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tv   Dexter Roberts The Myth of Chinese Capitalism  CSPAN  February 15, 2021 11:25am-12:31pm EST

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church and in calhoun, american heritage baylor university history professor robert heller recalled the wife of vice president secretary of war and confederate advocate john calhoun . find these titles this coming week wherever books are sold and watch for many of the authors in the near future on both tv on c-span2. >> good morning, name my name is mei fong and i'm director of public integrity and i'm pleased to be our monitor at moderator at the commonwealth club which is talking about the myth of chinese capitalism and i'm pleased to be with my friend chip roberts who is the fellow at the university of montana, a brilliant journalist and writer and author of the new book which is called "the myth ofchinese capitalism: the worker, the factory, and the future of the world" . now, this is an important
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book to understand how surging income inequality and a very unfair social welfare system and rising social tensions are blocking china's economic rise in the world and complicating the already troubled relationship we have between china, the united states and the world. both chip and i have been longtime journalists in china and tim for businessweek and myself from the wall street journal so i'm looking forward to having this conversation with tim on a topic that's important to us but before we jump into this conversation, one final note. if you have any questions for myself or chip please do post it in the youtube checkbox or it can be forwarded to me during the program. welcome chip, it's great to see you again . >> thank you very much for such a kind introduction. it's great to see you virtually again .
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unfortunately we're not doing this in person for obvious reasons but wonderful to see you here today. and thank you to the commonwealth club for giving us this opportunity. i like to start by talking about how i came write my book the myth of chinese capitalism and in order to do so, i have to take everyone back to quite a few years, about 20 years to the year 2000 . and at that point, i had been in china for about five years and then covering the business story as you mentioned earlier mainly working for businessweek full-time at that point and had been spending a lot of time for that reason in the big cities of beijing where i was faced and shanghai and places like that that year, the year 2000 i did 2 cover stories that took me to a part of china that i had never been to before. and the first of those, you can see pictured here was called china's wealth gap and
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this cover story was looking at the already then fast growing gap between the coastal regions of china and theinterior . i went for this reporting to the province of guizhou in southwestern china and unfortunately today one of the much poorer parts of china and just a little context to the recording for this story and the topic. at that point we'd seen a couple of decades since deng xiaoping started reform and we've seen rapid growth but much of that concentrated on the coast so there was a policy by the then leader called develop the west which was an effort to try to address that already strong
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growing gap between the coast and the interior. that same year again, 2000 i went back to guizhou for a second cover story. you can see pictured here for businessweek. the great migration. i was looking at the already hundreds of millions of strong migrant workers that were in response to this unequal development were leaving their homes in places like guizhou and going to the coast to work in the factories and then construction. construction sites mainly at that point. this young gentleman pictured here on the cover of the businessweek is named maura watt and he is the one that i met there for the first time, first met him in dongguan in guangdong province where he was working with millions of other migrant workers in the export factories there along
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the pearl river delta and then later was to meet him many times in his hometown in rural guizhou province. so i focus my book by looking really to places in china. representatives of both wealth gap and the tremendous growth that you and i both experienced and wrote about in our years in china and the two places on the right, you can see the village that the more a block hail from in the southeastern part of this province of guizhou and on the other picture is of a typical factory scene, this happens to be in an suv factory in guangdong of the river from dongguan where i met more a lot and another
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big factory cluster in china's pearl river delta and this is another picture of moruboa, i believe he was 21 when i met him. he had already left his village for five years and he's been a true migrant. he worked in shanghai, he's worked in a coastal city not far from shanghai and worked in a number of different jobs around guangdong where i met him where he was working as a welder in a taiwanese owned electronic component factory in the city of dongguan and another picture of moruboa, pictured with his then girlfriend who also comes from also a migrant worker working in a different factory there in dongguan but also a province that is a
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different, if traditionally been a big source of migrant workers, the province of hunan in the north so they met there in dongguan. another person that i spent a lot of time with his pictured here. also surnamed mo, most of the people in this small village of binghuacun share the same surname which is common in the smaller villages of china. her name was mo mei chen and i had met here her in dongguan outside the factory she was working in a couple months earlier and then when i visited the village of binghuacun met her again. she returned for two reasons: one of which was to help her parents with a rice harvest and the other one which was probably far more important was to renew her identity card.
