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?

mumzy Mon 24-Dec-12 13:18:06

I doubt China will become a superpower in the same way as democratic cou tries such as USA. There is lots of unrest in the country as most of its population has yet to benefit from its economic success. Even the ones who have now want democracy and a say in how their government is run. I predict a "China Spring uprising" in the foreseeable future.

Hamishbear Sun 18-Nov-12 08:25:36

Re: Shale gas - yes I remember reading about it & then being surprised I'd not heard more.

Chinese ascendancy is not inevitable, no, but I think with continued economic growth (albeit at a slowed rate) it's likely it will emerge one of two major global powers and ultimately the main one in time.

Re: Japan - you can't really compare. Japan's growth came to a stop at the end of the 1980s & their situation was entirely different. Japan wasn't a developing country but an advanced economy, one of the most advanced in the world. A Goldman Sachs report in 2007 claimed that the Chinese economy will overtake that of the US by 2027. Whilst it's possible that China might not emerge as the most powerful country in the world in time it's also possible American hegemony declines far more rapidly than anyone really anticipates & a new world Chinese order emerges.

APMF Fri 16-Nov-12 07:14:16

Shale gas has been in the news in recent years. There are large deposits of natural gas in the US that had remained untapped because of the prohibitive costs involved in drilling. New technology/methods has now made it possible to cheaply tap those deposits. This means that the US is guaranteed over 100 years of cheap natural gas. Already a number of corporations have announced that they will relocate from China, among others, back to the US because of availability of cheap gas.

So, Chinese ascendancy is not inevitable. For proof, look at what people were saying about Japan in the early 80s.

It will be interesting to see, though may be as has been said, our children who see the change.

Culturally there is a clash (of civilisations, to borrow a phrase!) between the individualistic ethos of the US and the collective obligation traditional in China. I think that, almost more than the economics will be hugely impactful.

Hamishbear Thu 15-Nov-12 06:35:04

Sorry mean America rather than 'American' above!

Hamishbear Thu 15-Nov-12 06:23:42

Erebus you are not wrong if you look at things as they are now.

That said, things are changing in China they're investing massively in R&D, they will in the not too distant future IMO have their own globally competitive car brands - especially re: electric/hybrid cars. They will have their own airbus equivalent and well respected space programme. They've even designed an amazing submersible which can do to ocean depths never before thought possible. Who would have thought we'd have heard of Toyota and buy it globally? This was once a little thought of S Korean and Japanese brand directed at poor East Asian countries. I think you speak too soon. Chinese brands in sports and pharmaceuticals are also pretty soon going to start making their mark globally as well as domestically. I could go on there are so many examples.

China are an ancient civilisation with well established & regarded traditions. The state and civilisation intertwine. They have a new Government. They are aware of the serious problems you point out but they plan to try to solve them. They have very smart people. They plan to invest a much greater percentage of GDP in R&D. I'd argue they'll solve the gender imbalance issue, the lack of innovation, issues with water supply etc. I'd argue they have a much greater chance of solving these problems than American will in terms of future problems which will come their way.

American and the West is in seemingly terminal decline. I'd argue that confidence in the dollar will continue to go down. America are the biggest debtor nation in the history of the world. The renminbi looks set to become the reserve currency. Steady & smart planning, industriousness and cleverness may well trump insular and arrogant American 'can do' in time. So many think the Western way is the only way and misunderstand the East. Just because America has been at the helm for a long time doesn't mean it will always be at the helm.

Erebus Wed 14-Nov-12 20:40:56

And it was my impression that China, in Africa, are using local labour but all the engineers are Chinese.

And decade after decade of 'building local schools' has hardly turned Africa around, either pro-West or anything else, has it?

Erebus Wed 14-Nov-12 20:39:21

What China has failed to do do is to bring the majority of its population along for the ride. This may not be a serious 'problem' in the short term- they can, after all, shoot, with impunity, those who do not toe the party line.

However, where in history does despotism ultimately lead to stability and ongoing financial security? Yes, China may 'dominate' the next half century, but their pre-eminence will fizzle out. It is built upon sand. Their massive population imbalance, (m/f) alone, will destabilise them.

To me, China's biggest problem lies with the fact its economy is entirely dependent on supply, not innovation. That need to supply is currently buoying up economies like Australia's (and much of Africa) but the Chinese need people with the wherewithal to buy what they're making. That won't be us, will it?

I have to say that much though I loathe the Mitt Romney-esque American (educated, at least 'middle-class', self-reliant, curious, right-wing, conservative), the fact remains, their 'can-do' (which most of the rest of us only experience during wartime) will 'inherit the Earth'.

It won't be soon, it will be ugly. But I think China's shooting star will be bright but short-lived.

APMF Tue 13-Nov-12 18:05:18

Why do we have to come together in order to compete? Our current problem is because we are too close to countries like Greece as opposed to not close enough.

The Americans have it right (did I just say that out loud smile ) They have trade agreements with their neighbours Mexico and Canada and they are in a better shape than us.

Can you really be a superpower without the military superiority?

quoteunquote Tue 13-Nov-12 16:48:02

Another question we will have to start to tackle(time is ticking) is are we (Europeans) able to put differences aside, and come together and form a United States of Europe, in order that we will be able to compete, and stabilise.

Because it's very apparent that if we cannot manage USE, we will fall by the wayside.

off to read that thread, just popping in and out.

APMF Tue 13-Nov-12 16:03:58

China recently launched its first aircraft carrier, something it bought 2nd hand of the military equivalent of eBay smile

That day will inevitably come but before I call China a superpower I want to see it close to being able to match the US's fleet of seven nuclear powered carrier groups.

China is no doubt an economic superpower but currently it lacks the ability to project military power beyond its own borders.

niceguy2 Tue 13-Nov-12 15:23:43

China already are a superpower. And you are right. Lots of people either are in denial or think that this can be changed.

The people in the US have been conditioned into thinking the American way is the best and a model for everyone else to aspire to. But China is kicking their arses economically and it's hard for them to understand that the world has changed and whilst they are still no1, their days in the top spot are numbered.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 14:59:55

China are well on the way to becoming a superpower, APMF. What's surprising is so many seem in denial.

Hamishbear Tue 13-Nov-12 14:57:41

Not quite niceguy, China are not cutting and running they are developing infrastructure and building schools and hospitals.

Quoteunquote see 'Chinese thread' I linked to up thread - have a read and be interested in your thoughts.

APMF Tue 13-Nov-12 14:55:51

Back in the 1980s there was a big thing about the Japanese buying up US companies and real estate. The fact that UK companies and individuals owned large chunks of the US wasn't an issue. However, it became an issue when the faces behind the money was non white.

I am not accusing any one here of racism. I'm just saying that China is behaving like a superpower, no different from the US who incidentally have a recent history of projecting military power in pursuit of economic interests.

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?

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.

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!

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.

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 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.

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 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 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.

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