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Q: What kind of superpower could China be?

This article by, of all sources, the BBC, I thought very interesting. The article was written by Martin Jacques an economist and author of When China Rules the World

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19995218

 

Some excerpts from the article:

 

What will China be like as a superpower? You might think it is already - it is not.

Its military power is puny compared with that of the US. While America has 11 aircraft carriers, China only commissioned its first last month - based on, of all things, a Ukrainian hull.

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The only sense in which China is a superpower is economic - that is, its economy is already over half the size of the US economy and projected to overtake it around 2018, notwithstanding its reduced growth rate of 7%.

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Beware historical ignorance. China has never colonised any overseas territories. Overseas empires were a European speciality, with Japan getting in on the act for a short while too.

China could have colonised South East Asia, for example, in the early 15th century. It had the resources, it had enormous ships, many times bigger than anything Europe possessed at the time. But it didn't.

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In time China will certainly come to enjoy huge global power. It will be exercised, however, in a rather different way.

The iconic form of western power has been military. Extraordinarily, the US today accounts for around half of global defence expenditure. Before, European colonial expansion was only possible because its fighting capacity was massively superior to that of the rest of the world.

That kind of overweening military power has never really been a Chinese characteristic.

Instead the quintessential forms of Chinese power will be economic and cultural. Over time, China's economic strength - given the size of its population - will be gigantic, far greater than that of the US at its zenith. Already, even at its present low level of development, China is the main trading partner of a multitude of countries around the world. And with economic power will come commensurate political power and influence. China will, if it wishes, be able to bend many other countries to its will.

.............................

 

 

Your thoughts, does this guy know what he's talking about? If not why not? What has he got right? What has he got wrong?

 

Personally, I think he's pretty much nailed it, and please consider, if you will, the BBC are not known for their support of China or the CPC.

 

 

9 years 49 weeks ago in  General  - Other cities

 
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Look, China is a manufacturing based economy.  A lot of that manufacturing is done in partnerships with foreign companies, predominantly the US, Japan, Korea, and a few others.  Due to wage hikes here, manufacturing in the US is now only 7% more expensive than manufacturing in China.  Add in the legal tariffs China imposes on everything, logistics costs, and import/export expenses, it is now cheaper to manufacture in the US. China's edge is slowly fading.  Look how many large corporations (most notably US and Japanese) have bailed out of here.  And that's with the RMB being kept artificially low.  If it was allowed to be at it's actual place, there would be ZERO benefit for manufacturing in China at all anymore.

 

Wages are higher and getting even higher, the kickbacks that need to be paid, the "guanxi" dealings, and the poor quality standards...  What once made China attractive for these things will be GONE in a few more years. 

 

Foreign investment is continually dropping off and will continue to do so.  Partially due to new laws which basically give Chinese companies the legal right to steal whatever they want, "technology sharing (ie theft)", and the fact that why would anyone continue to invest in anything that has little chance to benefit them?

 

So, China's economy is NOT going to surpass the US anytime soon, and it sure the hell won't be as early as 2018.  Manufacturing back to the US = higher US growth, slower China growth.  China would need to stay above 10%+ growth every quarter until 2018, and the US would need to stay exactly where it is right now.  This is why projections like these are BS.  They're "well, if this happens and this doesn't..."  Real world does not work that way.

 

As for this article, China has colonized quite a few places, so this is BS. Perhaps they aren't "overseas", but feel free to ask some of those places in western China how they feel about this.

 

This article discusses China solely in terms of economic might.  Based on it's MANUFACTURING economy.  Like this will be the status quo forever.  Businesses are already leaving, investment is dropping, and later, China's manufacturing will be mainly for domestic markets BECAUSE IT'S NO LONGER CHEAP TO MANUFACTURE HERE.  With only a small handful of domestic companies with any credibility in the market place, this is going to have a major impact on China.

crimochina:

answer of the day. which is exactly why many higher up execs/ political officials are trying to get the puck out of china. 

9 years 49 weeks ago
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LAR:

Excellent comments MrTibbles!!!!!!

9 years 49 weeks ago
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9 years 49 weeks ago
 
Posts: 65

Governor

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A very selfish one.  The last twenty years of greed and corruption pretty much speaks for itself heh?  Why would they change now?  I never heard of anyone wanting less than what they have now - have you?

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9 years 49 weeks ago

I'm retired - not retarded!

 
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Agreed.  China has built it's economic power on the backs of it's people.  It cannot continue this strategy indefinitely.  As Chinese standard of living rises, other countries are eager to take their place, notably India, as a cheap manufacturer of the world's goods.

 

Once more, China's central government system is in shambles.  Will it be competent, flexible, and efficient enough to handle a population that will inevitably demand more rights and freedoms?  I think not.  Government workers in China are not known for their competency.  Do not forget the example of the Iron Curtain in the former USSR.  The whole world viewed them as a real threat, but very few knew that they were rotting from within.

 

China has played it's cards in the game of Capitalism.  But this game is tricky and fickle and the players who play this game must be creative and flexible.  My experience tells me that as a whole, the people of China are neither.  The game and it's rules will change.  Then what will China do?

xinyuren:

I also like to add, that I question whether or not China even desires to be a Superpower.  As was mentioned,  They could have militarized themselves a long time ago, but they have chosen not to.  Most every large country has some war in their history, but China has never struck me to be Imperialists.

9 years 49 weeks ago
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beaufortninja:

Look up Mao's cultural subversion on Xinjiang by forcing girls to marry army officers and then making them colonize the West. Or when hundreds of thousands of Tibetans were forced into concentration camps in the 1950's. Or the current bullying over islands and resources with smaller neighbors. Seems pretty imperialistic to me. 