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at that point and again going back to the year 2000, migrant workers in china were very vulnerable to local police authorities and one of the things that could happen to them was if they could not have all the proper documentation and that included an up-to-date identity card they could get picked up and put into what they called blast jails. then effectively held for ransom where they would have to pay several months of their salary, equivalent to several months of their salary to getout . so something like this had happened to one of her distant relatives in the village there so she had gone back to make sure she wouldn't get in trouble with the local police because of thisexpired identity card . i visited again guizhou in 2000 and the village of
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binghuacun and this was before china was to enter the wto which came one year later . what at that point, people in china already knew they were going to, that china was going to enter the world trade organization. these bilateral agreements had been negotiated between the us and china in late 1999 which was a big part of my early recording in china, covering china's entry into the world trade organization so even in this little village, they knew that china was going to about a year later enter the wto and i remember talking to the village chief and he was very hopeful that with china's entry into the world trade organization and frankly with after talking to a foreign journalist that this might bring investment to his village and he was very hopeful that they would get a vegetable and fruit processing factory so they could move beyond their then
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reliance on agriculture and remittances from the migrant, the young people that left the village and became migrant workers. so china enters the wto and we know the broad dimensions of what happened . it brought literally tens of thousands of new investors into china, factories strong up even more throughout the pearl river delta near shanghai and the river delta. it created thousands of new jobs for these young people from the countryside . and we saw china's economy grow very rapidly and the living standards of its people go up dramatically as well. so sort of jumping forward to the present and i will wrap this up shortly. so wto as i said brings tremendous progress to china, undeniable improvement in
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living standards across the board. it brings infrastructure throughout the country. this is a picture here of rural guizhou not far from the same village of binghuacun i write about in my book and this is a very recent picture. the expressways, high-speed rails were built throughout china including in remote places like guizhou and this helped local economies. if you look at this picture you can see there is a gold and red billboard along the expressway and the gold and the red just a side note is a clue that this is, this is communist propaganda. i think you can't read it from here but it was a xi jinping slogan so we saw infrastructure and we felt the propaganda reach deep into china. so bringing us to today, as i
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said, undeniable progress. china had sent him centennial goals. next year will be the hundredth anniversary of the founding of the chinese communist party which was founded in 1921 and for that celebration, china has announced that they will end absolute poverty and some of you may have seen recently they have basically achieved that so they've met that goal . they also as part of the centennial goal announced that they would double gdp and also double disposable per capita income between the years of 2010 and 2020. and even with covid-19 which slowed the economy, it looks like they're goingto achieve that goal as well . so very impressive.
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i'd like to highlight quickly however another statistic which says a lot about the challenges that still lie ahead for china. when i first visited guizhou in 2000 and wrote about this effort to narrow the wealth gap a statistic i always heard about from local officials was the fact that real incomes on average were about one third that of urban incomes. that proportion is still roughly the same but despite all the years of effort and the real growth in income there's still about one to three gap between those people from the countryside and those people from the city. at the same time we've seen an explosion in wealth inequality in china and thomas mckinney, the noted inequality expert has found that the wealth gap in china is roughly comparable to that in russia which might come as a surprise to some people. even more worrisome, it's
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growing at about the same speed as that, as it's growing in russia which is very fast. so as i argue in my book, i think that one of the, there's a couple of legacy policies in china which explain why this gap still exists today and operably almost certainly more important than any other policy that still exists in china today that has a very negative influence on income growth in rural china is something called the household registration policy or in chinese the cuckoo policy. this was meant to make people working in communes and therefore having adequate
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cheap food for people in the city that were supposed to carry out the industrialization of china so this policy still exists today. it has changed in that it used to bar people from rural china from coming to the city and obviously that has been completely tossed out so now we have maybe 300 million migrant workers that have left the countryside and come to work in the cities but what the household registration policy does today is kind every persons access to social welfare, access to healthcare and education to the place where they were born or actually more specifically where their parents were born and what that means in effect for china today or china's people today is that someone has the population of migrants and their relatives in the countryside are receiving much lower quality healthcare
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. they have to get it, they're supposed to be getting it from rural china and also their children are receiving far inferior education. it's also is the source of this really a humanlike tragedy in china today which is what they refer to as the left behind children phenomenon that is the reality of the 100 million people and children of migrant workers typically do not to the cities and live with their parents or something where the many today living longer and personal warning schools and are not receiving very good education there and also taste some really sad both
