Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Umm, Yeah, About that Awesome Chinese Industrial Policy

Many misguided souls on both the left and the right (although moreso on the left) look at China's impressive economic growth and openly yearn for the US government to adopt a China-esque industrial policy.  Smart guys like Dan Ikenson and Jonah Goldberg routinely discredit the industrial policy dreamers by pointing out the myriad economic and moral failings of a command economy like China's (or of similar industrial policy experiments here at home).  However, I'm not sure that I've ever seen or read anything that better elucidates the problems of top-down industrial planning than this relatively new video on China's "ghost cities."  It's a little long, but well worth your time:

There are so many fantastic lines and scenes in this piece that I don't even know where to begin. (I especially liked the veiled shot at the New York Times' braintrust for so openly praising China's super-awesome - and now empty and decaying - Mall of the Future.)   Indeed, I think you could write an entire masters thesis on how perfectly this one little video reveals the economic and moral failings of Keynesianism central planning.  For now, however, I'll just posit a simple question: after watching this video, how can anyone - anyone! - seriously advocate copying China's state-run approach to economic policy?


Anonymous said...

I saw much of the same in my most recent trip (documented here: http://danxherman.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/china-three-things/ )

That said, what does this have to do with Keynes?

Scott Lincicome said...

Thanks, Dan. I admittedly muddled the penultimate sentence. That said, most Keynesian-inspired stimulus, especially things like federal infrastructure spending (the original impetus for my post), requires ample central planning, which inevitably results in capital/resource misallocation (although perhaps not to the extent above!). I skipped a lot of steps in the post and fudged the ending. Not really my best work. Ah, well. Old post.

But what do you expect for free blogging? :-)