Despite the brutality, an emerging group of motivated, creative people is demanding political liberalization. Economist Mao Yushi thinks so. Mao told the AP "Previously, private entrepreneurs tried to keep a distance from politics because the safety of their business depends on the government." However, Mao added, today's entrepreneurs know "the safety of private enterprises depends on rule of law, so more and more private entrepreneurs pay attention to political reform."
1968: Mao Zedong, his Little Red Book and his utterly destructive Cultural Revolution ruined the country in the name of utopian Communist justice. 2013: Mao Yushi says China's entrepreneurs need the rule of law, meaning democratically legislated, legally binding and fairly (non-politically) enforced law -- real justice, not utopian schemes.
Activist Wang Ying, a 6o-year-old grandmother who once ran a private equity firm, told the AP China's political class had a galling attitude. "You can make money because I allow you to. They say, 'you think the money is yours, but actually, I'm just leaving it with you. I can take it back at any time, in any way.'" Shades of the divine right of kings? Matthew Mitchell's "The Pathology of Privilege" nails these characters.
The article described other examples of theft of property and wealth by government officials using state political, police and economic instruments. It also surveyed attempts by entrepreneurs to organize the fight for individual rights. Wang said she knows she confronts great personal risks, but her "have to" moment, to organize and act, has come.
China's entrepreneurs face a long, tough fight for liberty. However, their economic success is verifiable, and now they are politically visible. China's entrepreneurs may well be part of an emerging global phenomenon. Facts are stubborn things, and economic facts are defiantly stubborn. Today, anyone so inclined can determine which political environments protect and reward economic creativity. In other words, polities that advocate and sustain free enterprise and entrepreneurial liberty. Anger at political economic favoritism and political theft of wealth also simmers in Africa, throughout Asia, South America and, yes, in America as well.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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