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physical and psychological issues relatedto growing up in these 40s. typically they see their parents here . the last policy i talked about my book which is key to explaining the continuing existence of this inequality is the dual land system. again policy originated many years ago under my and what it does in effect is ensure that while people in the cities are able to buy and sell their apartments and they with great gusto, and become very wealthy many cases doing so, most rural people and that includes the migrant workers are unable to actually buyand sell their property at market rates . one last picture, this is one of the more recent visits i had to moruboa. he's obligated to stay in
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guangdong and many migrants are returning to their villages to try to reinvent themselves now that chinese factories are automating and also some transactions are moving overseas so moruboa and his wife are who are the same person we saw, the young woman in the picture, they run a small business sourcing athletic apparel and have there's small brands which none of us would have ever heard of and not even most people in beijing and shanghai would know about. not very easy, struggling to get by there. they have their office in their small apartment which they rent. they can't afford to buy and by doing that visit the big issue and were struggling with was what to do about the fourth person in the picture. their daughter who is turning six, what to do about her education and mo ru boa was
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adamant she would not become a left behind child in the villages or in the townships near where he had grown up but instead, would go to school and live with them there. in the city. that, very difficult because we already knew she would be able to go to the public schools and that the alternative then was a small private school. of which there are many that have been created to cater to the migrant workers kids. not only are they typically of far poorer quality in the urban public schools but they are also often very expensive. >> that was great to see all these photos and that took you on a journey to the book. and i've course have been very fascinated about these issues. just very quickly before we jump into the discussion we had an interesting question from the audience that was asking you if you spoke mandarin whether you had any issues of the language
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barrier. and you had been in china for 20+ years and you probably speak mandarin way better than i do what i was going to say, i'm sure what part of venturing out into outside of beijing and shanghai and the big city is that it's a different kind of chinese spoken out here, there's all the different dialects and things. it's quite a difficult process, do you want to talk a little bit about that western mark. >> the village that i spent so much time in and that i write about in the book, actually is the people there are actually not the majority on chinese, there and at the minority group, very small one called wii which many people havenot heard of and they have their own language . but they also most of them do speak mandarin and there were several people including mo ru boa who typically migrant
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workers who had spent years outside the village that actually spoke quite standard mandarin chinese. so the fact that they had left as young people and really all that time in the factories, they earned a little bit of money but they had also learn to speak mandarin quite clearly so that was not the challenge in that particular village but some of the elderly people i would actually meet someone like mo ru boa to serve as my translatorbecause they might , they would be a very thick version of mandarin chinese and feel more comfortable in their own language. so that was the situation there. i had another recording in china and i've done local dialect. i had local dialects in mandarin translation so for example chongqing has a strong accident and i hired a young person there who was someone who actually spoke
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very standard mandarin will also spoke the local dialect. and not interpreted into english but into mandarin. >> i think i remember thinking that the difference between something like shanghai and some of these small venture small gap as you can imagine between london and lash out. in terms of the inequality of the language and the customs and i think that's something that people outside of china don't necessarilyunderstand . we all think because it's a standardized written system so far spoken all across that somehow it's much more uniform than we imagine but i guess what i really found so fascinating about your book was the central tenet of, we are very used to outside of china seeing china as this great economic miracle. the rising tide, 300 400 million people lifted out of
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poverty so to speak and your book falls back the curtain a little bit and shows that really not quite the case is of these two fundamental huge iron bands that keep migrant folks sort of, they're both tethered to the land. they might have left 2030 yearsago and don't even know how to farm but they can't sell it . but at the same time they can't fully assimilate into any of the bigger cities because they can't get any of the benefits accrued as a cityresident . they can't the medical system . the message is come here, work, power our economic engine and then go back home. but this situation as you describe it is to some extent changing. that's partly because the great economic engine that china has been powered on for a long time which is cheap labor is no longer the case. as you mention automation is
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happening so isn't there some sort of a huge push to change the way things are is this some tension because of the way to keep things the way they are? >> that's a good question. china is undergoing an economic shift that i would argue is as probably as big as, you have to go back to an opening to find such a big shift and that's really the move from the factory to the world model as you say based on low-cost labor. producing goods mainly for exports in the world. and for now too much more domestic market driven economy. an economy driven by service industries. rather than manufacturing and investments. and this is happening very quickly in china. i would say that he two-year trade war with the us, plus mo ru boa has brought home to the chinese officials that this transition needs to happen much more quickly than before. and it we've been talking
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about it for probably at least adecade . they want to, that they must undergo this transition rid of a scene that beijing wages go up. average manufacturing wage today in china are higher than in mexico or malaysia. and so on the one hand they tried to automate their factories . they didn't they did it quite successful and on the other hand they are trying to push much more domestic market driven economy so they know they have to make this transition. as i argued in my book, they face this really until today seemingly insurmountable obstacle which is the fact that they have these policies in place and ensure that about one half of the population are on a path to become middle-class consumers. you have a situation that, this call precautionary savings is a big problem in
