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When will China overtake the US? » The Peking Duck

When will China overtake the US?

Not as soon as some would think. An intelligent article debunks some myths:

According to Friday’s China Daily (and a host of other newspapers around the world), a just published Gallup survey claims that most Americans think China will be the world’s largest economy within 20 years. We obviously need to take these opinions with a grain of salt since, according to the same survey, 40% of Americans believe the China is today the world’s top economy, compared to 33% who believe it is the US. Since the US economy is currently more than four times the size of China’s, it is a little hard to understand why 40% of Americans think China’s is the world’s largest, but there you have it.

I suppose it is the combination of China hype and US paranoia that explains these bizarre opinions. To their credit, it doesn’t seem that informed opinion in China takes the results of this survey very seriously. The China Daily article pointed out that Chinese experts are a lot less confident about the validity of these predictions than their American counterparts, and I suspect they are right.

I suggest you look it over. The list at the end of what would have to happen for China to actually overtake the US anytime soon is especially interesting.

I don’t like putting up articles with practically no commentary, but it’s all my schedule will allow. Plus, this will allow me to put an end to the last open thread, which became unusually noxious.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 93 Comments

@ecodelta
What was the previous historical experience that Eastern Europe had that China didn’t? (Eastern European history is not one of my stronger areas, I’ll admit. Neither is Korean history, incidentally).
I guess I misunderstood. Didn’t you say the quality of life improved under Franco’s dictatorship in the 60s?

February 29, 2008 @ 9:39 am | Comment

cct is way off base on Taiwan.

By his logic, the shift to greater democracy caused slower growth.

One needs look no further than Japan to see the obvious flaw: Japan had much, much slower growth in the 1990s than in the 1980s, yet didn’t have the “causal” factor cct seems to require.

February 29, 2008 @ 9:43 am | Comment

DOR, how the heck has life been treating you in these years? Solid comment on the nominal GDP!

For those who are interested in the yen move against US dollar in the 70s and 80s:

http://fx.sauder.ubc.ca/etc/USDpages.pdf

February 29, 2008 @ 10:15 am | Comment

@DOR,

I’m “way off base” on Taiwan? I’ll be the first to admit I’ve only suggested correlation between the onset of democratization and Taiwan’s slow-down in GDP growth.

So? Have you some how been able to conclusively “prove” that Taiwan’s slow-down in GDP growth in the ’90s is directly due to Japan’s slow growth?

On the democracy issue, I’m making a circumstantial case here. There are no (or at least precious few) examples of successful developing nations that adopted democracy early on, but numerous examples of successful developing nations that began with an authoritarian focus on economic reform, and only addressed political reform later.

February 29, 2008 @ 2:26 pm | Comment

“. There are no (or at least precious few) examples of successful developing nations that adopted democracy early on, but numerous examples of successful developing nations that began with an authoritarian focus on economic reform, and only addressed political reform later.”

Except that China’s leaders don’t want political reform because it would diminish their power and make them actually accountable. They want to work “economic reform” for personal wealth until they die.

And the US had political reform long before it had economic reform, as well as England. That is what allowed them to weather significant economic downturns that are inevitable and that is why the US and UK are where they are today.

And all of the pro-China posters here forget that Taiwan and SK did not use authoritarianism to promote rapid economic growth, they needed it because they were (and still are) under threat of destruction from certain neighbors.

I would say Taiwan’s growth slowed after democratization but became more balanced. China’s growth has pretty much destroyed its environment and corrupted all sense of morals in the country.

February 29, 2008 @ 3:33 pm | Comment

A voice of reason.

February 29, 2008 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

i think that all of these posts miss the point to a degree which is the common belief that the style of govt and economic growth are intertwined. i would agree that democracy and economic growth are not necessarily intertwinned. democracy isn’t about economic growth – it is about the basic human diginity of having the right to have a say in the running of the country you live in without having to sign up to a certain ideology. the us currently may have little between the two parties, but this is not necessarily always the case. historically in europe and japan there have been major parties whose ideologies have been very far apart.

all this picking of peanuts out of pooh in examining different states in different moments of development miss this.

February 29, 2008 @ 8:48 pm | Comment

Kevin: Amen. At times, kebab boy may be crazy, but he is no fool.
Si: Seconded. But what did you expect of CCP apologists?

February 29, 2008 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

democracy and economic growth are not necessarily intertwinned.

Recently the Japanese government bungled some construction bill that did slow growth by quite a lot. I guess it could be worse and they could have someone like Mao Zedong, but the system isn’t even close to perfect. I’m not suggesting China should embrace any system in which a psychopath could take power either.

Anyway, “having some say” doesn’t matter so much if you get outvoted by an opposition that is essentially an incompetent propaganda vote. Regardless, it seems to me the CCP has less to do with China’s economic growth than they say. They just use SK, Taiwan etc and compare rates to justify their sluggishness when it comes to implementing even minor political reforms.

they needed it because they were (and still are) under threat of destruction from certain neighbors.

You could say the same about China from the 1800s until now. Russia and Japan (as well as other members of the notorious eight nations) pretty much did destroy China, and the Mao era was more or less a manifestation of that.

March 1, 2008 @ 12:26 am | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan,

Except that China’s leaders don’t want political reform because it would diminish their power and make them actually accountable. They want to work “economic reform” for personal wealth until they die.

I see I’ve obviously failed in my attempt to convert you with my fancy numbers and false propaganda. You already know the truth nature of the Communist Party… and who am I to debate the Truth.

