The Economist Magazine 2nd July 2021. The Economist was established in 1843 by James Wilson, a hatmaker from the small Scottish town of Hawick, to campaign against the protectionist Corn Laws. The tariffs were repealed in 1846 but the newspaper lived on as “a political, literary, and general newspaper”, never abandoning its belief in free trade, internationalism and minimum interference by government, especially in the affairs of the market. (It did, however, abandon the Oxford comma.) The Corn Laws, which by taxing and restricting imports of grain made bread expensive and starvation common, were bad for Britain. Free trade, in Wilson’s view, was good for everyone. Wilson believed “that reason is given to us to sit in judgment over the dictates of our feelings.” Reason convinced him in particular that Adam Smith was right, and that through its invisible hand the market benefited profit-seeking individuals and society alike. The Economist Magazine 2nd July 2021.
On July 1st China’s Communist Party will celebrate its 100th birthday. It has always called itself “great, glorious and correct”. And as it starts its second century, the party has good cause to brag. Not only has it survived far longer than its many critics predicted; it also appears to be on the up. When the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, man y pundits thought that the other gre at communist power would be next. To see how wrong they were, consider that President Joe Biden, at a summit on June 13th, felt the need to declare not only that America was at odds with China, but also that much of the world doubted “whether or not democracies can compete”.
One party has ruled China for 72 ye ars, without a mandate from voters. That is not a world record. Lenin and his dismal heirs held power in Moscow for slightly longer, as has the Workers’ Party in North Korea. But no other dictatorship has been able to transform itself from a famine racked disaster, as China was under Mao Zedong, into the world’ s second largest economy, whose cutting edge technology and infrastructure put America’s creaking roads and railways to shame. China’s Communists are the world’s most successful authoritarians.