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china. migrant workers in particular feel that their futures and their right i think are precarious.they have to as i said, pay for their children to go to schools, private schools that are expensive in the city or their children sent back to the countryside on the healthcare side. they live in fear of having a medical emergency that they won't necessarily get covered because they need to be back in their villages where they probably couldn't get good care inorder to get proper coverage . what you see is a very high savings rate across china. and therefore the flip side, a low domestic consumption so china's got about just quickly to get into the economic meteor china's been struggling to lift domestic consumption as a proportion of its overalleconomy for years now . it's stopped just below below 40 percent. that's far lower than the
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global average and so they know that they need to change that and you get the to the issue of where they perform policy and there's a bunch of reasons. we can talk about later. >> we will get into that in a little bit but i had an interesting question from arena which is pertaining to that last picture you showed the more family. they said that mo ru boa and his wife had to send the little girl who private school because she doesn't have the residency papers to get into the local schools. that's way more expensive and he was kind of curious about what kind of relative perspective on this cost would be relative to income we could get some idea. you want to talk about that one? >> their income is very variable because they have to small business and they have good months and they have bad months. it was tough. i would have to say it's been
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tough for them to make sure that they pay their rent which is quite a modest apartment so they have their office as well but it's expensive in places like dongguan now, far more expensive then we went there as a young factory worker so there have their rent , it could be again, it's variable . depending on what sort of business they've done that particular month but it can easily be the tuitioncould be a multiple of months . >> i think if i'm correct on this, it's been a couple of years since i was in china reporting but the part of the problem isn't so much also the cost, you're kind of going under the table, not fully state sanctioned school system, migrant kids are going to these schools so the problem becomes later on they don't have the right kind of school certification to process at the higher levels and maybe even get into college to do if they were going to a state sanctioned public school in the right
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area so that the problem. inferior education that under the table it doesn't going to equip you to climb that ladder . >> i think the way the system works in china, they those children are due stay with their parents in the city you might have to goback to the countryside when they're getting ready for >> and for both . >> because that's the requirement, that they take those tests, china is a very fast based system as you know and in order to get into high school and then to get into a good college you have to take the test where you're officially registered so those children often right before high school will go back and try to get into a barrel high school. and interestingly, in some cases, they find that they're actually not as well-prepared as the children that have
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stayed behind. because they are in the private school that are very good. what it means in effect is there's anextremely high dropout rates . much higher than the chinese government likes to admit but there's very good research by different scholars and in particular tom zeller of stanford looking at what the true dropout rates for rural kids in china and it's very high and it has to do with the lack of preparation. >> it's kind of a conundrum. you either if you're a migrant worker, you have to go to the city.probably get some kind of a job and financials to support your children but you either have the choice of leaving them behind and then all the social economic problems caused your unsupervised. or you bring them with you but then they get substandard education and they don't progress in a way that you hoped. there's so many heartbreaking stories about all these other kids left behind and there was a kid, the case of suicide or their grandparents can't supervise them because it's a different system or dropout rates are huge or in
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some cases even if they do stay behind it's not necessarily clear that the path to school and the parents are there to keep an eye on them and make sure they know. i've heard of some stories where they say the kids, left behind children, the problem is they're not actually gaining the skill set that would even enable them to get kind ofjobs that their parents would be able to get in a factory .because so it's three steps back and away. i'm sure you have a ton of interesting stories like that when you talk to the morse and all these other folks. >> there's a serious problem. what china has done over the last 10 or 15 years is close a lot of the small village schools which were admittedly a very poor quality and what they've doneis create these big impersonal boarding school the idea is good . they will concentrate this year's resources and they
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will have more migrant kids or rural kids gaining access to the few good teachers out there. and then if they'll perhaps have better meals because they will be eating in the cafeteria and it sends a clear amount of money put in by the central government to try to build up the physical infrastructure of these 40 schools but the reality is i spent quite a bit of time visiting these boarding schools and the reality is whereas the facilities might be okay or even in some cases good, they'll have forts grounds and so on, the soft infrastructure of teaching issues of psychological problems that they face mean a way from their parents, physically they'll see their parents once a year and their parents come back for the lunar new year and none of these issues are dealt with. there are very as i said very high from these new boarding schools as well. >> so what we discussed so far seems like a very internal issue. these are china's problems, china has an effect created a second-class citizenship where their migrants in a way our internal immigrants that never can assimilate within
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the greater system. to some of our audience, to maybe probably most of our audience are from outside of china, counted this early in a global economic scale? what are some of the spillways that could affect say us china relations right now? >> referring to the title. >> one message in my mind is the fact that this one for you is. >> another related myth which is important to the world is that china will continue to generate more to the left and have an ever larger middle-class and i think this is a myth that multinationals
