China Beat Archive



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July 9, 2009 in The China Beat


Copyright July 9, 2009. Used by permission.


Little bits and pieces from around the web…

1. In case you missed it, David Brooks wrote a column about China in The New York Times last week. In it, he details two perspectives on China’s future presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival. On the one hand,

The agent provocateur was Niall Ferguson of Harvard. China and the U.S., he argued, used to have a symbiotic relationship and formed a tightly integrated unit that he calls Chimerica… During the first few years of the 21st century, Chimerica worked great. This unit accounted for about a quarter of the world’s G.D.P. and for about half of global growth. But a marriage in which one partner does all the saving and the other partner does all the spending is not going to last.

The frictions are building and will lead to divorce, conflict and potential catastrophe. China, Ferguson argued, is now decoupling from the United States…

Think of China, Ferguson concluded, as Kaiser Wilhelm’s Germany in the years before World War I: a growing, aggressive, nationalistic power whose ambitions will tear through pre-existing commercial ties and historic friendships.

On the other hand,

James Fallows of The Atlantic has lived in China for the past three years. He agreed with parts of Ferguson’s take on the economic fundamentals, but seemed to regard Ferguson’s analysis of the Chinese psychology as airy-fairy academic theorizing. At one point, while Fallows was defending Chinese intentions, Ferguson shot back: “You’ve been in China too long.” Fallows responded that there must be a happy medium between being in China too long and being in China too little.