Book Review: ‘The New China Playbook’ by Keyu Jin

Decoding China's Economic Transformation

Book Title: The New China Playbook: Beyond Socialism and Capitalism
Author: Keyu Jin
Publisher: Swift Press
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 978-1800753846
Date Published: Jul. 20, 2023
Price: INR 1,237

The New China Playbook by Keyu Jin Book Cover

Book Review

Globalization necessitates staying informed about global issues, and understanding geopolitics is crucial. Land and geography impact politics and society, affecting borders, terrain, water access, and trade routes. Gaining a better understanding of geopolitics can provide a new perspective on modern issues. Engaging books on geopolitics can change the way we see the world, providing a new understanding of the world.

In this connection, “The New China Playbook,” author and economist Keyu Jin offers a compelling exploration of China’s economic transformation, challenging the Western perspectives shaped by news coverage and policy narratives. Born in China, educated in the U.S., and now a tenured professor at the London School of Economics, Jin brings a unique cross-cultural perspective to unravel the complexities of China’s economic success.

Jin begins by dismantling the stereotypical image of China presented in Western media, providing an insightful account of how China evolved from a predominantly state-owned economy to a thriving entrepreneurial powerhouse. Drawing on her fluency in both Eastern and Western cultures, Jin navigates the paradoxes and conundrums within China’s economic landscape, urging readers to understand its model, culture, and history in their true context.

The book is praised for its nuanced storytelling, acknowledging China’s faults and failings while avoiding ideological biases. Peter Coy of The New York Times commends Jin for offering a balanced narrative during a time of heightened tension between China and the United States. The Asian Review of Books applauds her for framing economic agents in a manner accessible to English-language readers, fostering informed and empathetic perspectives on China.

Jin’s insights extend beyond economics, touching on various aspects of Chinese culture, politics, and societal norms. From the impact of the one-child policy on household savings to the circular nature of Chinese reasoning, she provides a comprehensive view of the cultural underpinnings shaping China’s economic choices. The author’s journey, growing up in a China marked by rationed food and power outages, adds a human touch to her analysis. Critical acclaim for “The New China Playbook” comes from influential figures such as Tony Blair and Lawrence H. Summers, who recognized Jin’s brilliance in dissecting the implications of China’s rise in global politics and economics. Blair emphasizes the book’s importance in understanding the end of Western dominance, while Summers calls it a profound and essential view of China’s economic future.

Jin delves into the specifics of China’s economic landscape, exploring the roles of State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and private firms, the influence of local and federal governments, and the challenges posed by issues like corruption. She emphasizes China’s shift from manufacturing to innovation and technology, outlining the country’s efforts to balance market incentives with greater equality. While acknowledging China’s progress, Jin highlights challenges such as a slowing economy, the need for a more developed financial system, and the imperative of addressing income inequality. She foresees China becoming the world’s largest economy by 2030 if the rising middle class continues to grow and engage in consumerism.

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The New China Playbook” concludes with a reflection on the evolving dynamics of China’s interactions with the world. Jin stresses the importance of understanding China’s journey as part of an ongoing evolution, emphasizing the need to find a balance between growing wealth and maintaining social harmony. Overall, Keyu Jin’s book provides a comprehensive and insightful guide to China’s economic evolution, offering a fresh perspective that challenges conventional Western narratives. It is a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of China’s past, present, and potential future as a global economic powerhouse.

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