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have become first of all believe and have become reliant on. this idea that the growth that they been accustomed to which has been present as a whole lot will continue on this trajectory and i don't think without these forms were going to see them so we're going to see stalling of the middle class. country scale, much of the world has become accustomed to china being the growth driver and again, without reform of these policies and real changes to the economy i don't see that continuingand that of course has implications for the global economy and companies around the world . >> what you're describing is a situation that i would i
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think to some folks suggest that there's huge discontentment and potentially huge unemployment issues . and then of course which leads to the question about social uprisings orchanges . people assume once china open up economically that china will become like the west. they would demanddemocratic reform . >> .. do you think that's also a myth potentially or what would the crystal ball show potentially? >> a message that the urban middle class, the well educated urban middle class is going to become a source of social change in the sort of mint the idea not
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my backyard, you do well, you get educated, you buy an apartment in the factory goes up across the way and you say there was no public consultation before the factory was built. we need a real political system that doesn't surprise us with things like that. that is a myth. that was something that certainly in my earlier years in china was seem to be a given, these i did that with economic growth particularly urban china and well educated china would become a sort of political change. and, of course, this is what we heard from u.s. politicians, bill clinton and others when the decision was made to bring in china into the world trade organization. this was quite explicit that with time, political change would follow economic change. there's been no evidence of that happening at all. i think one of the reasons we all got it wrong and i put
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myself in that group as well was that we sort of ms. this reality in china which i would argue defining contract between the government the party and the people have been not all state explicitly but very important, which is we the party will guarantee that your living standards will continue to rise and use the people will not demand real civil rights. you will demand the free press and you will accept the fact that you have one party ruling all, the chinese communist party. i think that is been very effective in effect by the office, political aspirations or ideals of the better off people in china. i think that bargain was already
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framed for significantly for migrant workers and for rural people in china, but the reasons i just said. migrant workers have done and rural people have done far more poorly than the rest of the population. i do think there is a growing awareness that this is the case and it's happening because of a structural system. that's something when i first started reporting most rural people and by which were unaware of butter think today they are quite aware of it. >> but with that level of rising discontent, people -- is like a bicycle that will keep moving one way or another but as far as my coworkers are concerned that bicycle momentum is slowing down. there's the potential for some tilt or not. do we throw that out the window?
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>> i do think this is a really, this is a challenging time for the chinese government and their desire to continue without any hiccups in its control. they are very aware of that. if you look at speeches and so on they are very aware this transition is a very difficult one. there is more uncertainty in the lives of migrant workers now in china than there has been in over 20 years since i first moved there. they are in many cases being strongly encourage you to leave the cities and go back to the villages for the countryside. the idea being they can reinvent themselves as small entrepreneurs. the push is to create sort of ecotourism because it's a beautiful relatively untouched by industry province and so they're hoping that these migrants can go back and create
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little beds and practices in their village and attract urban people with money to come vacation. everyone is trying to do that. there's way too much supply of the small bed and breakfasts. there is a real insert about what happens next. the other big employment path forward at least in the government perspective is the service industry. we see a couple years ago there's more migrants working in the service industry than there are a manufacturing and construction, which is a big ship from before. the problem is, and more and more of these come most of these jobs of the migrants now doing a very low end and often maybe not even as good as the factory jobs. so the very common ones which is -- >> they gig economy. >> great reporting out of china recently including by npr about that. it's brutal jobs. they get find all the time for
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not delivering quickly similar to what happened in the united states actually. this is the main job the migrant workers are now doing as they leave the factory jobs, and that's a very, very difficult source of employment. >> so do you think there's any chance or possibly that they will be changes in the system? you outlined outline hs why it shouldn't be there, but do you think they might be? >> again, i think this is the time if there ever was one when the chinese government needs to reform the system. i shouldn't say they know that. they been talking at least since for the last seven years they have been talking about the need to reform the system specifically to bring more of real and migrant people into the consumer economy and tried to make this transition to much more domestic market driven economy. as a severely right now global trade frictions particularly with the u.s., with what
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happened with covid-19, china is very aware that it needs much more reliant on its own, spinning power of its own people. they need to make that move. they been talk about reforming the hukou for a very long time however. antedate what they've done has been not very ambitious at all. there had been piecemeal programs, pilot cities had been opened where -- >> many of them. >> typically these places are not necessarily those places that a strong local economies or might be attracted to the migrant workers. you see a situation where there sort of this chicken egg dilemma where they saviors of city that has a lackluster economy, maybe it is one of the so-called ghost cities where there's too much into residential apartments that haven't sold. this is the perfect place of a larger population influx.
