Wealth and Power
Orville Schell and John Delury
Given its rocket rise over the last few decades to the status of economic powerhouse, it’s not surprising that there have been a spate of books seeking to explain the “Chinese miracle” to Western readers. Wealth and Power is one of the best, examining the last two hundred years of China’s history by way of pocket bios of its most prominent political leaders and public intellectuals, foremost among them being Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. Central to the story is the current trade-off between prosperity and political freedom, the so-called “Beijing consensus.” Remarkably successful so far, it’s hard to see the party (or the Party) lasting long when the music stops. Then will come a global reckoning.