Guest post by Joe Hoft
When Deng Xiaoping took over China in the late 1970’s, China was a very poor country. One of the first things that Deng did was to allow individuals to acquire and maintain property. This capitalistic approach started one of the greatest economic transformations in world history. More people in China have been lifted from poverty in a shorter span of time than ever before in human history. Half a billion Chinese citizens have risen out of poverty due to China’s economic swing to capitalist policies!
China still has its problems, but while the US is moving more and more towards a welfare state, China is moving more and more towards prosperity. Deng (Xiaoping) rejected any possibility of importing the welfare state into China. He insisted that the enhancement of welfare should be coordinated with the development of production. Other Chinese leaders have reiterated Deng’s approach. Today China’s welfare spending is low but it is increasing.
According to the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of the People’s Republic of China, the total amount of outflows for China’s social programs in 2011 was $287 billion USD. On the other side of the Pacific, the US spent somewhere between $1.7 and $2.1 trillion USD in 2011 on health, welfare and pension (old age) benefits.
When comparing the US numbers to China’s the results are very clear. The US spent nearly seven times as much on social programs in 2011 than China. According to the World Atlas as of 2010, China had a population of 1.3 billion people and the US had a population of 310 million. Based on these numbers, China had more than four times the number of people living within its borders than did the US in 2010. The result of this comparison is to point out that the US conservatively paid 30 times more per capita to its citizens in the form of social benefits than did the socialist country China in 2011.
When we think of an example of a socialist country we probably think of China based upon its recent history with communism and when we think of a capitalist country the US is probably the first country that comes to mind. However, if the definition of a socialist country is primarily based upon the amount of dollars spent on social programs, then the US is clearly the socialist country and China is the capitalist country. Even if you do not agree with this, it is hard not to see that the line between what is a socialist country and what is a capitalistic country has become blurred.
Today communist China is becoming more capitalistic and the US is becoming more socialist. As a result, socialist China is becoming more prosperous and the US is approaching a fiscal cliff. Poverty is being reduced in China and poverty is on the rise in the US under Barack Obama.
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See more on the differences and similarities between US and China and solutions for the US from Asia Pacific in new book Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers. See also www.joehoft.com for information about the author and how to order your own copy of Falling Eagle – Rising Tigers.