In Line Behind a Billion People

This week on Sinica, Kaiser and Jeremy are joined by Damien Ma, author of In Line Behind a Billion People, a new book for China-watchers looking at how China’s lack of affordable housing, its food and air pollution, and the country’s poor education system, as well as its pervasive “moral scarcity” are going to affect global politics as well as China’s own further drive to modernization over the next twenty years.

For those who haven’t heard of our guest yet, Damien Ma is a Fellow at The Paulson Institute. He was previously a lead China analyst at the Eurasia Group, where he specialized in Chinese energy and commodities markets, industrial policy, China’s relations with America, as well as China’s social and Internet policies. Before joining the Eurasia Group, Ma managed publications for The US-China Business Council in Washington. He has written for The Atlantic Monthly online and has been published in a number of prominent journals including Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, Slate, and Foreign Policy.



In Line Behind a Billion People

Damien Ma, William Adams
Nearly everything you know about China is wrong! Yes, within a decade, China will have the world’s largest economy. But that is the least important thing to know about China. In this enlightening book, two of the world’s leading China experts turn the conventional wisdom on its head, showing why China’s economic growth will constrain rather than empower it. Pioneering political analyst Damien Ma and global economist Bill Adams reveal why, having thirty-five years of ferocious economic growth, China’s future will be shaped by the same fundamental reality that has shaped it for millennia: scarcity.{node, 4231}Ma and Adams drill deep into Chinese society, illuminating all the scarcities that will limit its power and progress. Beyond scarcities of natural resources and public goods, they illuminate China’s persistent poverties of individual freedoms, cultural appeal, and ideological legitimacy—and the corrosive loss of values and beliefs amongst a growing middle class shackled by a parochial and inflexible political system. Everyone knows “the 21st century is China’s to lose”—but, as with so many things that “everyone knows,” that’s just wrong. Ma and Adams get beyond cheerleading and fearmongering to tell the complex truth about China today. This is a truth you need to hear—whether you’re an investor, business decision-maker, policymaker, or citizen. —Pearson{chop}