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they opened that to hukou reform for the migrant workers but there's no jobs there and there's this idea some of the migrants will come in and i don't know how gathering of money to buy a local apartment and somehow find a job. that's not really how it works. many of the cities that are the most attractive, the big -- >> shanghai, beijing. >> they are physically driving out the migrant workers. one of the most common tactics is to shut down the small private schools that cater to the migrant children and then the parents don't have a place to put their children in school. both beijing and shanghai have tried to set growth, population growth targets which are reduction. they are trying to reduce the total number of people in those cities. the way they do it typically is to get rid of the migrant population. >> i remember at the time they used to sell those hukou on the black market and use very
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expensive. you had a beijing hukou invert you could sound like $100,000 or something at the time. i remember when i was researching my book about the one child policy and going to one of these like dating scenarios to seal people were doing it, and all the beijing guys would go in and like you know, i have beijing hukou therefore i'm so desirable. i'm pretty sure that's probably the case still, right? >> i think it is. my understanding is the market has been limited by xi jinping crackdown on corruption and the fact they are very serious now about actually reducing the number of people in some of these big cities. but yes, it was a vibrant market, very expensive to buy up hukou. a lot of college students that he come to places like beijing and shanghai but didn't have a job with the state enterprise and didn't have anyone to marry to get a hukou which typically
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the way to get an urban hukou would typically by the on the black market. >> this question came up about unemployment and whether or not jack ma has enabled, by enabling, jack mutters a fan of alibaba which is like a version of china's amazon plus supersize. so what extent is enable a lot of online shipping to roll parts. this question is, has that enabled any economic improvements or enabled probably migrants to stay with the rn decentralize the whole emphasis on beijing and shanghai? any thoughts on that one? >> first of all, the most notable thing that it's that his greatest industry of motorcycle, a delivery people which is a brutal brutal industry. they do earn money come sometimes it's comparable to what they earn in factories but it's a very, very brutal job to do. that's one thing it's done, it's
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created this enormous new ecosystem of delivery jobs. in the countryside there is a phenomenon which not only alibaba but the world bank has touted of the so-called -- villages, , the company that log to alibaba. >> sort of like ebay. >> yeah. what it has, it has allowed in many cases industry to go into the countryside and indeed in some cases migrant workers would have jobs working much closer to where they grew up in these little villages. they have gone there, however, for the obvious reason that costs are lower and regulatory issues, if they still exist they can be ignored. what i saw which is interesting in some of these villages which i spent some time in is on one hand yes, it is providing jobs in rural china for migrant
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workers, which is a good thing. on the other hand, i saw in some cases i return at some of these very questionable, i would call the sweatshop practices that i had written about in the late 90s and early 2000 in china which we saw sort of disappeared in places like -- or at least in those cases go away as wages went up, as a global sweatshop, anti-sweatshop lobby begin to put pressure on the big labels. some of the stuff started to disappear. we are seeing some of that reappear now where workers are not being paid according to the labor law and environmental regulations are being skirted in these taobao villages so it is really a mixed picture. >> is an interesting question from the audience. i'm not quite sure how you answer this one but but i we it at you. this is prompted by all the interest in what's going on in hong kong recently, particularly
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with the rest of some of the young labor activists, young activist, joshua wong and so many of the ones that if they just happen today or yesterday. this question is how much influence in the political economic landscape of china does these recent changes in the hong kong relationship with the prc have on this whole myth of chinese capitalism? >> first of all, i'm not sure this is the question but think an interesting point to make is that there's always been editing even amongst the chinese leadership is true that unrest in hong kong will seep into china and it would be an example for activists within china. i don't see that happening now. in most cases i think the chinese government has been quite successful in making it a very nationalistic issue. i think your average chinese in the mainland probably feels
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resentment towards the protesters in hong kong, and it also have been since a lot of misinformation about just tell violet the hong kong protesters are the chinese media has focused the state-controlled media presenting this picture of violent young people in hong kong that are wreaking chaos now in this beautiful coastal place that in china's mind of course belongs to china and chinese people's mine. i don't think that's happening. i do think the unrest in hong kong is tremendously, you know, tremendous source of worry for the communist party. i think their sovereignty above all is an issue that animates them going back to their history of almost becoming colonized 100 years ago. they talk about the century of national humiliation, back when
