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Ross: China is out to create capitalism without freedom

(Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

I am not a China expert, but I did travel there in 1984 for a series of broadcasts on the new flirtation with capitalism.

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And I remember an electronics factory – still using vacuum tubes – where I talked to workers who had been offered shares of stock for the first time. They were mystified by this thing called “stock.”

But even back then, it was clear what the Communist party was hoping to do: It was hoping to create capitalism without freedom.

I remember thinking it couldn’t possibly work. Capitalism needs creativity, and creativity needs American-style freedom to thrive. And China had too many people who grew up under communism, too scared to think for themselves.

Well, it turns out China had a plan for that: Just start assembling stuff for the West, and steal every idea you can, to buy enough time to educate a new generation of entrepreneurs and tech geniuses, with fewer inhibitions.

And as fate would have it, while China was pushing ahead, we pushed into Iraq and made the classic mistake of every empire — one war too far.

Columnist William Galston just wrote about this in the Wall Street Journal, his point being that while we continue to pay for two wars, here comes “China Incorporated,” out to prove you don’t have to be free to grow rich.

As President Trump famously said,“They’re eating our lunch.”

Except that now, it appears they have dinner reservations.

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