This Week Was China Week
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Before we get to our Top 5, let’s take a quick look back at the week’s biggest theme. The headlines were dominated by the Trump-Kim summit, mega-mergers and a building-climbing raccoon. But always in the background was China – its growing power in the world and its increasingly confrontational relationship with the U.S. The week started with China being possibly the biggest winner of the Singapore summit and ended with President Donald Trump’s new Chinese tariffs.
Bloomberg Opinion had many, many China pieces this week (including two in the Top 5), all with “shelf life” – they’ll be informative and insightful long after this week’s other headlines fade:
- China’s new ideology is not your granddad’s communism. – Hal Brands
- China is building new global economic institutions to challenge the West’s. – Hal Brands
- What can the West do to counter China’s rise? – Hal Brands
- Trump’s G-7 tantrum only builds China’s influence. – Mihir Sharma
- Trump’s tariffs hit China at just the right moment to backfire on the U.S. – David Fickling
- The People’s Bank of China is torn between the needs to tighten credit and support growth. – Christopher Balding
- Coal’s still king in China, but alternatives are growing faster. – Liam Denning
- China’s next big innovation? A used-car market. – Adam Minter
- Wall Street will struggle to manage China’s money. – Nisha Gopalan
The Top Five
“Singapore is an especially wealthy nation, with a per capita income of about $90,000, well above that of the U.S. But how is this prosperity maintained, and why has Singapore commanded so much admiration from liberals and conservatives alike?
“Singapore has many features shared by other wealthy countries, such as a high capital stock, a predictable legal environment and a well-educated workforce, but what are some of the less common factors behind its success?
“Strikingly, Singapore is one of the few countries where there is brain drain into the public sector. This stems partly from the high salaries paid. Top bureaucrats typically receive more than their American equivalents, and cabinet level pay may exceed $800,000, with bonuses attached that can double that sum for excellent performance.
“Yet it’s not just about the money. Since independence in 1965, Singaporean leaders have cultivated an ethos of public service in the bureaucracy. The country moved from being relatively corrupt to having one of the best ratings on transparency indexes. There are now complex and overlapping incentives whereby top public sector workers are paid well, respected highly, and develop the personal networks for subsequent advancement in either the public or private sectors.
“I’ve met a number of times with Singaporean government officials, and I’ve always been impressed with their state-of-the-art social science knowledge. The participants typically have top educational backgrounds (doctorates from Harvard or Princeton are common, and now two of Singapore’s universities have achieved world class status). Their analysis is pragmatically geared toward finding the right answer or at least a workable solution.”
This is the Weekend Edition of Bloomberg Opinion Today, a roundup of the five most popular stories Bloomberg Opinion published this week, based on web readership, with some other stuff thrown in. New subscribers to the newsletter can sign up here.
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