the state is virtually “fascist,” it’s worth listening.

“The signs have long been there,” said Wang Lixiong, a prominent writer and scholar. “I feel there is a very clear trend toward fascism, and the source of fascism comes from the ever-growing power of the power holders.” China is “a police state,” he said, where power rules for power’s sake.

Can China Be Described as ‘Fascist’? – NYTimes.com

China shows signs of neo-fascism | 1913 Intel
China: The First Mature Fascist State | 1913 Intel
What are China’s global intentions? | Human Events | 1913 Intel
State Capitalism | 1913 Intel

From the history of Nazi Germany and the Tower of Babel, we should probably be thinking about rough waters ahead now that China’s economy is faltering.