China's Crisis of Success

Colloquium: Center for Chinese Studies | October 5 | 4-6 p.m. | UC Berkeley Extension (Golden Bear Center), IEAS Conference Room (510A)

 William H. Overholt, Senior Research Fellow, Harvard University

 Thomas Gold, Professor, Sociology, UC Berkeley

 Center for Chinese Studies (CCS)

In his new book, China's Crisis of Success, William Overholt shows that China's rise has reached a threshold where success has eliminated the conditions that enabled miraculous growth. Continued success requires re-invention of its economy and politics. The old economic strategy based on exports and infrastructure now piles up debt without producing sustainable economic growth, and Chinese society now resists the disruptive change that enabled earlier reforms. While China's leadership has produced a strategy for successful economic transition, it is struggling to manage the politics of implementing that strategy. After analyzing the economics of growth, Overholt explores critical social issues of the transition, notably inequality, corruption, environmental degradation, and globalization. He argues that Xi Jinping is pursuing the riskiest political strategy of any important national leader. Alternative outcomes include continued impressive growth and political stability, stagnation, and a major political-economic crisis.