It may be true, as is often observed, that if all the world’s economists were laid end to end, they would never reach a conclusion. It is all the more notable therefore that an increasing number of observers of China’s economy are skeptical that the high rate of growth sustained over the past three decades is likely to continue much longer. In the past, China’s leadership has weathered economic stress adroitly—most recently, in blunting the impact of the 2008 world economic crisis. However, the Xi Jinping leadership that is about to take the helm later this year is likely to be more diverse in its outlook, credentials, and experience. And so if projections of trouble in China’s economy ahead are accurate, then it is reasonable to inquire into the prospects of an oligarchic leadership around Xi maintaining collective solidarity and providing effective policy responses.
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