The Writing on the Wall
IN THIS SUMMARY
In The Writing on the Wall, Will Hutton traces the historic development of China’s economy from the Imperial Dynasties to the current “socialist market” economy. The question of whether China can become a great economic power without democracy and genuine capitalism is examined in detail. Hutton also ponders whether the West, particularly the U.S., will be wise enough to continue its free market policies with China.
China can dominate the twenty first century if it embraces the economic and political pluralism of the West. This pluralism is defined to include the rule of law, independent legal institutions, a free press, independent scientific research, and representative government. China currently lacks these ideals and institutions, which will make the country’s current economic and political models unsustainable. Hutton argues it is imperative for the West to continue to engage China in international trade and idea exchange and believes the world’s future specifically hangs on whether China and the U.S. can resist the temptations of rivalry and find constructive ways to conduct business with each other.