And the US had political reform long before it had economic reform, as well as England. That is what allowed them to weather significant economic downturns that are inevitable and that is why the US and UK are where they are today.

The US and England, in case you hadn’t noticed, started their climb up the economic ladder in the 18th/19th/early 20th centuries. The economic challenges faced by today’s modern nations are completely different. (I could also mention the slave trade, the opium trade, colonialism, and genocide of the native population is no longer acceptable behavior in the 21st century… but that’s a different topic.)

I think there are two major differences between the 19th and 21st centuries:

– first, the United States / UK were on the cutting-edge of technology. Even though they had “poor” living standards by modern world standards, they were by far the most efficient and productive economies on this planet in the 19th century. They had first-mover advantage, you could say.

And what about today? What can Bangladesh possibly do to overwhelm the rest of the world in terms of economic efficiency?

– second, globalization is another huge change between today and yesteryear. An isolated China which didn’t trade with, and had no knowledge of, the rest of the world could probably manage a happy democracy without much concern.

But in an open economy… there are natural tensions in a developing nation between the urban, educated elite who see opportunities to prosper by interacting with the rest of the world, and the (usually rural) poor who see the elite as being exploiters. I’m not speaking of just China here; I’m speaking of Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, India, Venezuela, Bolivia… any open, developing country.

Just riddle me this: if political reforms that helped countries “weather economic downturns” eventually leads to economic strength… then what in your opinion has gone wrong in the 3rd world over the past 50 years? What’s wrong with Brazil, Mexico, and India?

China’s growth has pretty much destroyed its environment and corrupted all sense of morals in the country.

Ever read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”? Ever look into the British Industrial Revolution?

March 1, 2008 @ 1:16 am | Comment

@Si,

democracy isn’t about economic growth – it is about the basic human diginity of having the right to have a say in the running of the country you live in without having to sign up to a certain ideology

You’re absolutely right about that. That’s exactly what democracy is, and that’s exactly why there is such a disconnect between the developed and developing world.

What’s dignified about growing up in an Indian slum, even if you “have a say in the running of the country”? What’s dignified about growing up homeless in a Rio slum gang, just because you are “free” from government oppression?

Here’s a Chinese saying for you: ±¥ºº²»Öª¶öºº¼¢¡£”A full man can’t know the desperation of the hungry man.”

Are you American, Si? I don’t get the impression that you are. But let me bring up a facet of American society that I’d like you to explain.

Mexican migrants, in the millions, have crossed the border illegally into the United States. There, they will live away from their families for years at a time. They will toil in back-breaking menial labor that Americans won’t do, at comparable wages. They will have zero access to medical insurance or health care. They will have no legal protection from an abusive employer. They can be deported at any instant; their property/job/friends lost. And obviously, they don’t have any political rights.

What do you think motivates them? They have the dignity of a democracy government that they can participate in at home, in Mexico. Why do you think they leave that “dignity” behind, and instead choose to live and work like animals in a distant land where they have no dignity, political or otherwise, at all?

March 1, 2008 @ 1:30 am | Comment

@CCT

“(I could also mention the slave trade, the opium trade, colonialism, and genocide of the native population is no longer acceptable behavior in the 21st century… but that’s a different topic.)”

You could, but those activities have been going on in the human race before anyone had a writing system. The US and UK actually started shedding that behavior in the 1850s.

“And what about today? What can Bangladesh possibly do to overwhelm the rest of the world in terms of economic efficiency?”

Bangladesh is hopeless, if for no other reason than getting smashed by numerous typhoons every year. Its like living in New Orleans and getting one Katrina plus a few smaller ones on a regular basis.

“if political reforms that helped countries “weather economic downturns” eventually leads to economic strength… then what in your opinion has gone wrong in the 3rd world over the past 50 years? What’s wrong with Brazil, Mexico, and India?”

They have only begun to make real political reforms, plus they were caught up in the US/USSR struggle. Brazil has world leading technologies in biofuel technologies that not even the US or EU have, China has nothing at that level. Another problem with both Brazil and Mexico is that their poor barely even count as people, in Mexico local censuses often do not count the poor, mostly indigenous people.

“China’s growth has pretty much destroyed its environment and corrupted all sense of morals in the country.

Ever read Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle”? Ever look into the British Industrial Revolution? ”

And we fixed our own problems, what’s China’s excuse? Especially since China and others have ready access to the West’s experiences in reform.

March 1, 2008 @ 3:16 am | Comment

@nanheyangrouchuan,

I don’t even know what to say in response to you, because you aren’t engaging me on the substance of what I said.

I’m not looking to give the United States and the UK a black-eye for colonialism and slavery; I’m just reiterating that the economic path these countries took to “developed” status isn’t available to developing countries in modern developing countries. Is that clear?

I’m also not ready to dismiss Bangladesh entirely. If the Netherlands can become wealthy while existing below sea level; if Israel can flourish on the edge of a salty desert… Bangladesh isn’t “hopeless”. It needs wealth. Is that clear?

As far as Brazil/Mexico/India… you say they have “only begun” to make “real” political reforms. What real political reforms are you referring to? What are the new political solutions that these countries are trying now that have not been tried before?

And if democratic Brazil and Mexico doesn’t count the poor as people… will a democratic China be any different? Do you believe a democratic China would be better than a democratic Brazil or Mexico? And why?

