As McGregor explains, the Chinese Communist Party (The Party) had gone to the extent where the citizens are not allowed to control their own lives. The party has created minimum freedom different from the Friedman argument of the maximum freedom. Therefore, McGregor reveals the essential difference between the maximum freedom and the minimum freedom using examples of the minimum freedom in china. The desire for the Chinese citizens to chase for their own self-interest is constrained by The Party. In order to demonstrate how the maximum freedom society differs from the minimum freedom society, McGregor provides example of the scenarios where the freedom in China is limited by "the party."
The Party denies the citizens their right of freedom by controlling three main sectors in the Chinese economy (McGregor, 192). The critical areas include the military, information sector, and the countrywide system which contains the organizations that relate to The Party. With these examples, McGregor shows how the society is subjected to "the party" decision involving business, information and their way of living in general.
The military matters of the country are not handled by the defense ministry; rather the decisions are made by the party’s central military. There is minimum freedom for the People’s Liberation Army in China because they are restricted from making their own decision regarding the military issues. Instead of reporting to the government, the army reports to the party.
Macgregor also highlights how the information in china is limited to a particular group of people who have a direct connection. The use of the constrained and encrypted information by the party’s associate shows that the individuals are denied the freedom of communicating. The system that involves a special telephone referred to as “red machine,” limits the vital information, especially business decision making and trade policy, from leaking to the important members of the party. Without effective communication, people cannot engage in the equality. As Friedman stated “’public policy’ groups, journalists and others in the communications industry –are among the most ardent preachers of the doctrine of equality.”
“The party associates” system provides another example of minimum freedom in China. Although all governments have their own secure communication system, the Chinese system extends to the largest stakeholders in the economy. For example, the chief executive officers of the largest corporations and companies and businessmen in the county use closed and encrypted communication system. Thus, McGregor shows how the party has colonized the economy to the extent that the small and medium entrepreneurs are not allowed to make a decision involving the economy. The Chinese communication network, therefore, portrays an example of the post-communist's capitalism in China. In other words, the businessmen of the traders are not allowed have the free will and enter into the free market unless they are permitted by the party (McGregor, 107).
According to McGregor, the minimum freedom society in china is enhanced by the dominating and core prerogative of the Chinese Communist Party. The citizens will only enjoy the free economy, free market and own self-interest if the party reduces or eliminates its independent inspection of its actions. However, McGregor states that there are no sign for the party to change for the better since “the system has also proved to be flexible and protean enough to absorb everything that has been thrown at it, to the surprise and horror of many in the west” (Friedman, 76).
As a “princeling”, I would enjoy living in a society created by China’s Communist Party. The state owns many companies. It owns the majority stake in 35% of the country’s businesses pulling in around 43% of the profit (Yueh, 76). As the government is in control of everything and corruption is rampant, I am assured of a good life at the expense of the majority citizens. When I gain economic prowess, I will succeed in establishing my business since my parent will guard me against adverse global policies that might adversely affect businesses. Moreover, the government will control reduce the interest rates to the advantage of communist leaders who have the capacity to invest massively. Being a “princeling," I will be protected from the adversities created by changes in economic, social, and political development. However, living in Friedman’s maximum freedom society can be a great challenge since there is high competition and struggle in the free market and many ordinary individuals find life to be intolerable. “ Widespread acknowledgement of the Party's core political interests, the Party has inevitably become awash in conflicting objectives and interests” (McGregor, 68).
As a hardworking, self-motivated entrepreneur, living in a maximum freedom society is the best option. Humankind’s progress has stemmed from individual men and women thoughtfulness, experimenting, creating, and innovating. Friedman’s society advocates for economic freedom that is a key factor for economic development. “Progress can only develop through the struggles of men and women to improve their condition or create something new” (Friedman, 98). In Friedman’s society, the future is essentially unknowable. Market interest rates and discount rates are expected to vary anytime since they are chiefly determined by the prevailing conditions in the market. Returns on investments will, therefore, change freely and I will be able to enjoy a good life. I will diversify my investments and come up with a unique customer experience that will guarantee rapid wealth replication.
The government will not unnecessarily impede the freedom of entrepreneurs, but the forces of demand and supply, incomes and taxation will determine the overall economic conditions. Additionally, investors are free to create their own businesses (Friedman, 46). The economic stability in a free economy is directly proportional to the personal input unlike in china where wealth is perceived to be trivial if it is gained through a process that compromises the welfare of a few individuals. The party requirements that businesses use encrypted communication system that will be monitored by the government greatly curtail the freedom of entrepreneurs. Typically, the environment created by the party is unfavorable for entrepreneurial development. China is apparently unattractive for investors due to citizens’ worries about economic decline, unrest and the “worms of corruption." “corruption that is pervasive among executive and Party ranks alike" (McGregor, 38).
China’s Communist Party creates a society that is auspicious for an individual with no special skills, talent, and opinions. With the government controlling every aspect in the society, economically lazy individuals will find it easy to survive. Through taxation and economic bottlenecks, the communist government redistributes national wealth and being a conventional risk averse individual, it will be easy to survive.
The preceding elucidation of Friedman’s maximum freedom society and China’s Communist Party indicates how social, economic, and political freedom contribute to development. A society with maximum freedom enjoys good living standards and consequently socio-economic prosperity. McGregor illustrates how the communist party has limited the people’s freedom and the hardships that the Chinese are undergoing under the communist regime.
Friedman, Milton, Bob Chitester, and Rose D. Friedman. Free to Choose. McKean, Pa.? N.p., n.d. Print.
McGregor, Richard. The Party: The Secretive World of China's Communist Rulers. London: Allen Lane, 2010. Print.
Yueh, Linda Y. The Economy of China. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2010. Print.