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Americans draw the wrong lesson from China’s success


Nov 4, 2011

Americans draw the wrong lesson from China’s success​

From Willem Thorbecke, Senior Fellow, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, Tokyo, Japan

March. 31 2023

Professor Louis Brennan notes that the rise of China has caused the US to adopt big state dirigisme (“China is the real driver for west’s embrace of dirigisme”, Letters, March 18).

While it is commendable to learn from China’s successes, American policymakers are drawing the wrong lessons.

China has superb highways, ports, airports and other infrastructure. It ranked first in the OECD’s benchmark Pisa scores for educational attainment in maths, science and reading.

It has a hard-working and productive workforce. America, by contrast, received a grade of C minus for its infrastructure from the American Society of Civil Engineers, ranked 22nd in the Pisa tests, and has trouble finding workers with the requisite skills. To grow like China, the US should focus on areas such as infrastructure, educational attainment and labour productivity.


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