Private Property Amendments in Chinese Constitution

I just returned from dinner with a close friend of mine. During dinner, he mentioned that he had heard on NPR that China was considering amendments to their constitution to officially recognize private property ownership. So with a little help from Google, I found this piece about the amendments.

The proposed revision on private property protection puts private assets of Chinese citizens on an equal footing with public property, both of which are "not to be violated."

This is excellent news. China's private sector is growing and property rights have been de facto granted to many individuals, the soon to be de jure recognition will assure many other individuals thinking about acquiring and developing their own property.

Share this

So, how long before the

So, how long before the Chinese are freer than Americans?

It's am improvement but

It's am improvement but we're still only talking about free-range slavery.

Qiwi, they have a long way

Qiwi, they have a long way to go. Part of the impetus for the amendments is the treatment of people by the state in eminent domain - "We're tearing down your house and digging up your fields today, you have an hour to bring in the crops and get your stuff out. It is the Peoples will."

John - you mean like us? I think it is *the* critical improvement in their transition to a market economy.

Looks like someone missed my

Looks like someone missed my post at the Mises blog: http://www.mises.org/blogDetail.asp?control=1232

Actually, I saw it, I just

Actually, I saw it, I just failed to grasp the significance of it.

My friend is married to a Chinese woman (born and raised there) and her father is an entrepeneur who now has offices in both China and the U.S. So the conversation at dinner gave me a much better appreciation of what the realities "on the ground" were. It finally started to sink in.

The Chinese ruling party gets the idea that private property and the profit motive are crucial, there are signs that they may even understand that the "profit motive" is the motive to provide "socially desirable" things. (see also Brian Micklethwait's Samizdata post.)

Hey, I didn't say that the

Hey, I didn't say that the Chinese *are* freer than Americans. In fact, let me change that from free to "free", because I'm talking about how "free" people are by the lights of whichever State arrogates itself authority over them. We are all, of course, only ever as free as we choose to be.

It seems to me a mathematical certainty, that if the U.S. FedGov continues in its current direction, toward increasing socialism, and China continues in its current direction, toward increasing capitalism, at some point the Chinese will be "freer" than Americans.

Are the Chinese now safer

Are the Chinese now safer than Americans from eminent domain seizures, I wonder?

Are the Chinese now safer

Are the Chinese now safer than Americans from eminent domain seizures[?]

My understanding is they are not. The amendment brings them on par with the U.S. - seizures must be compensated. How that works out in practice is anyone's guess, but current practice indicates it will be similar to U.S. practice.

As to whether China may someday be "freer" than America - there is a limit to the freedom the Chinese government will grant - for now it appears that as long as granting freedom coincides with greater economic and political power, the Peoples' Congress is all for it. There are two limits: an "upper" (assuming liberty is up) bound on how far the Chinese government will go, and a lower bound on how much American citizens will put up with. I don't think those bounds are such that the Chinese will become freer than Americans. (I may very well be wrong.)