And we fixed our own problems, what’s China’s excuse? Especially since China and others have ready access to the West’s experiences in reform.
Time. China’s excuse is that it hasn’t had enough time, and that it needs time. China’s excuse is that when China is finally as rich on a per capita basis as the United States was in the 1930s or 1940s (and it’s not there yet), we can finally address some of these problems. China’s excuse is that no one else on this planet has been able to follow the West’s rise to success, if they engage in political reforms too early.

March 1, 2008 @ 3:39 am | Comment

One thing that I think we got to consider here is that life almost everywhere, for the last fifty years has been getting steadily better for almost everyone, under both dictatorships and democracies. A lot of this is attributable directly to technology (the green revolution in India and elsewhere), but its also partly because we?ve stopped killing each other at such an amazing rate and settled down enough to concentrate more on producing things for each other (in other words let our economies grow). The exceptions are all democracies where an election derailed a government and civil war ensued (Kenya at the moment), dictatorships where you have a Pol Pot Caligula type in, like I?ve argued before (Zimbabwe and North Korea are the best examples right now), or are communist and post communist states that were so badly managed they?re still in a state of collapse (Russia). It?s relative of course; in India you still might be living a danger ridden existence with no modern amenities but you?re not in immediate danger of starving to death, in China you?re working ridiculous hours in a sweatshop but now you?re whole family doesn?t have to work to scratch out an existence from tiny plot of land with no electricity or running water.
Some of our disagreements here come from the ambiguity of developed vs developing. When exactly did Taiwan become a ?developed? nation? Life has been steadily improving at least since Chiang Kai Shek bit the bullet, and continues to do so, albeit at a decelerated pace in the past few years (which I believe has a lot more to do with A-bian?s protectionist policies than anything else). Human ingenuity is quite incredible really. I think that as long as we?re not killing or terrorising each other, we will find ways to make our lives better.
And to give the devil his due here, the post-Mao CCP has done nothing more laudable than to seriously restrict their killing and terrorising.

March 1, 2008 @ 3:42 am | Comment

@Lime,

“One thing that I think we got to consider here is that life almost everywhere, for the last fifty years has been getting steadily better for almost everyone, under both dictatorships and democracies.”

Sorry Lime, I can’t agree.

http://hdr.undp.org/en/media/hdr03-summary.pdf

More than 1.2 billion people¡ªone in every five
on Earth¡ªsurvive on less than $1 a day. During
the 1990s the share of people suffering from
extreme income poverty fell from 30% to 23%.
But with a growing world population, the number
fell by just 123 million¡ªa small fraction of
the progress needed to eliminate poverty. And excluding China, the number of extremely poor people actually increased by 28 million.

South and East Asia contain the largest numbers
of people in income poverty, though both regions
have recently made impressive gains. As
noted, in the 1990s China lifted 150 million people¡ª12% of the population¡ªout of poverty,
halving its incidence. But in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Arab States, Central and Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa the number of people surviving on less than $1 a day increased.

If you take a big picture view, things have improved on average over the past 50 years. We’re human beings; history is going forward, and we’re supposed to be making things better.

But suffice it to say that this progress is intolerably slow, and often negative, for much of the world.

March 1, 2008 @ 4:57 am | Comment

Crap. That last post is horribly formatted. I hope one of the moderators will be kind enough to fix it for me.

When exactly did Taiwan become a ?developed? nation? Life has been steadily improving at least since Chiang Kai Shek bit the bullet,
Depends on how you define “life improving”, but from an economic growth point of view, the fastest GDP growth by far for Taiwan came during the CKS era.

I didn’t correct you when you made an allusion to this yesterday… but actually, Taiwan had a GDP per capita that was about 20% greater than South Korea when it finally adopted democratic reforms in the early ’90s. In other words, Taiwan was even more developed than South Korea.

March 1, 2008 @ 5:02 am | Comment

@CCT:

We play on my field, not yours.

“I’m just reiterating that the economic path these countries took to “developed” status isn’t available to developing countries in modern developing countries. Is that clear?”

These “developing” countries have been around for a long time and still can’t get it right.

“Bangladesh isn’t “hopeless”. It needs wealth. Is that clear?”

Apparently you can’t grasp the effect of one small country at sea level being repeatedly hit directly by typhoons. The Netherlands had the luxury of being nestled in Europe and had access to capital and technology to build its barriers and flood control systems.

“As far as Brazil/Mexico/India… you say they have “only begun” to make “real” political reforms. What real political reforms are you referring to?”

Putting power behind the courts, standing up to crime lords, making the military obey the civilian leadership. How about those reforms, reforms China has yet to undertake.

“Time. China’s excuse is that it hasn’t had enough time, and that it needs time. China’s excuse is that when China is finally as rich on a per capita basis as the United States was in the 1930s or 1940s”

Time is just a weak excuse, especially from a country that claims to have invented the sun, moon and stars and sliced bread.

“China’s excuse is that no one else on this planet has been able to follow the West’s rise to success, if they engage in political reforms too early.”

China’s excuse is its defense for its own lack of true progress and its own apparent failings. To say that everyone must endure unending authoritarianism, social chaos, abuse and neglect. How do you explain African nations like Kenya, whose GDP is far below China’s, but are experiencing a domestic renaissance through democracy, good governance and even handed rule of law. They are far from perfect but they are improving their lives in a more organic and sustainable fashion without big shopping malls, shoddy local products and car choked streets.

March 1, 2008 @ 2:55 pm | Comment

I don’t disagree completely with your assessment but..

“They are far from perfect” is not very specific. Kenya’s crime, poverty, AIDS rate, income inequality, corruption, are all ridiculous and far surpass that of China’s even at a similar time. Every advantage they have is thanks to a large amount of natural resources, a smaller population and the huge amount of aid given to them in the past.

