(Amazon) Since I regularly read journals dealing with international business and manufacturing, I am aware of the trends. However, until I read this book, I had no idea how dramatic the rise in the economic power of the People’s Republic of China has been. From the figures in this book, it is clear that the phrase, “The cold war is over and the Chinese have won” is true. Current projections are that in less than two decades, the economy of the P. R. C. will surpass that of the United States. If the economic activity of the Chinese mercantile class living in other Asian nations is factored in, then the timeframe is even shorter.
In area after area, from clothing to toys to furniture, manufacturing is shifting to China. Even the traditional low cost countries such as Mexico, Haiti and Honduras are losing manufacturing jobs to China. The figures on the number of Mexican jobs that have been exported to China are amazing and disturbing. Many of the employment gains that Mexico expected to have due to the NAFTA accords have been lost to China. American jobs being lost to China is not surprising, but the movement of jobs throughout the entire Western Hemisphere indicates a global transfer of economic power.
This rise in economic power will lead to a corresponding increase in political and economic power. Many of those trends are also described, including some of the early responses by those who study U. S. national security. I was also impressed with the prescience of the Chinese leadership in their dealings with leaders in the United States. By adopting a policy of divide and conquer, they have been able to stave off attempts to restrict their activity. Since any attempt by the U. S. government to slow the expansion of P. R. C. involvement in one area will reduce the market opportunities of another group, every attempt to do so is quickly squashed. There is no better example than that on page 173, “With such strong internal support, it is no wonder that China can afford to spend less than desolate Malawi on paid U. S. lobbyists.”
Here are some sample statistics. On page 111, “According to ATMI, the U. S. market share of brassieres made in Mexico is projected to fall from 47 percent in 2001 to 6 percent in 2004; China’s share is expected to rise from 5 to 67 percent.” On page 106, “Between 1996 and 2002, U. S. imports of Chinese household furniture rose more than six fold from $741 million to $4.8 billion.” Later in the page, a comparison was made between the prices of a bedroom set made in the U. S. ($22,755) to a comparable one made in China ($7,070).
In the 1980′s Japan was considered the great economic threat arising in Asia. That turned out to be false, Japan has been economically stagnant for years. Some people argue that the situation with China will turn out to be similar. However, there are many reasons to believe that this is a false premise. China possesses more people, resources and is much more adept at managing their relationship with the American community. I strongly recommend this book if you are interested in being carried by the wave instead of being buried by it.