Will China soon own the world? Perhaps.
“The opportunities now in China are too big to miss,” writes business journalist Fishman in his timely look at the Pacific Rim’s most powerful economic tiger. The national economy is expanding at annual rates (officially, 9.5 percent) that seem scarcely imaginable and scarcely sustainable. The impetus behind that growth is simple, the author notes: With a population of somewhere between 1.3 and 1.5 billion, the number of new businesses launched in the last generation exceeds 120 million, while the number of workers who have left the countryside to work in the cities exceeds the entire US workforce. China’s growth is without equal in modern history, Fishman argues, and it has disturbing implications for workers in the US and Europe. China is not only capturing more and more of the world’s market share in consumer goods, it’s making increasing inroads into the more significant trade in “the infinite number and variety of components that make up everything else that is made,” from gaskets to bolts to computer chips. Yet another great economic engine is small business; hundreds of millions of small concerns are on hand in China to provide whatever the market is calling for—never mind that those goods are so often cheap and of low quality. (Where, after all, would WalMart be without China?) Fishman is a little alarmed by China’s growth, but also ready to comfort readers with the prospect of ever-falling prices thanks to its abundant low-wage labor pool. He is more alarmed, however, at a seeming codependency that is emerging, in which Americans buy Chinese goods with money that is in essence on loan from China. “The United States,” he warns, “cannot take on ever-bigger debt and amass huge trade deficits indefinitely.”
A thought-provoking and accessible forecast of strange times to come.