This is what my Jane’s email reports:
IN RECENT months, Foreign Report has issued warnings about the state of the Chinese economy. By all accounts it is enjoying a boom. But there are clear signs that the economy is running into trouble. Protests and disorders are spreading in urban factories and through the rural community.
I’ve been skeptical of China’s economic gains. Not because they are not happening, since I imagine Chinese statistics are better than old Soviet numbers, but because of how those numbers are being racked up. Like the old Soviet Union, China’s economic growth is coming from moving peasants to city factories. And even the most productive peasant turned into the most inefficient factory worker will produce more GDP and bump up national statistics. This is not sustainable. Eventually, established workers must become more efficient for an economy to really take off.
While Chinese collapse is surely preferable to a growing, xenophobic, hostile nuclear-armed China, collapse won’t be a nice trip for anybody. Truly, our foreign policy toward China must be quite the balancing act. Throw in the goal of prodding a prosperous but peaceful and friendly China and you have a China problem that defies easy solutions.