Twofish's Blog

September 19, 2006

Arrggghhhh!!!! Financial Times article

Filed under: china — twofish @ 1:20 pm

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0bc62de4-4766-11db-83df-0000779e2340.html

The life of a newspaper reporter is very difficult in that you have to summarize very complex situations into a very short space, but sometimes they just get it wrong.  This FT piece is an example where the article is highly misleading.  It’s not what you don’t know that is a problem, it’s what you think you know that isn’t.  This article does the traditional shorthand by spliting people into reformers and anti-market hardliners, but that isn’t the split at all.  There aren’t two “teams” in the Chinese government.  There are about twenty teams each with their own agendas, and each with their particular approach to a specific issue.  What the constellation of forces are in each issue is different and complex.  But the FT article would have been much better if it just said that X met Y to talk about Z, without trying to summarize about what “team” they are on, because the way the article describing this gets you further from the complex situation on the ground rather than closer to it.

The issues of trade protectionism, foreign ownership of banks, rebalancing the economy, market mechanism for allocating resources, RMB appreciation are interrelated, but they are separate from each other, and where someone falls on this issue depends on a lot of complex factors and people don’t fall into two groups.

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