March 2, 2008 @ 12:24 am | Comment

“It depends on what you mean by democracy. However the notion that every person over a certain age has equally valid opinions, and should thus be entitled to an equal vote, is fundamentally idiotic imo. The poll in the original post shows this well; at least 40% of Americans and people in general are dumb.”

Do you belong to those 40 %? And if the USA are so bad, why don’t you just go back to your great motherland? Maybe those foreign teachers you detest so much have more guts than you have?
And by the way,

“Not only are you a dumbass, but a filthy lying whore subhuman. Get cancer and die.

Posted by: ferins at December 23, 2007 03:54 AM”

Two simple questions:

1. Why hasn’t Ferin been banned yet, while so many other people have?

2. Why hasn’t the comment above been deleted yet? Not vile enough?

March 2, 2008 @ 10:13 am | Comment

If China is so bad why don’t you go back to your country? 🙂

March 3, 2008 @ 12:06 am | Comment

You really belong to those 40% of people who “in general are dumb.” You pathetic little troll just make assumptions without knowing anything. I’ve left China before I even started talking to you. Still, I would like to point out that I’ve never talked about China the way you keep talking about the USA.

March 3, 2008 @ 5:16 am | Comment

Are we all lost in “translation” now? I cannot believe that almost all the comments assume China will continue with at least 8% growth for the next 50 years. That is absurd!

First, the country doesn’t have any more resources to support the growth. Water, which is extremely critical in a country’s development, is a scarce resource in China, almost to the extent of “extinction.” If you had the chance to travel close above the ground throughout differenct provinces and cities in China, you would easily observe that the rivers are completely dry, and water reservoirs are so depleted that make one wonder if this country is actually in crisis stage. But because the government controls the medias, as well as China hype, people don’t seem to observe anything anymore.

Second, the banking systems are bankrupt. Yet, the Chinese government has successfully arranged to buy the problem loans prior going public, then has them listed in overseas (perhaps Hong Kong is no longer considered overseas anymore). As long as the managements of those banks are appointed by the government, or controlled by them, then the problem will be “repurchased” again. In essence, what I am saying is that the financial books are “cooked.” I actually think those US investment banks should be brought to accountable to US investors should one day these bankrupt banks face problems again.

There are many crisis that this country are seriously facing. I think if this country does not become chaotic within the next 15 years, the Chinese should feel lucky and we should feel the same way too, as the repercussion will be so immense because of the interconnectivity.

We are dealing with a different kind of “animal” in China. Our perception as we are used to in the west is not applicable in China. In China, an animal that waddles like a duck and looks like a duck, is definitely not a duck; otherwise, it will not look and waddle like a duck.

The country and the people (not all the Chinese people, of course) have brought the arts of mimicry to the highest level.

I hope people in the west are more cautious in their investment. It is after all not easy to understand this country.

Please don’t see this writting in the context that I don’t like China, or anything like that. I just want the truth to be known, as I deplore the propaganda that the country is specializing, to cheat its citizen and us who are living in open society.

March 3, 2008 @ 11:26 am | Comment

@JXie,
I wondered if that was you! How’s life?

I dropped out of CDF a while back when work got more intense, and frankly there was too much posting as a matter of record rather than actual discussion going on.

Other than that, not much has changed.

.

@CCT,

I didn’t mean to imply that BECAUSE Japan ran into a wall in the 190s, therefore so did Taiwan. No need for any link between the two at all, aside from the usual trade and investment flows.

On the democracy issue, you are making a circumstantial case, and presenting it as if there were facts to back it up. They’re aren’t, and that’s why I called you on it.

On the topic of successful nations that adopted democracy early on, my first thought was “what defines early” ? Japan is a very old nation, but might be considered to have adopted democracy “early” (if we can agree what that means), and certainly has to be said to be successful. All of Eastern Europe, however, was under authoritarian leadership and not a single one would be considered to be even close to an East Asian standard of “success.”

.

@Si,

You make a good point about government and growth. In my view (and, there is plenty of evidence to back it up), policy choices favoring greater freedom of trade and investment are the main reason why some nations succeed, and choices against globalization are why some nations fail.

Pick a hundred nations. Put them on a line as to more or less economic freedom. Match the ranking with standards of living (caloric intake, GDP at PPP, whatever). Find any examples of countries more successful with less freedom to trade and invest.

Globalization leads to prosperity.
Winners all around.
Test it yourself.

(CCT: that’s an answer to your question: “what in your opinion has gone wrong in the 3rd world over the past 50 years?” — not enough globalization.)

.

@Lime,
“One thing that I think we got to consider here is that life almost everywhere, for the last fifty years has been getting steadily better for almost everyone, under both dictatorships and democracies.”

Amen.
When 3 billion people in poverty become 2 billion, over just 10 years, man that’s amazing.
When someone has to exclude the most successful poverty fighting nation (China) in order to “prove” that Things Are Getting Worse, that’s just propaganda. (Hey there, CCT !)

.

@mor

Let’s all remember than 40% of the people are below average . . .

March 3, 2008 @ 11:39 am | Comment

@cct

you are saying that given the choice between two democracies a mexican will choose the richer of the two? what a surprise. what you also fail to mention is that mexicans born in the us are americans, and that mexicans have been agitating (successfully) for greater rights in the us. in the long term, there is a pay off in both economic, political and social freedoms.

as you say, i am not an american, i am english, so i have little knowledge of mexico.

