Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why China is Going to Lead

China on Ice, photo by Jonathan Isaacson
Despite American xenophobic insistence that we are the greatest nation in the world, we are about to be overrun by China in great nation status. Not just over taken, but overrun.
It isn’t the conservative meme of China owning American debt that will mean that China will own our lunch. The Chinese ownership of our debt at the low interest rate is actually a good thing. China will need us and our money for a long time to come, and the debt is at such a low interest rate that it is like refinancing a home – it makes sense to own money at 2% if you can make money at 6%.
No, what will allow the Chinese to overrun us is their willingness to do what needs to be done, and their strategic relationships with nations we are either treating as victims – or as enemies.
China is developing Maglev trains. Super fast public transportation is starting to be a norm in China, while in America we can’t even talk about public transportation as part of the solution to urban crowding, dependence upon foreign oil, and long distance travel. China has terrible environmental standards – but they are working on them. We’re not even willing to admit there is a problem.
China treats African nations as potential trading partners, worthy of their own news programs, worthy of attention as both consumers and producers. We treat the whole of Africa as a problem. North Africa is full of Muslim terrorists and sub-Saharan Africa is poverty who should get our free tee-shirts dumped on them for their own good. Pakistanis are now learning Mandarin as part of their elementary and secondary school program. The Pakistani middle class is preparing to go to University in China. They see China as a friend. We look at Pakistan as harborer of terrorists and Muslim radicals.
For all these reasons and so many more the second largest world economy will surpass us. Probably soon. And the young adults who I teach won’t even notice until Chinese owners show up in the boxes at NBA games.

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