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they were almost colonized. so sovereignty, losing control of parts of china is huge issue. i think that quickly the decision to implement such a draconian national security law reflects that. i think the chinese leadership under xi jinping knew that the national security law would be, it might bring more hong kong people to the streets, that the would be a strong reaction globally including from the u.s., and china made the calculation that it was worth it because they're so concerned and so worried about losing control over this key part of china. they decided we would go and really heavy-handed and institute this new law. >> we had a really good chat about a lot of things which have been sort of bubbling under the surface of china for quite a while. you have been there for 20 years. you sort of see this whole art
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but one of these things have discussed is the thing that is basically shift our whole reality in the last year which is a pandemic, coronavirus? how was it is sort of us can she waited or change any of the things in your book -- accentuated -- >> no emma took of course is a pandemic mentioned. my book came out in the spring in march. i was in new york city. i saw my plans both activities unfortunately some of them canceled or delayed and had to leave new york early because there was the realization right then that actually this was a serious problem in europe as well. so know what my book the pandemic. i would argue that dean's idea with in my book, the challenges of inequality, the necessities try to move forward on reforming his policies, our only, are only more obvious in light of the pandemic. what we've seen so far in china if you look at the economy to
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date, during the first quarter of this year, negative growth, real hit to the chinese economy. we've seen in the second and third quarters a remarkable rebound, i think in the third quarter it was 4.9% gdp growth, and that is remarkable and admirable and, frankly, a credit to china's ability in controlling the virus. but if you look closely at the growth you will see that actually much of it is being driven by investment. it's very lopsided. if you look at consumer spending in china, it's been much more focused on or much more when you look at higher in goods in higher income people. you have seen a surge in sales of things like suvs and luxury handbags. all that is back in china. but if you look at actually sort of mass-market sales, , it's
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actually been quite lackluster and that is a reflection of the fact that a very large portion of the chinese people are if not out of work and many migrants are still out of work, are facing real questions about whether they're going to have a job in the following month. you see this lopsided recovery which i would argue is just yet another reason why china needs to reform these policies, the hukou policy up with a common and for we only have time for one last question unfortunately. this is been so great talking to you on this but this is a question that for which i'm trying to wrap in, asked my own interest and rounded off which there's a lot of people asking about the big question about which is still whether democracy will work for china and whether what chinese had seen with what's happened with the trump
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administration here has affected the u.s.-china relations and what this means for the future. i want to wrap this thing with my question, which is you spent 20 years in china reporting being on the ground there and coming up with all these great nuggets and stories which can only be done really when you are there, when you have been there. but, of course, this is really to the whole framing of the whole u.s.-china relations, there are very few respondents. china is kicking out many foreign correspondents. it's hard to operate as a foreign correspondent in china. you have seen over the years. i guess the question is what does this mean for the future? are we going to see a reset maybe with biden, with the biden administration? or other going to see a continued praying? what are some of these lessons learned? what is a future potentially,
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are we going to see more, less, you know, what do you think? >> on the question of the journalist issue, the journalist expulsion, one of the things i hope the biden administration does is back away from this tit-for-tat game that's been going on where china expels, or the yes expels some chinese journalists or limits their visa duration, declaring the chinese journalists as state media or state actors. then china responds by kicking at western journalist. this is very bad. it's key to have, both countries have chinese journalists no matter whether in some cases what the relationship might be with the party, and also have foreign journalists in china writing about china. i think that needs to happen. in terms of a possible reset, i
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do think that we are going to see some nice words on both sides. i think it's likely that the biden administration will take a much less sort of i would almost call aggressive approach that we've seen under the trump administration. i guess biden said yesterday in a "new york times" interview that he's not going to immediately lift the tariffs that trump has imposed but it wouldn't surprise me if those are downplayed or eventually lifted. some of the technology restrictions that haven't actually necessary been instituted anyway but the trump administration has announced a ban on tiktok, for example, which they keep giving them one more week. hasn't actually happen. it's even less likely that those bands will be carried out so that's all good i think. i do think, this is an important point in my mind, what we've seen an election in just one of these two capitals, right, it
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washington, and i think in beijing we have seen it made very clear that the leader in charge has no intention of going anywhere. even changed the constitution so there are no term limits so he can stay on for many, many years. he also, he still not, there's been no hint as to who the successors of xi jinping would be. typically at this point we would know. so he's not going anywhere. i think the ball if you will is just as much in beijing's court to try to improve the relationship. and so i expect where as we will see some improvements, i don't expect any sort of reset at all. i think the tensions between the two countries are still very much of their and don't see any evidence that they are going to go away. >> globally as well i do wonder as well like if the rest of the world is wondering, seeing china rising and seeing the u.s.,