@dor

those figures pointing to open economies being successful are a bit of a misnomer, as economies become open after they become successful. the us and the uk protected their economies to a large degree until they were in a position of absolute dominance.

@everyone

the reason these countries are still poor are multiple and complex but include geographic location, lack of intellectual and material resources, lack of investment, chronic corruption and debt (africa is an annual net exporter of currency, the amount of aid going to the continent does not even cover the interest of the money owed)

to reduce such complexities to a simplistic explanation of govt/economy is ridiculous.

March 3, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Comment

I agree with Mor’s comment about Ferin. Ferin, you need to understand that this blog is significantly more intellectual than you are probably familiar with. You cannot resolve any issue or engage in any discussion by using blatant abusive words and asking Mor to leave China. What the heck do you think you are? You should stay with the average Chinese blogs that have prevalent use of “four-letter” words and unrestraint nationalistic ferver, to the extent of a “frog in the well” syndrome.

But people like Ferin are common and abundant in China, as well as the Chinese from China who are now residing in Singapore, US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and other western countries. They are extremely nationalistic; yet for economic reasons, they live overseas and desperately continue to apply their relatives to migrate to overseas. I deplore them. I think they are cowards. But on the bigger issue, these nationalistic Chinese will eventually create problems to the structure of world order as we know it now.
We should devote more discussions on the implication of this nationalistic Chinese and its impact to the world, because we might need to detect early to avoid any potential or even looming “dark cloud” that happened in early 20th century. Everything starts from attitude and perception, and the symtoms are abundantly clear. My question is simply: This dogmatic driven nationalistic ferver of the Chinese in China or the Chinese who currently live overseas but born in China will it result to sufferings and pains to others in the future?

March 3, 2008 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

@Si,

Which came first, the dramatic increase in standards of living such as the world has never seen in all of human history, or trade and investment liberalization policies?

My history and economic textbooks say it was policy that drove development, not the other way around.

And, if the reasons countries are poor are (in your order) geographic location, lace of intellectual and material resources, lack of investment, etc, etc, then we certainly wouldn’t have expected Hong Kong or Singapore to have made it, would we?

The corruption angle is a direct hit: no highly successful economies are among the more corrupt, and all very unsuccessful ones are.

Compare South Korea and Pakistan.

= = = = = = = = = =

@Arbutus,

Your bigotry is showing.

March 4, 2008 @ 10:25 am | Comment

DOR, life is good… Have done a lot of traveling in the past few years. Currently in the process of moving my base to China. This is it! I’ve seen the light. Every time I go to China, the optimism and naked energy remind me of the 90s bull market is the US, but ironically can’t be found in the US any more. Of course, the successes of some of my friends certainly make that decision much easier.

From my vintage point, the currency, the business environment, the labor force, the infrastructure, etc. in China today all scream the likelihood of the greatest bull run we’ll ever see. I will be damned if I am not a part of it.

To supplement your point, I think engaging in trading, entrepreneurial culture, saving/investment, and emphasis on education are what advance a nation’s living standard.

March 4, 2008 @ 11:52 am | Comment

@dor

which countries are you referring to when you talk of a dramatic increase in living standards?

presumably you don’t mean africa, the asian countries’ main economic boom came when their economies were protected (the chinese economy still is very protected and the govt is dragging their heels over the implementation of certain wto rules) and obviously the west benefitted from being able move money in quickly producing a short lived boom and then pulling it out, causing a major problem. the poor suffer, the west gets the profits.

hong kong and singapore are both reasonably well located – they are ports near the pacific ocean meaning any goods produced can be moved cheaply. they had significant foreign investment, a well educated workforce and benefitted from the largesse of western countries during the cold war as they were seen as bastions against the red menace. the order i gave was not in order of importance, but the order in which they occurred to me.

regrading arbutus, (s)he is clearly not a bigot as (s)he does refer to the nationalist chinese which are a concern, rather than the chinese overall. i think we can debate how common people like that are in china, but arbutus does not say all chinese are like that. we should assume good faith.

March 4, 2008 @ 5:10 pm | Comment

@Si,

> you are saying that given the choice between two democracies a mexican will choose the richer of the two?

No, not at all. I’m saying a Mexican will choose a life in purgatory, where they’re denied all political and civil rights, just to work and live in a richer country. I think that’s significant.. don’t you?

(A majority of Mexican migrant workers don’t settle in the United States and acquire citizenship.)

March 5, 2008 @ 1:51 am | Comment

To Jxie: You are evidently excited about China. Everyone (yes, almost all) is excited when one travels, either for business or visit, to China, because the contrast and the attitude that everything is doable. Labour is cheap.

But wait until you pass the first stage of setting your business. The first stage is exciting because you only spend money, on investment, on hiring, on getting the licenses etc. The local people are good in making people to be “convinced” and “excited” about the future prospect. Once you are in, the ballgame changes dramatically. There is no rule, and the Chinese government doesn’t follow rules or regulations – It simply CREATES them to protect the locals to squeeze you. Watch out! I am speaking from experiences but I was in Beijing, where the business bureaucracies are notoriously more complicated and infamous for the “attitudes.” Don’t even think that because you are a Chinese decent, you are EXEMPTED. Stay in Shanghai or the south.

To Dor: Bigotry! Anybody who criticizes China is a bigot. What an attitude!

