From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy-or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes.
As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. In Age of Ambition, he describes the greatest collision taking place in that country: the clash between the rise of the individual and the Communist Party's struggle to retain control. He asks probing questions: Why does a government with more success lifting people from poverty than any civilization in history choose to put strict restraints on freedom of expression? Why do millions of young Chinese professionals-fluent in English and devoted to Western pop culture-consider themselves "angry youth," dedicated to resisting the West's influence? How are Chinese from all strata finding meaning after two decades of the relentless pursuit of wealth?
Writing with great narrative verve and a keen sense of irony, Osnos follows the moving stories of everyday people and reveals life in the new China to be a battleground between aspiration and authoritarianism, in which only one can prevail.
The book analyses the economic transformation and addresses the shortcomings of existing interpretations of the "Chinese Miracle" and develops a new multi-dimensional framework. In addition, it shows how the private sector has been developing and what a major role it is playing in pushing forward the overall economic development.
The book also focuses on the analysis of China’s fiscal transformation. With the set of refined principles of fiscal federalism that the author has developed, it examines the problems of Chinese fiscal federalism in contrast to them. It further elaborates on topics such as the local government debt and explains why further reforms are necessary, making this book a very comprehensive read to understand China’s progress.