In the old days, before about 1890, there was no field of economics. There was only political economy, rightly reflecting the link between institutions and laws and the incentives they created. As Acemoglu and Robinson pointed out in Why Nations Fail, what we call economics arises from the interplay of culture and institutions, and to think that economics is the same for all is to think poorly.
I want to point out some of the ways in which economic thinking can differ across cultures, and explain some of what we see in development in China, and in foreign countries with Chinese companies.
Economic issues are necessarily paramount for any national leader. Right now, both Mr. Xi and Mr. Trump derive their legitimacy from promises to achieve national greatness again, and for both, this fervent hope has much citizen – that is, cultural - support. For Trump, the political slogan is Make America Great Again; for Xi, Made in China 2025, or perhaps, Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era.