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Red Capitalism: The Fragile Financial Foundation of China's Extraordinary Rise

3.91  ·  Rating Details  ·  245 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Carl Walter and Fraser Howie go deep into the Chinese financial machine to illuminate the social and political consequences of China's unique business model and pose the question whether it has, in fact, lived up to all the hype surrounding it and whether, after all, the 21st century really will be China's century.
Hardcover, 234 pages
Published February 15th 2011 by John Wiley & Sons (first published November 22nd 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 875)
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Apr 06, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
I am endlessly fascinated by the paradox of China: the world’s most successful capitalist economy is run by communists! This book goes behind the basic numbers like GDP and FDI in order to explain China’s unique financial system. As macroeconomists have sheepishly admitted since 2008, it turns out that banking is actually crucial to national economies and should be included in their models. My overall conclusion from this book was that, like Russia, China is essentially a kleptocratic oligarchy. ...more
China is a long way from the days where there was only one bank (a minor sub-ministry of Mao's government apparatus) and the foreign currency reserves totaled some $38,000. Their economic rise, which seemed miraculous, is now thought of as inevitable, and one where the West and America have nothing but a diminished role to play.

The continued rise, aruges the authors, is a paper tiger. A correction to the cycle may yet come sooner than we think.

It's terribly difficult to make financial terminolog
Jul 18, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
It is difficult to overestimate the power of financial theory as a social ideology. This book is a demonstration of that remarkable power in the most unlikely political environment: China. Walter and Howie unravel the apparent mystery of how a Communist, indeed a Maoist, state has transformed itself into a capitalist society in the course of a single generation. Neither Lenin nor Mao conceived of any such evolution.

So where did the Chinese programme originate and what is the intellectual framew
Alexander Wj
Apr 12, 2011 Alexander Wj rated it really liked it
I think this was a good book with many interesting insights into the real forces behind China's financial veil. I say "think" because following Wiley standard, this book is written in incredibly dry language and filled with statistics and intricate details. I read it for fun and so didn't pay too much attention to specifics. The title is definitely much more eye-catching than the content as it closer qualifies as a historical account of post-Mao Chinese economics and never explicitly says its fr ...more
Jul 27, 2012 Adrian rated it it was amazing
Red Capitalism dispels the commonly held view that China has been on a non-stop period of economic growth since the 1980s, and it's system is insulated from the mistakes, and runaway capitalism that brought about the crash of 2008.
Rather, China seems to retain the worst of both worlds, with local debt spiraling out of control from 2008's stimulus packages, and a banking sector that stands as a potent case against state owned banks.
Lending is increasingly politicized in China, with the government
Feb 08, 2014 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
"Red Capitalism" 2nd edition in 2012 covers up to 2011 the various financial institutions and Communist Party reforms and development that have transformed China economically. It is worth reading to get an understanding and insight on the history and legacy of China's path to its red capitalism status as of 2011, prior to catching up what China's capital market is nowadays.

The book first reveals how reforms have happened in the banking, which started out in 1978 after the Cultural Revolution bas
Aug 25, 2011 Matthew rated it really liked it
Red Capitalism is excellent for understanding the political and institutional history behind China's financial system. The main thesis, which is emphasized throughout by scoping in on specific parts of the system -- bank reform, A-share markets, bond markets, PBOC vs MOF relations -- is that China's capital markets are no more than shallow trappings designed to look like Western financial systems and that the older political arrangements still dominate the allocation of capital.

The authors do b
Ian Colby
Nov 03, 2015 Ian Colby rated it it was ok
Update: Read this review instead, and you'll get in one article what was so damn hard to read in 240 pages:

I don't know who this was written for, but it sure as hell wasn't me. The book was so chock full of acronyms, abbreviations, and institutions that it was hard to believe it was still English. The authors both take on a parochial "China would be nowhere without Wall Street" tone that I found both boring and distasteful.

An example of a tedious passag
Feb 23, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing
The author has written an excellent book on the Chinese economy. Indeed, China has always been governed this way: a strong central government and weaker local government. The power struggle between different fractions has been there since the Zhou dynasty 5000 years ago! Having lived in China for a long time, the author really understands how the Chinese State control the banks, the industries, the bonds, the stock market. In other words, everything.

