Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
31 Jan 2011
The enigma called China
It is a geographical reality that as the sun goes down in the United States, the day starts in China. Conversely, however, it is the financial sun that has started to rise in China and set instead on the United States. That China is growing at an envious rate is a geo-political inevitability of our times. No wonder it is sourcing large quantities of expensive raw materials like copper, iron, oil and wood from across the world.
In the process of its sustained growth, a substantial amount of the world’s wealth has moved to China. Estimated at US$ 2.3 trillion, it is holding a quarter of the foreign currency reserves of the entire world. In comparison, the US had US$ 83 billion in foreign exchange reserves at that time. The shifting of American wealth to China had many political analysts quipping that President Obama had travelled to China so that he could ‘visit our money’.
While for many, the conflict between China and the United States appear to be both imminent and unavoidable, for author Handel Jones these facts point to a very real opportunity for governments and businesses of two countries to work together rather than be separated by economic tensions. The essential lesson for the United States is to stop the decline in public wealth by strengthening its industrial employment base.
Jones acknowledges the fact that China is fast becoming the industrial hub for the entire world. While there is a human and entrepreneurial side to China, the industrial side of China is a big machine that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 50 weeks a year. That this machine runs on the space meant for its communities and consumes strategic natural resources is a source of tension worldwide.
Chinamerica provides in-depth visibility on the enigma called China.
by Handel Jones
Tata McGraw Hill, New Delhi ; 280 pages, pp 232, Rs 575