China,

(41 Posts)
quoteunquote Mon 12-Nov-12 22:22:18

As we have narrowly avoided being hit by the shrapnel from Mitt Romney planned trade war with China, but I'm sure that little planned gem will reappear in four years time,

I thought that I would get to grips with China's future plans.

It appears(from above link) if I do manage to understand what's going on I could have that man's job, so who wants to try and figure out what is going on?

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 10:24:10

Interesting question. Perhaps some relevant points on this thread: Chinese thread

I've been reading widely about this lately. China sees itself as possibly the most important country in the world, a civilization that was once tremendously influential and powerful. It has been once and it will be so again - as they see it at least. If you know the mindset you can begin to work out what they desire.

They seem to have swapped communism for nationalism without anyone really noticing.

I also think they are a ticking bomb internally. Close to a billion people are at some stage going to figure out trickle down economics is a pile of crap and they have been played for chumps by a ruling elite. I don't think it will be pretty when that happens.

The sheer scale of china is crazy. I did a training session there a while ago (run in mandarin, a language i don't speak. Fun) and they dismissed facebook as 'too niche' as they only had about 60 million chinese users.

Yes, they wrote off the population of the uk as a niche.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 10:50:29

Mandarin is close to being the main language of the internet - if it isn't already.

I think there's a myth that those that work in factories in China etc are miserable and have a pitiful life - many are happy and finding better jobs with more money as time goes by. They go home to their family with leather goods they've made in the factory to give as presents, these don't mean a lot to them. They are ambitious. The rising middle class are hopeful, just as the rising middle class in America were hopeful. They want the gadgets, they want the car etc.

Factory workers yes, hamishbear, but i am talking about the rural poor. Very different there i think.

During the us middle class boom years of the 1950's to 1990's the urban population was 80% of the country and virtually all of the growth. In China it is only just 50%. i think this makes it hard to compare the two, or at least lessens the impact the rising wealth of the middle class in china will have.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 11:17:21

The children of the rural poor are increasingly heading to the towns when they can. In a 2010 poll nearly two thirds of Chinese judged their lives as better than five years previously - a much higher proportion than those in the US and Western Europe. The Chinese showed huge confidence for the future too - 74% judged that their lives would be infinitely better in five years.

niceguy2 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:26:39

Close to a billion people are at some stage going to figure out trickle down economics is a pile of crap

Oh really? I think you will have a job convincing them of that. Remember thirty years ago they could barely afford to feed their own population. Now they are the 2nd largest economy in the world and absolutely thriving.

But what happens when growth slows? Which it will Surely at some stage the extreme inequality will hit home?

Do you guys not reckon they will ever float or devalue the yuan? They are backed into a corner, it will have to happen sometime and will be ugly when it does.

Don't get me wrong, they might take us all down with them, or at least the US if they get frustrated and dump dollars.

niceguy2 Tue 13-Nov-12 11:53:21

The yuan will appreciate rather than devalue. Not even China can go on keeping their currency artificially low indefinitely. But I think they will string it along as long as they can.

It's not in China's interests to dump dollars. They are one of the biggest holders of US government debt and it's their largest export market. Put bluntly, who would they sell their widgets to if the US was in the economic toilet?

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 12:21:45

The Yuan/renminbi will eventually become the reserve currency - some say by 2015 - and China's power increase. The way things are going - and the plans are that - Shanghai will eventually overtake New York as the world's most important financial centre, possibly by 2020. HSBC has estimated that by 2013-15 at least half of China's trade with other developing countries will be in the renminbi. Chinese companies will by their imports and sell their exports in their own currency. We are perhaps looking at a new Chinese world order.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 12:22:35

buy their imports I mean, not 'by'.

Sorry I meant appreciate. I absolutely get what you are saying and really hope it all goes smoothly. I can just see a less rosy alternative. Tbh the op was probably right that any first stone will be cast by a declining west.

Interesting about the two thirds satisfaction, guess I was imagining it more polarised. It has looked it when I have been there.

But I've only been to Beijing. At least recently only Beijing.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 12:40:37

The Americans don't seem to realise that the country is in terminal decline. It won't happen overnight (although it's possible it will happen far more quickly than anyone realises) but China is likely to become the most dominant power in our children's lifetimes.

I fear that when the penny drops it may not be pretty. I hope for better and actually view a century where China is the post important power very positively for lots of reasons. No one country or civilization is dominant for ever.

APMF Tue 13-Nov-12 12:46:48

@niceguy - France was/is a rich and powerful country. At some point the peasants realised that the wealth wasn't trickling down to them and we all know what happened after that.

