It’s time for the United States government to vigorously challenge China’s rising economic and military power, according to this hard-nosed treatise.
Doshi (Land Acquisition in India, 2015), an Indian author and avowed “Americanophile,” presents wide-ranging criticisms of the Chinese government and its ambitions to replace the United States as a global hegemon. China, he notes, is a one-party dictatorship that allows no freedom of speech or religion and persecutes dissidents at home and abroad. It insists on free trade for its exports while closing its markets to imports with Byzantine regulations, domestic partnerships, technology-transfer requirements, and a dishonest judiciary, he asserts, while also stealing industrial and military secrets from American companies. It has pursued an expansionary policy against its neighbors in the South China Sea, he says, and propped up North Korea’s dangerous regime. A particular sore point for Doshi is that China helped Pakistan with its nuclear weapons and missile programs—which it did in order to foment nuclear war between Pakistan and India, he asserts. China may succeed in eclipsing America, Doshi warns, due to an economic dynamic that he dubs “K-Nomics,” in which the Chinese economy thrives by focusing on manufacturing and industry—the true sources of wealth—while the U.S. economy languishes as it moves toward service sectors. His prescription for “rebooting” America relies on reversing the K-Nomic imbalance. Doshi recommends raising tariffs on Chinese imports with a “Pollution Tax” that would redress America’s cost disadvantage due to stricter environmental regulations, and a “Humane Working Tax” to nullify the advantages China gains from its low wages and poor labor conditions. He further suggests a program of deregulation, subsidies, and government infrastructure investment.
Doshi’s case against Chinese misbehavior is lucid and well supported by statistics and press reports on everything from trade issues to Beijing’s refusal to give Canadian beauty queen and human rights activist Anastasia Lin a visa. There are many excursions into intriguing but arcane topics, such as how statistical models relate to consciousness. The author tends to write like an engineer, with careful attention to first principles and a fondness for elaborate examples, especially in economics sections: “Now, suppose you had to put up only 20 dollars to take a position of a 100 dollars. Now your leverage would be 400%. Now if the price went up to a 110, your profit would be 50%.” Doshi’s K-Nomics framework will please economic nationalists with its celebration of manufacturing, but mainstream economists may consider his disparagement of service economies and protectionism unwise. Although there’s much common sense in the book, its recommendations for American military policy are aggressive to the point of recklessness. For example, Doshi suggests that the United States help India’s nuclear weapons and missile programs with technology and fissile material, allow South Korea and Japan to build nuclear weapons, and build artificial islands stocked with weaponry in the South China Sea to counter China’s artificial islands there. Readers concerned about Sino-American relations may have misgivings about such militancy.
An uneven, meandering, and sometimes alarmist, brief on American industrial policy.