Let’s have the facts straight. Almost all the Chinese from China (different than the diaspora Chinese from Singapore, Taiwan, or HongKong) only had the opportunities to study in the US because of the full scholarships from the US higher learning institutions, followed with the jobs offered and subsequent sponsorships to get green cards, and finally to be the citizens. These generosities of the US institutions and citizens led many of these Chinese to the dramatic life changes to the better – I might say that it is a turning point. However, what puzzles me is the attitude that being a Chinese decent, one should be a nationalist, by showing his/her negativities toward western culture, western countries, especially the US, when he/she speaks among the Chinese officials, and the local Chinese people, stirring further resentment and another full cycle of antiwest feeling. In my opinion that is bigotry and sychophant (I hope the spelling is correct).
As clashes of ideas and perceptions are inevitable in this era, and might be positive if openly discussed, but being nationalistic, especially a narrow-minded nationalistic attitude or pervertly so, only increases the potential conflict. If you believe in free choice and free will, you might want to consider my points, not directly jump to the conclusion that I am a bigot. Just to let you know that I had sponsored two Chinese to study overseas, so I have no grudges on the Chinese people, but I certainly resent the stupidity and the lack of sense of right and wrong of this nationalistic attitude that seems so prevalent , and growing exponentially in China.

To Others: Learn Chinese and try to reach a higher understanding of China. It is a very complicated country, plenty of industrious Chinese, plenty of Chinese who want to progress, plenty of unscrupulous business people, 99.999% of government officials are corrupt and rotten; many Chinese have suppressed nationalistic feeling toward foreigners disguised under smile and politeness, but will talk openly about it after a few drinks among the same kind; many feel China will bypass the west soon and be the real power — I think the government propaganda and education system produce this attitude. Check their mandatory political and history subjects in their high schools and universities to believe me. It is scary that the education concept brainwashes the students to feel that China is the best and other countries are imitating China. Simply put, China is extremely complex; go beyond the smile and the enterpreneur spirit that are commonly encountered in major Chinese cities. Afterall, if one is not careful, our children might have to face the consequences, whatever it is.

As I said before, I want people to be aware the real China, the good as well as the bad part, because it is a big country with a huge population that can destabilize others when it goes against the norm, or benefit the world if it pursues a positive change that increases its citizen’s ability to think right and wrong, fair play, and treat equally other citizens and their businesses.

To the overseas Chinese holding the passports of US or other western countries: you are also being discriminated by the Chinese government and the people in China in general. You know it because you understand their mentality, so don’t be ignorant and blindly stick with this nationalist attitude that might endanger your and your decendants’ future. Your best bet, I think, is still to be wisely loyal to your adopted countries where you can exerecise your judgement of right and wrong, and freely express your opinions, which you can not do in China for a very very long time to come.

March 5, 2008 @ 2:07 am | Comment

@Si,

If you saw a country that looked like this over a 10-15 year period . . .

31.3% increase in per capita protein supply;
9.3% rise in caloric intake;
10.0% rise in rural access to safe water;
39.5% drop in infant mortality;
44.9% drop in under-5 mortality;
41.1% drop in maternal mortality;
69.8% drop in the number of people living below the poverty line;
An increase from 75% to 100% in the ratio of girls-to-boys in secondary school and from 52% to 95% at the tertiary level.

. . . would you call that a successful increase in standards of living?

See http://www.adb.org for the raw data on which to do your own calculations.

– – – – –

— China’s economy opened far faster than any other emerging economy in the post-WWII era.
— Hong Kong was the famous “barren rock” before free trade and investment were introduced.
—Singapore was a malarial jungle.

Add open markets and stand back . . .

– – – – –

@Arbutus

I didn’t call you a bigot because you criticized China; in fact, you didn’t.

Rather, it was the sweeping generalizations about people that led me to that conclusion.

If you make, broad statements about “people like XXXXX are common and abundant in China;” “the Chinese from China who are now residing in Singapore, US, Canada, Australia, Japan, and other western countries;” and then conclude with “I deplore them. I think they are cowards,” well, in my book that’s what I call a BIGOT.

More?

“Almost all the Chinese from China . . . ”
“99.999% of government officials are corrupt and rotten”
“many Chinese have suppressed nationalistic feeling toward foreigners disguised under smile and politeness,”

What next? Shuffle their feet when they walk? Lazy? Shifty?

– – – – – – – – – –

“Learn Chinese and try to reach a higher understanding of China.”
Been there, done that since 1979.
Still there, still doing that in 2008.

= = = = = = = = = =

JXie,

Best of luck in China! But, remember the outcome of that 1990s bubble . . . China has not yet had its own financial crisis, but it will.

March 5, 2008 @ 11:55 am | Comment

@JXie,

Great stuff! Best of luck to you. I’ve seen your writings online for years, and I’m sure you’ll do well.

Just keep in mind that China is 1.3 billion people, and you’re only one. Based on sheer mass alone, China will change you more than you can change it.

Just focus on taking care of business and succeeding at your personal ventures and tasks… and be confident that in some small way, your presence will certainly change China for the better.

March 5, 2008 @ 2:03 pm | Comment

@dor

i am unconvinced that you are interested in debating with me as you are simply bringing out statistics (though of which country you don’t say) that you feel support your argument without engaging with any of my points.

you have no comments on africa, none on my contention that the asian economies main boom occurred when closed, no source for the assertion that “China’s economy opened far faster than any other emerging economy in the post-WWII era.” and no comments on my comments regarding the asian financial crisis.

i believe your contention is deeply simplistic and there is nothing you have written that is convincing me otherwise.

