China Beat Archive



Mark Selden

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April 2, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright April 2, 2009 Mark Selden. Used by permission.


2008—Annus Horribilis for the world economy—produced successive food, energy and financial crises, initially devastating particularly the global poor, but quickly extending to the commanding heights of the US and core economies and ushering in the sharpest downturn since the 1930s depression.

As all nations strive to respond to the financial gridlock that began in the United States and quickly sent world industrial production and trade plummeting, there has been much discussion of the ability of the high-flying Chinese economy to weather the storm, of the prospects for the intertwined US and Chinese economies, even of the potential for China to rise to a position of regional or global primacy. The present article critically explores these possibilities.

In “China’s Way Forward,” [1] James Fallows offers an astute ground’s eye assessment of that nation’s economic prospects and reflects comparatively on the experience of the United States, Japan and others in the teeth of the storm of 2008-09. Beginning with compelling images of migrant workers in their millions returning to the countryside where they face protracted unemployment while container ships sit idle in port, Fallows explains why China’s industrialization and export-dependent economy will be hard hit by the looming world depression. He believes, however, that China will not only weather the storm, but is likely to emerge stronger from it.