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Communist China’s Capitalism
Kenneth Austin, World Economics, March 2011
This article explains the contemporary Chinese–American economic relationship as an ironic variant of the classical theory of capitalist imperialism. Communist China is the modern world’s great imperial power (exporter of surplus savings). China exports its savings by undervaluing its own currency and acquiring foreign exchange reserves. As the supplier of foreign exchange reserves, the United States is not merely the colony, but the crown jewel of China’s empire. It absorbs China’s savings and consumes the corresponding surplus Chinese goods. However, unlike the old imperialist system, this relationship can be ended without military rebellion. The US, by controlling access to its financial markets, owns the ‘off switch’ for the Chinese export machine.

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