The Myth of Chinese Capitalism (Hardcover)
The Worker, the Factory, and the Future of the World
St. Martin's Press, 9781250089373, 288pp.
Publication Date: March 10, 2020
The untold story of how restrictive policies are preventing China from becoming the world’s largest economy
Dexter Roberts lived in Beijing for two decades working as a reporter on economics, business and politics for Bloomberg Businessweek. In The Myth of Chinese Capitalism, Roberts explores the reality behind today’s financially-ascendant China and pulls the curtain back on how the Chinese manufacturing machine is actually powered.
He focuses on two places: the village of Binghuacun in the province of Guizhou, one of China’s poorest regions that sends the highest proportion of its youth away to become migrants; and Dongguan, China’s most infamous factory town located in Guangdong, home to both the largest number of migrant workers and the country’s biggest manufacturing base.
Within these two towns and the people that move between them, Roberts focuses on the story of the Mo family, former farmers-turned-migrant-workers who are struggling to make a living in a fast-changing country that relegates one-half of its people to second-class status via household registration, land tenure policies and inequality in education and health care systems.
In The Myth of Chinese Capitalism, Dexter Roberts brings to life the problems that China and its people face today as they attempt to overcome a divisive system that poses a serious challenge to the country’s future development. In so doing, Roberts paints a boot-on-the-ground cautionary picture of China for a world now held in its financial thrall.
About the Author
Praise For The Myth of Chinese Capitalism: The Worker, the Factory, and the Future of the World…
"Roberts has given a well-sourced, thoughtfully reasoned, and cogently-written narrative of the largest migration in human history, as peasants from the countryside moved into cities to fuel the past several decades of China’s 'economic miracle.' But now that trade wars are raging and growth rates are slowing, many of these same rural workers are retreating home again. Roberts helps us understand why this could be an even more disruptive tipping point moment not only for China, but the global economy."
—Orville Schell, Arthur Ross Director, Center on US-China Relations and co-author of Wealth and Power: China’s Long March to the 21st Century
"Dexter Roberts gives a sophisticated and readable take of China's triumphs and crises. He introduces us to global CEOs and takes us on tours of China's sprawling factory floors, but is most at home in the China's left-behind countryside. There, Roberts' decades-long contact with farmers and ex-factory workers shows systemic problems that could prevent China from becoming a wealthy country. A first-hand witness to China's transformation over the past quarter century, Roberts credibly challenges the myth of China's inevitable rise and global dominance."
—Ian Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Beijing-based correspondent
“Ever bought a made-in-China handbag at Walmart and wondered who made it? It’s possibly someone whose experience is similar to the people Dexter Roberts writes about so vividly in this smart and compelling book, workers who struggle to make a living and face deep discrimination in China’s cities. A potent mix of personal stories and deft analysis, The Myth of Chinese Capitalism takes a hard look at China’s migrants and rural people – together one-half the country’s population - who fueled their country’s manufacturing boom, but for whom the China dream remains elusive.”
—Mei Fong, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment
“Anybody doing business in China should read this book . . . . By taking us from impoverished villages to factory floors and into the lives of unsettled migrant workers and overwrought bureaucrats who struggle to meet the goals of Party leaders, Roberts lays out why the assumption of an ever-larger China market is uncertain, with implications for multinationals everywhere.”
—James McGregor, author of One Billion Customers: Lessons From the Front Lines of Doing Business in China