Saturday, February 02, 2008

China's economy

Brad de Long directs us to this article by James Fallows at The Atlantic Online, which is subtitled: The Chinese are subsidizing the American way of life. Are we playing them for suckers—or are they playing us?

Those with less time to read may want to look at DeLong's summary.

I'll bet that you'll go on to read the rest.

Students in World History may note a parallel with the material about industrializing Germany and Japan we discussed last week. This comment on DeLong's post caught my eye:
It seems to me that the government is focused on building national greatness, via as fast as possible economic/industrial growth for as long as they can sustain. The lives of the current citizens are valued only as fuel for the engine of growth. They know this cannot be a permanent arrangement, but the longer they can keep it up the higher up the slope they see China climbing. The transistion from forced hypergrowth to whatever comes afterwards probably won't be smooth, but their strategy is to delay it for as long as feasible in order to climb higher up the slope before that happens.
Image: A coking factory in China, thanks to the Telegraph (UK).

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