@cct

“No, not at all. I’m saying a Mexican will choose a life in purgatory, where they’re denied all political and civil rights, just to work and live in a richer country. I think that’s significant.. don’t you?

(A majority of Mexican migrant workers don’t settle in the United States and acquire citizenship.)”

so you are arguing that mexicans will suck it up for a few years before returning to mexico, where they enjoy rights again. don’t you think this defeats your initial argument? if money is all they want and are not concerned about their rights why don’t they stay in the us where they are richer but have no rights?
all you are really arguing is that mexicans are willing to suffer for a few years to save a bit of money. sure. this is hardly justifying people living continually under an oppressive system, is it?

March 5, 2008 @ 10:23 pm | Comment

@Si,

> all you are really arguing is that mexicans are willing to suffer for a few years to save a bit of money. sure. this is hardly justifying people living continually under an oppressive system, is it?

What’s the distinction? If a man will “suffer” say, 5, 10, 20 years in order to save “a bit of money”… where’s the cut off?

Are you familiar with the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882? Over 100,000 Chinese came to the United States in the late 19th century. The Chinese Exclusion Act expressly denied them citizenship for the next 60 years, finally repealed in 1943. The Chinese continued to emigrate to the United States whenever possible for the economic opportunities alone.

March 6, 2008 @ 1:47 am | Comment

@Si,

That bit about the stats, well, I should apologize for that.
It wasn’t fair.
See, in the area of comparative economic development, the experts who pay attention to this stuff for a living would have instantly said, “Oh, you mean China, right?”

And, the bit about corruption had Africa written all over it.
As for the “Asia only boomed when it was closed,” that was dealt with in the three lines on China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The bit about China’s economy opening faster (and further) than any other is simply historical fact. Get an advanced degree in East Asia’s development since WWII and you won’t have to ask.

Sorry, I sometimes forget to be more specific with laymen.

March 6, 2008 @ 9:29 am | Comment

@cct

the distinction is between a temporary and a permanent situation. i think we are arguing each other to a stand still and losing the main initial point. my initial point was that economic development and democracy are not interlinked – human rights are a stand alone issue. your contention remains that some people will put up with a lack of human rights in order to profit – fair enough, but it does not deal with my central point. i think you have to show that a lack of human rights and economic development must go hand in hand to prove your point.

@dor

that was probably one of the most patronising comments i have ever read on this blog (which is saying something), so unless you can deliver on your arguments rather than talking to me like i am a dim witted primary school student, i don’t see how i can respond to you again. spare me the shit about the advanced degree, everyone has a phd on the internet. (you also assume i don’t have an advanced degree, how amusing!)

much of china’s boom is of course to do with coming more open. but it also has to do with the very low level of welfare after the cultural revolution, so achievements look that much more impressive. also china’s poverty line is $1 a day, rather than the usual $2 a day, which helps the figures. you didn’t date the statistics, are they before or after the recent announcement that china’s economy is 40% smaller than previously thought? perhaps a link to your killer statistics might help in the future. i was interested in your statistics – why is a 31.3% rise in protein supply particularly good? it could just mean people are eating more and getting fat. furthermore, supply does not mean consumption and it could also simply mean that it grew from a very low base. if the base was low enough, a 31.3% rise might not be especially great. also an average doesn’t deal with the enormous differences between urban and rural development.

anyway, the real issue is that the chinese economy remains closed to a large degree, which you should know, given your “advanced degree”. if the ccp was really committed to open markets they would let the rmb float and open their companies to all competition. they don’t do this – not really the stuff of libertarian economic wet dreams, is it?

you also ignore the fact that taiwan, japan and korea all remain closed for a long time, and it was after economies opened in asia that there was the asian financial crisis. china’s avoidance of this crisis was due to the govt control and lack of openness. ha joon chang, amongst others, has written compellingly about this. given you have an advanced degree, i was surprised you didn’t spot this (i take it you have read his stuff, given he is one of the leading development economists in the world) and have a better counter argument.

i am glad that you feel that you can deal with the entireity of the far east (in three lines no less – how brilliant you are) by pointing to china, singapore and hong kong. apart from the fact you are wrong about china being open, you have left out the three countries previously mentioned and most of se asia. i accept that hong kong and singapore boomed when open but they are exceptions to the rule. they also comprise of 20 million people total, which is hardly demonstrative of the entirety of the far east, let alone of developing countries. you also need to acknowledge how far china has opened.

you also neglect the role of the us in development in the far east – they extended a largesse to the area that wasn’t forthcoming for south america or africa. us aid to korea from the 50s to the 80s exceeded their total aid to the entire african continent. again you presumably know this, with your advanced degree. a pity you didn’t explain why you feel this is an amazing example of non govt interference. perhaps this is because it isn’t.

i think that it might a good time to put down your copy of Thomas Friedman and engage with the complex issues and alternative viewpoints rather than patronisingly dismiss them without considering them. personally, i find it hard to believe you have an advanced degree in the subject area, as you appeared to be ignorant of my viewpoint, which is by no means a rare argument within the development field. your inability to deal with my responses says more about your ignorance of the field than it does mine. i hope you can be a little less arrogant, rude and dismissive in the future, as this is not a sign of knowledge but of ignorance. if you really knew your stuff you’d be able to answer me in greater depth rather than give shallow three line dismissal. if i am wrong i am perhaps more likely to accept your arguments if they are delivered in a well mannered and persuasive manner, rather than in your off hand and dismissive style.

apologies for the long post

March 6, 2008 @ 5:08 pm | Comment

@cct

the distinction is between a temporary and a permanent situation. i think we are arguing each other to a stand still and losing the main initial point. my initial point was that economic development and democracy are not interlinked – human rights are a stand alone issue. your contention remains that some people will put up with a lack of human rights in order to profit – fair enough, but it does not deal with my central point. i think you have to show that a lack of human rights and economic development must go hand in hand to prove your point.

