Imagine I wrote a lengthy essay, with lots of footnotes, numbers, and interesting historical anecdotes, about the German economy from, say, 1932 to 1945. In it I’d make the case that German economic policies alleviated German poverty and improved infrastructure—gotta love that Autobahn!—and I’d argue Germany’s enlightened corporatist approach to industrial policy ensured full employment and real wage growth.
It wouldn’t be hard to write such an essay. Such a case can be made, particularly if you’re not fastidious about cherry picking your data and examples.
Now imagine you wrote that whole essay without once mentioning the Holocaust, slave labor, or Nazi expansionism. Call me crazy, but you might be open to the charge of missing the forest for the trees. Some might even accuse you of moral obtuseness—or worse.
I bring up this hypothetical because over at American Affairs, Arnaud Bertrand, a businessman living in China, has written a lengthy essay extolling China’s economic success story, “How China Defeated Poverty.” And, frankly, I find it an atrocious whitewash.