It’s a question no one is even asking.
Could Xi Jinping fall from power?
There is no evidence for this. He is in his third term as China’s President, and increasingly acts like Vladimir Putin. He’s committing genocide in Xinjiang, he has destroyed Hong Kong’s economy, and he is threatening to invade Taiwan. He has absolute impunity. He is the world’s strongest dictator.
But how secure is he?
Unlike every other dictator on this planet, Xi Jinping presides over a complex, post-industrial economy. As I’ve been writing for decades, such an economy relies on highly trained, educated, and motivated people. The secret to America’s success lies in our ability to create, encourage, and (when necessary) import such people. (I know Trumpism threatens all this, but that’s another story for another time.)
China is lacking. It exports more talent than it imports. It demands everyone toe the line, that no one dare question the regime. How motivating is that?
China’s “economic miracle” is now over. It’s experiencing the same growth problems this country has lived with for 50 years. The difference is that, thanks to Moore’s Law, we’ve solved them.
“This is the most prosperous nation on the planet…with the best military, the best economy,” says JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. He's right.
Things could be better, if Russia weren’t trying to destroy the world and China weren’t trying to take advantage, America would grow even faster. The only thing slowing the advance of Earth against climate change is tyranny. Xi Jinping is the world’s number one tyrant. (Putin is only the most aggressive one.)
Xi’s policies are now coming home to roost. Manufacturing is slowing. The basic contract of Deng Xiaopeng, that the people would trade liberty for prosperity, is being broken. Easing social controls would help. But that means expanding liberty. Xi’s answer to declining growth is to push young people back into rural life. That’s insane.
With the real estate market falling, and GDP per capita stalling, how long will the party cadre keep silent? Xi has silenced all critics, but criticism always exists. If the economy does roll over, that disquiet will grow.
Anyone who thinks Xi Jinping is sleeping easy these days has it wrong. The man has taken to wearing Mao suits and it suits him. Mao Zedong destroyed his national economy, multiple times. I don’t think the Chinese people are willing to go through it for Xi, even once.
No Chinese could get away with saying that, nor even a Chinese American. But I’m not Chinese. I’m free.
That’s China’s economic problem in a nutshell.