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particularly having covid so forth, slowing down and his global leadership position. do you see the elections might have potentially change that, okay, biden is coming in? or do you think they look okay, xi jinping will be around for quite foreseeable future, what we've seen from the u.s. exercise in the moxley is not as strong as we think it is and is very volatile. who knows that trump will be back in 2024, with beijing as big brother. investment and following through and all these other things. what do you think of that whole thinking? >> there's some truth to that i guess, but i would also point out that china has the jews created ill will with the united states and the u.s. created ill will with china. there's a lot of ill will between a lot of different countries and the world and china. look at what's happening in australia which in effect china
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has threatened the trading relationship because of i guess initially because australia had the tenacity to ask for an independent investigation into the origin of covid-19. china in a very sort of ham-fisted way has threatened australian, threatened australia and certainly exports of wine and beef and barley and so on. i think right now all reports, the people of australia are very upset with china. you can extend that to india where we saw a bloody border clash. the list goes on. i do think one thing that might happen under biden, which is very good at anything is overdue, is sort of a restoration of some of our relationships with our allies, including in asia with japan and
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south korea, maybe get closer to some nontraditional allies like vietnam. that i think will put more pressure on china and it would work sort of a countertrend to what you mentioned, this idea that countries will say welcome xi jinping is not going away, we better get used to it and accept the relationship as it is. >> i wish we could have more time to chat on about all this pick this up in such a great conversation. it's been so good to see you again. i would want to thank you for giving us the time to have this great important conversation, and also want to tell members of the ideas to please purchase this book, "the myth of chinese capitalism" wherever books are sold. the club will soon be posting this video along on his website so that www.commonwealthclub.or so thank you, guys very much for this very stimulating conversation that we've had and
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best of luck. it's always great to see you. take care. >> my pleasure. thanks so much. ♪ >> you are watching booktv on c-span2, every weekend with the latest nonfiction books and authors. booktv on c-span2 created by america's cable-television companies. today we're brought to you by these television companies who provide booktv to viewers as a public service. >> during our weekly interview program at words lou dobbs offers his thoughts on president trump's impact on american politics and made the case for his reelection. here's a portion of the discussion. >> if i am donald trump in the white house, all bets are off. there is no way that anyone should dismiss what is happening in the party of hate, the democrat party.
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as simply rhetoric, and simply a political squabble. this is a battle for the soul of the nation. it is a battle for the direction of the nation and indeed for whom we will be as a people. and i don't mean that to be melodramatic in any way. it's just the fact. you talk about southern puerto rico and d.c. are states. that changes in the arctic that changes what we are. because that means within the democratic party has sufficient power to pack that court, to insist upon -- myers will simply go to totalitarian because that is what the left wants. they don't want to be bothered by little things like a law or
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the constitution or history or heritage or consistent and constant virtuous values. the idea that a political party can threaten death and destruction on the streets of american still be regarded as a political party, to me it's nauseating to see what the democratic party has become. now, my colleagues in media belt for the most part care to talk that directly about it but i do because i believe that's exactly what we are staring at, and it's a very ugly face indeed in american politics right now. they are tough that we're going to have to make over the next several years and were going to need a tough leader.
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this president has proved he's tough, he struck him he smart as hell. by the way, they never want to acknowledge how smart donald trump is. they always say he's got great instincts. i love that idea. he's a great judgment come he's a great leader. he smart and he cares about this country. >> to watch the rest of this program visit our website click on the afterwards tab to find lou dobbs interview and all previous episodes of the program. >> here are some of the current selling nonfiction books according to the "washington post."
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>> some of these authors have appeared on booktv and you could watch their programs online at >> welcome to the free library of philadelphia for a special program celebrating the new release of the book "in search of the color purple: the story of an american masterpiece." with author salamishah tillet in conversation with errin haines. a founding member and editor at large at the 19th news, a new nonprofit newsroom focus on women, politics and policy. i am paul farber, director of monument lab, unlike many of you i am a great admirer of salamishah tillet prose, critical writing and activism.


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