December 14, 2016

Why is obvious crony statism referred to as crony capitalism?

Sir, I refer to Martin Wolf’s “Why Xi cannot succeed with his reforms” December 14.

In it, Wolf quotes the following from Minxin Pei’s “China’s Crony Capitalism”: “The emergence and entrenchment of crony capitalism in China’s political economy, in retrospect, is the logical outcome of Deng Xiaoping’s authoritarian model of economic modernisation… because elites in control of unconstrained power cannot resist using it to loot the wealth generated by economic growth.”

But “Capitalism” (at least according to Wikipedia), “is an economic system based on private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system, and competitive markets. In a capitalist market economy, decision-making and investment is determined by the owners of the factors of production in financial and capital markets, and prices and the distribution of goods are mainly determined by competition in the market.”

Sir, so why does it refer to “crony capitalism” when it is clearly much more a case of “crony statism”? Could it be that the “unconstrained power of the elites” also cover the terminology we are to use? Like for instance when references are made to our economies being under the yoke of “neo-liberalism”, all while bank regulators gladly risk-weigh Sovereigns with 0%, and We the People with 100%. Or like when intrusive and complex bank regulations are mentioned to have happened in a period of "deregulation".