2 things stand out: 1. Wall Street helped Chi
Jul 29, 2014 Alberto rated it really liked it
3 or 4 stars

Does a good job of explaining China's unique blend of capitalist mechanisms and state planning. Ultimately you come away with the understanding that, since the state controls all the major enterprises, the entire structure of assets and liabilities ultimately all cancel each other out.

The book does have several flaws though:
1) it assumes a solid understanding of Chinese politics - it was like reading a book on Federal Reserve policy without understanding what the President or Congres
To understand the Chinese economy, you must understand its banks, which stand behind everything. This groundbreaking contrarian book peels back this rather large onion, recounting the lively history of China's financial markets (do GITIC, the Great Hainan Real Estate Bust, Shandong Power, and the SDB dividend announcement ring a bell?); explaining how China finances itself; emphasizing the periodic & massive recapitalizations inherent in the Chinese bank business model; and illuminating the ...more
May 25, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing
An insightful look into a financial system based on gross misallocation of capital and corruption.
Mar 20, 2012 Abi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Contains lot of minor errors. Abbreviations are excessively used everywhere. But if you get past the editorial shortcomings, it's a truly fascinating account of some of the most complex financial transactions carried out in the history of the world. I found the book quite comprehensible even though it is pretty technical. If you have a basic understanding of financial markets i.e. can watch CNBC and understand most of what they're saying, understanding most of the transactions described here sho ...more
Frank Stein
Jan 09, 2012 Frank Stein rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An unprecedented and amazing look at the inner workings of the once impenetrable Communist financial system. As might be expected, however, the authors did not get any exclusive access to the Politburo or leaders of the big banks. What they did get was perhaps more impressive. They assembled and analyzed all the publicly available information in state magazines, statistical reports, and accounting releases of publicly listed companies to prove that the whole Chinese system is rigged for the excl ...more
Andy Rapt
Jun 28, 2014 Andy Rapt rated it liked it
Very interesting book about the Chinese financial system. The language may be hard for the casual reader but there is lots of crucial information for those who are interested in China. Just skip the boring parts!
Tracey Kreps
Apr 27, 2014 Tracey Kreps rated it it was amazing
I cannot share enough praise for the presentation of this book. Even if an investor is bullish on China and Southeast Asia the framework and history described in this book should be required reading of investors.
Ramie Jacobson
very dense book, felt like I needed a masters, but it was informative. didn't actually finish but I don't plan to either.
Jun 19, 2011 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
Red Capitalism is a complete, objective, and data-driven look at the forces behind China's meteoric rise over the past three decades. Indulging in neither cynical nay-saying nor worship at the altar of China Inc, authors Carl Walter and Fraser Howie first deconstruct the legitimate successes achieved by 'the Party', then weigh the hidden costs and long-term consequences. A highly informative read littered with facts and figures, Red Capitalism suffers only by being so technical that at times it ...more
Oct 18, 2012 Scott rated it liked it
It's good, it really is. It's an absolute data fest and the authors go to great lengths to ensure that their ideas are backed up by real, hard numbers. But from the get-go there seems to be a pressing desire to find some massive skeleton in China's fiscal closet and I really wish there were some opposing positions mixed in here, if only to help find context for those too ignorant to find and interpret their own international financial data.
Robert C
Aug 18, 2013 Robert C rated it liked it
It was a very good look at the complex banking system in China. It also helps explain the source of a lot of my banking frustration, as an ex-pat in China. However, it is not a good book to read in e-book format. It really needs to be a textbook in a class.
May 27, 2012 Luaba rated it really liked it
Shelves: economy
A detailed look at the workings of the Chinese financial and economic policies structure. A great read for technocrats, rich in acronyms and graphics. It's also a really good guide for emerging market policy makers to adapt, avoid and improve on.
Oct 16, 2015 Zzz added it
Shelves: money
This was a very useful look into the financial/banking system in China....with all of its weaknesses. Dry at times and never exciting but a very enlightening read.
Aug 25, 2011 Dave rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance
Not the best written book but the content is very interesting and worth the read if you want to better understand the Chinese financial system.
Sep 13, 2012 Mitch rated it it was amazing
Extremely informative. My favorite line, "The emperor is naked, but he's still the emperor."
Feb 08, 2012 dersteppenwolf rated it liked it
Probablemente este libro lo disfruten mas los economistas
Feb 08, 2012 Bryce rated it really liked it
Worth the slog through all the acronyms.
Jul 10, 2012 Natasha rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read!
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