One Financial Times article that caught my eye this week concerned the success of Meituan Dianping, whose “Everything app” enables Chinese consumers to have their meals delivered, review and book hotels, and even order at-home massages. After the company’s revenues rose 44% in the third quarter, it is now worth about $75bn.

Sixteen years ago, this would have been difficult to imagine, given that China was much poorer and the iPhone and phone apps had not been invented. But, as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels observed in the Communist manifesto in 1848, “The need of a constantly expanding market for its products chases the bourgeoisie over the entire surface of the globe.”

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