Sunday, October 07, 2007

China's State Capitalism

How does this help the people?

The People's Republic of China has recently announced its new sovereign investment fund of $300 billion. Because the government holds down the value of the local currency, the yuan, it accumulates hard currency reserves in the government-owned central bank. The government is now to invest some of these funds in the decidely un-communist international equity markets, their first investment being the high-flying and uber-capitalist Blackstone, a private equity group, eg one decidely not available to the people.

Of course if the government of China really wanted to help the people in this ostensibly people's republic, it would allow the market to set the price of the people's money so that the people's money would be worth more so that the people would be able to buy more. Instead, now, with the money buying less than the market value, only some of the people benefit (those who sell goods abroad and those who control the reserves at the central bank, and, now, those who control the state investment fund). At least under idealist communism the idea was to help the peasant. Now of course the reality is far, very very far, from this ideal.

Remarkably enough this huge China fund is only in the top five of state-owned funds, with the United Arab Emirates being the largest. There is indeed alot of money out there.