America Is Sliding Toward Chinese-Style Capitalism

In the name of national security, politics take priority over profits

The problem, as both the TikTok and U.S. Steel affairs show, is that the national interest is constantly being redefined to fit the political priorities of the day.

While the U.S. has never been a laissez-faire paradise, more than other countries it believed in free-market capitalism and let efficiency and profits determine the allocation of capital.

Neither Donald Trump nor President Biden believe in that.

China’s Ministry of Commerce demanded, according to Xinhua, that the U.S. “earnestly respect the market economy and the principle of fair competition, and provide an open, fair, just and nondiscriminatory environment for enterprises from all countries.”

Either irony is dead, or the Chinese Communist Party has a subversive sense of humor. 

Its entire economic model revolves around selectively flouting principles of the market economy and fair competition, including by systematically discriminating against foreign enterprises. 

China’s state capitalism has so effectively tilted the international playing field in its own favor that it has forced others, including the U.S., to adopt their own versions of state capitalism.

Trump was an early convert to state capitalism, albeit a somewhat personal, ad hoc kind. 

Greg Ip Wall Street Journal 21 March 2024


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