9 years 49 weeks ago
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xinyuren:

That's a pale comparison to the expansion appetite of the true Superpowers in History.  

the sun never set on the Roman and British empires.  America has waged war and influenced worldwide.  The instances you are citing are neighborhood power struggles.  I need to learn more about Mao's cultural subversion plans, but it sounds pretty weak to me!  Chinese housewives taking over the West??  Maybe I will get a good laugh over that one.  All countries have had a bloody history, but at least China has contained it to their corner in the East.  At least so far.

9 years 49 weeks ago
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MrTibbles:

If you look up the bloodiest battles with the most deaths throughout human history, 5 of the top 10 are in China. Mostly revolutions and rebellions, hostile takeovers of dynasties, and fun stuff like that. It's difficult to be an imperialistic power when there is constant fighting in your own backyard. Just because they DIDN"T do it, doesn't mean they didn't WANT to.

 

China as we currently know it is a fairly recent development as a unified country. It's been in states of constant warfare for most of the "5000 years" of history. China under Uncle M saw more death than every country combined during WW2.

 

China was completely imperialistic during the dynasty phases as well.  Granted, they didn't militarily invade - they didn't have to.  They had better stuff at the time and everyone just paid them tribute based on the potential threat of being attacked. That's imperialism right there.  And trust me, China desperately wants to return to those glory days when people treated them like the center of the world or the "middle kingdom".

 

China becoming a superpower would just make them arrogant and they'd try to coerce or force other countries to follow their "superior Chinese business model".  It would be a nightmare.

9 years 49 weeks ago
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xinyuren:

Infighting, including rebellions and wars didn't stop Europe's plans for colonization.  France, Britian, and Spain continued to colonize even while fighting each other.   China has shown little interest  in conquering other nations.   Sure, with a land of billions of people, they want to protect their territory, but their actions have not been one of a Imperialist form of government.  If you think so, then I think you should visit the dictionary website.  Haha, your comment about the tribute is funny.  The fact that a country offers a stronger nation tribute, doesn't make that nation Imperialists.  China was smart enough to gain military superiority.  That makes them Imperialists?  Oh boy,  back to the dictionary for you.

 

I judge China by their actions.  If China intended to colonize Asia,  we would clearly see vestiges of it today.  Instead, with the exception of Tibet, all we can see is that China has been the victim of Imperialism.   Countries like Japan, Britian, Portugal....my god, can't you see the difference?

All expansion efforts by China were limited to their little neighborhood (Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc...) By contrast, real Superpowers expand their dominions worldwide.

9 years 49 weeks ago
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MrTibbles:

"Infighting, including rebellions and wars didn't stop Europe's plans for colonization.  France, Britian, and Spain continued to colonize even while fighting each other."

The infighting and revolutions in those countries was NOTHING compared to the massive death and battles fought in China. Not a good comparison. It's like comparing the US Civil War to World War 2.  

 

"China has shown little interest  in conquering other nations."

Yes, because the current borders of China have always been what they are now.  Sorry, but there was massive imperial conquest during the Yuan and Qing dynasties. China's history is full of conquest and emperors, but this isn't imperialsim? I guess that 90% Han majority just magically sprung up.  Had nothing to do with killing off other ethnicities or forcing them to follow the imperial systems.

 

  "Sure, with a land of billions of people, they want to protect their territory, but their actions have not been one of a Imperialist form of government".

Currently.  Are we only talking about the past 60 or so years?  Even then, China has fought with India over territory, Vietnam, and they went into Korea as well. And China's ridiculous claim that it should own the entirety of the South China Sea? Yes, only harmonious governments do this.  Not imperialistic at all.  Please. Diaowu are China's!  We'll take them! Taiwan is China's!  Nope.  No thoughts what so ever at territory expansion.

 

 If you think so, then I think you should visit the dictionary website.  Haha, your comment about the tribute is funny.  The fact that a country offers a stronger nation tribute, doesn't make that nation Imperialists.  China was smart enough to gain military superiority.  That makes them Imperialists?  Oh boy,  back to the dictionary for you.

Countries paid tribute to China so THEY WOULDN'T BE ATTACKED. Dictionary? You should try an encyclopedia or a history book. :)

 

I judge China by their actions.  If China intended to colonize Asia,  we would clearly see vestiges of it today.

*Ahem* 90% Han Chinese *ahem*

 

 Instead, with the exception of Tibet, all we can see is that China has been the victim of Imperialism.   Countries like Japan, Britian, Portugal....my god, can't you see the difference?

Yes, a victim in fairly recent history.  It's not like China has been colonized by foreign entities forever...  Oh wait, the Yuan and Qing dynasties were foreign, so I'll give you a bit of that one. :D

 

All expansion efforts by China were limited to their little neighborhood (Korea, Taiwan, Vietnam, etc...) By contrast, real Superpowers expand their dominions worldwide.

But they were still expansion efforts!  Was Rome not an imperialistic empire because they didn't cross an ocean? They weren't everywhere in the world? Remember, China closed itself off for a long time and the rest of the world zipped right by them. They went from powerful to 3rd world in a quick span of time. Little difficult to "empire" during that.

9 years 49 weeks ago
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Most of the projections assume that everything will stay the same as they are now. However, most of them don't take into account the likelyhood of economic collapse or stagnation, political upheaval or revolutions, which I'm not sure if you're aware or not, China is historically overdue for one.

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9 years 49 weeks ago
 
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