1. Michael Schuman:
China’s jobless college graduates have become an embarrassment to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The unemployment rate among the country’s youth has reached an all-time high, putting the country’s severe economic troubles on display at home and abroad. In August, Xi’s administration decided to act: Its statistics bureau stopped releasing the data.
But Xi can’t hide China’s economic woes—or hide from them. The problems are not just a post-pandemic malaise, or some soon-to-be-forgotten detour in China’s march to superpower stature. The vaunted China model—the mix of liberalization and state control that generated the country’s hypersonic growth—has entered its death throes.
The news should not come as a surprise. Economists and even Chinese policy makers have warned for years that the China model was fundamentally flawed and would inevitably break down. But Xi was too consumed with shoring up his own power to undertake the necessary reforms to fix it. Now the problems run so deep, and the repairs would be so costly, that the time for a turnaround may have passed.
Contrary to the assumptions of many commentators in recent years, China may never overtake the United States as the world’s dominant economy if current trends continue. In fact, it’s already falling behind.
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