Right before whatever happened to China International Business happened (we still don't know), I was in America looking for China related books for the magazine to review. I asked my colleague what he thought of doing a scathing review of "The Beijing Consensus: How China's Authoritarian Model Will Dominate the Twenty-First Century" to which he pointed out that doing such a review would require going through the painful process of actually reading the book, so we shelved the idea (luckily otherwise I would have been stuck with it).
The Washington Post has done a review of it, and two slightly more interesting looking books. The End of the Free Market: Who Wins the War Between States and Corporations? by Ian Bremmer, and Freedom for Sale: Why the World Is Trading Democracy for Security by John Kampfner. While I haven't read any of these books, so can talk with zero authority about the actual content (I did watch the Daily Show interview of Ian Bremmer, which made the book sound much better than the review), I just want to say that I've always found the hand wringing over "State Capitalism" overwrought, for a few reasons.
First, most of the more severe authoritarianism out there isn't particularly popular, and such countries have been more successful at running their countries into the ground than satisfying the populace enough that they ignore human rights abuses. Iran is basically bankrupt, Venezula is not well off. Lets not talk about any of the various African and Southeast Asian crackpot states. The only real exception of a state-takeover that has been popular has been in Russia, and there are any number of caveats there. The reason why all these states aren't doing well is quite clear from China - China is held up by its large private sector, with state owned companies sustaining themselves by more or less stealing money from them. In China its slightly more controlled (SOEs have a secondary role managing inflation, and they are subject to some oversight), but in Iran and Venezuela its just a means to grab assets.
Second, anyone who lives in China can see that the country is getting unequivocally better. The country is by no means a beacon of individual rights, but in general state intervention in people's life has shrunk every year for the past 30. In other words, human rights and capitalism have the draw they always did, and its largely Western countries that are worried they don't.
Third, my experience with countries that have various levels of state capitalism, ranging from Egypt (still mostly socialist) to China to Czech Republic (mostly capitalist, but with remnants), is that most state intervention is a lever to protect against wide-scale discontent. Government ministers I spoke to in Egypt were all quite enthusiastic about privatization (though some were obviously telling me what I wanted to hear), but with each privatization came protests from laid off workers. China seems to be roughly the same thing. They don't fully privatize the banks not just because they want to steal from them (though that's a factor too) but mostly because every time they have tried to use market based macro-economic controls it led to massive inflation. Such transitions are painful.
Which is why I think the lesson that can be learned from all three books is the one made directly in Freedom for Sale - that Western countries have been too eager to give up human rights in return for wealth or security. Its often pointed out in these discussions how inappropriate it is to call the US "the land of the free" when it has the world's highest percentage of the population that's incarcerated. And its fairly easy to see a degradation of human rights going on as we speak in America (if you don't believe me just read Radley Balko's work for a few days). All three books seem to be taking part in a discussion about "how much freedom is the right amount of freedom," and that isn't a conversation we should be having. We know the answer is as much as possible. Unfortunately we are content pointing fingers at other countries while the police are bashing in our door.