Pandering to Beijing has Shrinking Payback
Capitalists have a long and mixed history of pandering to dictatorial regimes. In “America Second: How America’s Elites Are Making China Stronger”, journalist-turned-China-risk-consultant Isaac Stone Fish catalogs those who kowtowed to Beijing, from erstwhile Disney Chief Executive Michael Eisner to former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
It’s fun to see the greedy and hypocritical named and shamed. However, the profit margin on pandering keeps shrinking.
Stone Fish believes politicians and executives misled American voters in their desire to tap China’s cheap labor force and vast market. “Corporations recognized they couldn’t argue that China was actually making progress on human rights,” he writes, so they insisted economic growth would fix the problem.
Instead, China’s opening up stopped far short of democracy, and President Xi Jinping’s rise sent it into reverse.
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