The founder of this chic Chinese restaurant chain in China has fled to an undisclosed location. Photo by Foodnut.
I don't cover China much, but some of the springs and dynamics that are true of all the communist regimes apply here, too, of course.
One of the memes I constantly object to is the notion that China is organizing its economic reform from the top down, "perestroika-style," while avoiding the messiness of Gorbachev's other program, "glasnost," which only brought down the whole system. For one, I don't think you can have one without the other, and for two, there is nothing wrong with bringing down the system -- and then people in fact don't realize that you really haven't done that anyway in these cases (see Russia, Ukraine).
One thing to take a close look at is how communism, or "state capitalism" as the Trotskyists like to call it, really works.
And I think that one thing we conclude from "really-existing socialism" is that it is, well, corrupt. I submit that this is a natural outcome of not only the communist ideology, but the socialist ideology.
In any event, "Life itself shows us," as Gorbachev himself use to say, that the corruption that develops inevitably even under "reform communism" in fact is responsible for the seeming "successes" of that "perestroika model".
Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the whole Bo Xilai case and all its works.
But today there was a particularly stark admission of this: 60% of the Chinese economy comes from a relative handful of rich families who are starting to flee the country.
You've heard of countries where half the GDP is made up of remittances -- here's a country, nominally communist with a controlled economy, where in fact more than half of the GDP is made up of rich families behaving like capitalists -- well, capitalists with the special privileges that communist systems with their nomenklatura lists give them -- you know, oligarchs. Oligarchy is merely another phase of communism.
"The private economy contributes more than 60 percent of China's GDP and it absorbs a majority of employees. So if private business owners emigrate with their capital, it would mean less investment in the domestic market, so fewer jobs would be created," Wang Huiyao, director of the Center for China and Globalization, told the state-run China Daily today.
The fleeing millionaires mainly made their money in real estate, foreign currency and deposits and stocks, among other fields, according to the report. They are mainly leaving Beijing, Shanghai and coastal provinces such as Zhejiang, Guangdong and Jiangsu. (Read more: BRICs Outpace U.S. in Millionaires)
So when China natters on about socialist or communism or human development or whatever it natters about at the UN, it's helpful to recall all this about their actual GDP's actual source, and where it is headed.