I am not saying that this will inevitably happen to China. I'm just saying that the economic wellbeing of the country is not synonymous with the wellbeing of its ordinary citizens.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 12:54:56

I see the wealth eventually trickling down in China - western multinationals are using the renminbi in trade deals - Nokia, Ikea, McDonalds, etc. Major banks such as HSBC, JP Morgan and Standard Chartered are building up infrastructure to deal with worldwide renminbi transactions. In Hong Kong residents think the future lies with the renminbi and not the dollar. China's power is quietly increasing in many different ways. China are thinking about the domestic economy too, they watch and wait and are mindful about it all. They don't want discontent.

I see more unrest in American in coming years re: wealth inequalities.

APMF Tue 13-Nov-12 13:09:49

I disagree with the comment that economic inequality will inevitably lead to unrest in the US. There has always been inequality and in days gone by it was much worse. Think Mellon and Rockefeller.

Obama sought to attack Romney for being rich during the election. It had little impact among ordinary voters because your average poor American aspire to be rich. Everyone can rise up and become President OR rich is a firm belief. It was only when Obama painted Romney as a rich guy that is going to screw the ordinary guy that Obama got traction.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 13:48:23

The American dream is alive and well.

Economic inequality won't undoubtedly lead to unrest in the USA but sadly I think it's likely.

Does anyone else feel reassured that the chinese are chasing global domination in economic terms and not military? Or do you think they will 'inevitably' start building the might to back up and defend their interests?

Also, and sorry to bombard with the questions, but what about their grab of resources, especially in Africa? It feels a bit as though they are following the pattern of many emerging Empires and grabbing what they need with little regard to the locals. At least post Empire GB and (less so) the US are more conscious of their obligations / full of post colonial guilt.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 14:39:46

Their goal is not world domination. They will want to defend themselves. The biggest danger is that the USA sees China as an enemy and seeks to isolate it. Martin Jacques explores this in his book - which is an interesting read.

China lacks natural resources - apart from rare minerals - so has to look elsewhere. Africa has lots of raw materials and hasn't received lots of attention from the US (unlike Middle East). China now gets 30% of its oil from Africa. It seems a matter of time before China becomes Africa's biggest trading partner. There are now 900 large and medium sized Chinese companies trading in Africa. As for little regard for the locals China are currently training 15,000 African professionals & sending 100 agricultural experts to Africa. They are building schools and hospitals and $10 billion dollars has been pledged in low cost loans. As Jacques states in his book trade between Africa and China has increased ten fold between 2000 and 2008, from $10.6 billion to $106.84 billion. China has been very positive for Africa for lots of reasons - their aid has had far less strings attached than western aid in the past. Unlike the West China tends to concentrate on state led investments in infrastructure 'to end poverty build a road' (chinese expression) holds true. It has also tried to develop strong government rather than democracy. The west have in the past tended to focus on extracting minerals and leaving.

China has no history of colonialism - this isn't new colonialism. Not to say there are not these fears. At a conference in Bejing in 2005 an African spokesperson said: 'Africa sells raw materials to China & China sells manufactured products to Africa. This is a dangerous equation that reproduces Africa's old relationship with colonial powers'.

Interestingly there have been plans drawn up for a Chinese Marshall Plan with a fund of $500 billion which would lend money to Africa and other developing countries.

Huh, I'd heard bad things about the lack of local training in Africa. Lots of shipping in chinese experts to do it all. Heard a couple of African governments had got wise to this but didn't realise things had got so much better.

Will stop with the questions now and read the book!

quoteunquote Tue 13-Nov-12 14:49:37

I do wonder why, Mandarin and Cantonese, has not been offered as a language options in more schools, given that the children in education today will have an advantage if they have these.

I have several friend have been through Lampeter who run Chinese Studies, and are now teaching, but only one in a state school.

niceguy2 Tue 13-Nov-12 14:52:37

China will build up it's military power and it is doing so already. They've just bought their first aircraft carrier and is starting to flex their muscles around their neck of the woods.

The thing the western world will struggle with is China's attitude to dealing with African governments. Us in the west will tend to go along to an African state and say "We will buy oil from you for $x but only if you also invest in education/human rights/medicine/road building/whatever" In short we try to promote healthy development and I can see that logic why it is desirable.

China's attitude is "We will buy oil from you for $x. Thanks very much!" What the country does with their own population and how they use the money. That's their issue.

Now if you are an African despot sitting on massive oil reserves, who would you sell to?

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