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Can China Lead?: Reaching the Limits of Power and Growth by F. Warren McFarlan, William Kirby, Regina Abrami

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3THE ENGINEERING STATE

The End of the Road

Two important and interlocking trends have dominated the last century and shaped modern China’s development. The first was a wrenching transition from an elite culture of educated generalists to a society dominated by technocratic values and technocrat leaders—China today is a society led by engineers. The second trend has been an extraordinary focus on building infrastructure where none existed before.

China’s technocratic leadership has focused on the development of infrastructure as a platform for the country’s economic growth and social well-being. National infrastructure typically takes a long time to construct, but China is midstream in a rapid build-out.

Since 1995, the total expressway length ...

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