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‘Made in China’ growth model is a factory of tears


‘Made in China’ growth model is a factory of tears

Thuli would have Cyril look to China for guidance on building the economy, which is fine if you don’t value freedom


From the oak tree-lined avenues of Stellenbosch comes advice to President Cyril Ramaphosa on what to say, or not, when he addresses us next week in his annual state of the nation ritual. Don’t bother to promise millions of jobs, concentrate on providing work instead, says former public protector Thuli Madonsela, the law trust chair in social justice at the University of Stellenbosch. She urges Ramaphosa, “when it comes to a business literacy grounding for government, let’s look to China for guidance”. She adds, though, that “you don’t need to govern like China’’. 

Not entirely bad advice, really, but the problem is you can’t have China’s record-busting economy without having its rotten form of government and social control too. It is a success that is built on the broken backs of millions. 

Too often lost in the ideologically-inspired wonder at China’s dizzying growth rates is any regard for the freedom and liberty of the unsung minions who labour there somewhere on the spectrum between full humanity and something far less than that, a being that works, but dares not think for itself. You would wonder at the casualness at which the greatest human achievements, democracy and the enshrinement of individual rights, would be so carelessly bartered for a trinket called growth. ..

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