For many, China’s fast-paced economic reform is a source of constant anxiety. In a caricature of the debate, “blockhead” economists cheer on China’s reformers, while the more culturally and socially “aware” wring their hands, worried sick because of potential social upheavals. Not a few Cassandras forecast imminent civil eruptions.
Throwing tens of millions of state-sector workers out on the street while dismantling the cradle-to-grave social welfare they once enjoyed does seem like a recipe for instability. Such a scenario was convincing enough for concocting bestselling titles like The Coming Collapse of China. (It appeared over five years ago and is still being sold in airport bookstands. I’m not sure how the adjective “coming” is exactly defined as a time frame. Six months? Six years? Two decades?)