@dor

that was probably one of the most patronising comments i have ever read on this blog (which is saying something), so unless you can deliver on your arguments rather than talking to me like i am a dim witted primary school student, i don’t see how i can respond to you again. spare me the shit about the advanced degree, everyone has a phd on the internet. (you also assume i don’t have an advanced degree, how amusing!)

much of china’s boom is of course to do with coming more open. but it also has to do with the very low level of welfare after the cultural revolution, so achievements look that much more impressive. also china’s poverty line is $1 a day, rather than the usual $2 a day, which helps the figures. you didn’t date the statistics, are they before or after the recent announcement that china’s economy is 40% smaller than previously thought? perhaps a link to your killer statistics might help in the future, so i can all of them and not just the ones you choose to highlight. i was interested in your statistics – why is a 31.3% rise in protein supply particularly good? it could just mean people are eating more and getting fat. furthermore, supply does not mean consumption and it could also simply mean that it grew from a very low base. if the base was low enough, a 31.3% rise might not be especially great. also an average doesn’t deal with the enormous differences between urban and rural development.

anyway, the real issue is that the chinese economy remains closed to a large degree, which you should know, given your “advanced degree”. if the ccp was really committed to open markets they would let the rmb float and open their companies to all competition. they don’t do this – not really the stuff of libertarian economic wet dreams, is it?

you also ignore the fact that taiwan, japan and korea all remain closed for a long time, and it was after economies opened in asia that there was the asian financial crisis. china’s avoidance of this crisis was due to the govt control and lack of openness. ha joon chang, amongst others, has written compellingly about this. given you have an advanced degree, i was surprised you didn’t spot this (i take it you have read his stuff, given he is one of the leading development economists in the world) and have a better counter argument.

i am glad that you feel that you can deal with the entireity of the far east (in three lines no less – how brilliant you are) by pointing to china, singapore and hong kong. apart from the fact you are wrong about china being open, you have left out the three countries previously mentioned and most of se asia. i accept that hong kong and singapore boomed when open but they are exceptions to the rule. they also comprise of 20 million people total, which is hardly demonstrative of the entirety of the far east, let alone of developing countries. you also need to acknowledge how far china has opened.

you also neglect the role of the us in development in the far east – they extended a largesse to the area that wasn’t forthcoming for south america or africa. us aid to korea from the 50s to the 80s exceeded their total aid to the entire african continent. again you presumably know this, with your advanced degree. a pity you didn’t explain why you feel this is an amazing example of non govt interference. perhaps this is because it isn’t.

i think that it might a good time to put down your copy of Thomas Friedman and engage with the complex issues and alternative viewpoints rather than patronisingly dismiss them without considering them. personally, i find it hard to believe you have an advanced degree in the subject area, as you appeared to be ignorant of my viewpoint, which is by no means a rare argument within the development field. your inability to deal with my responses says more about your ignorance of the field than it does mine. i hope you can be a little less arrogant, rude and dismissive in the future, as this is not a sign of knowledge but of ignorance. if you really knew your stuff you’d be able to answer me in greater depth rather than give shallow three line dismissal. if i am wrong i am perhaps more likely to accept your arguments if they are delivered in a well mannered and persuasive manner, rather than in your off hand and dismissive style.

apologies for the long post.

March 6, 2008 @ 6:42 pm | Comment

sorry for the double post – it didn’t seem to come up so i posted again.

Oops! Sorry….

March 6, 2008 @ 6:43 pm | Comment

To Dor: I pondered your view about my bigotry. I didn’t make a generalized statement. Aren’t my observations correct though.. that 99.999% government officials are corrupt, etc. I stated that most of the Chinese are industrious, NOT LAZY, as you claimed I did. However, I didn’t want to dwell on your absurd contention, as I realise that one’s opinion is often linked with his/her livelihood. And I respect that choice. I just wonder how you do come out with your observations that they shuffle their feet when they are walking and shifty. I don’t see those points.

To others: If you love the great-looking China statistics so much, it is because you are inclined toward interpreting them that way.
If you looked at the numbers from Indonesia prior the 1997 financial crisis, it was even more impressive than China, except the growth rate (Indonesia’a average growth rate was 7-8% vs China’s 10-11%). The reduction of poverty level, increase of education level, electricity, sanitary conditions, etc, were all so impressive; it becomes the “darling” of World Bank and ADB. But, look where it is now! Therefore, assuming that China will continue to grow at current level and be the most powerful economic giant in the next 15-20 years are merely certain people’s wishful thinking, ignorant of other social issues that are so abundantly clear if one travel around China, visit the factories, schools, and talk with local government officials, and set up and grow the businesses. Looking and interpreting the statistics in China could easily veer one to the wrong conclusion. Foremost, China is a “Controlled State” where figures are “massaged” plus no opposition to challenge the outcome when and if needed.

Second, the education system in many part of China is falling fast. In fact, statistically the majority of schools in China are complete failure (I know DOR will immediately say I am a bigot, but I doubt if he has travelled to many rural areas). China is more than Shanghai, and the coastal cities. Shanghai has benefited from the colonial past. The people are exceptionally progressive, unlike many other parts of China. If you visited schools in rural China, you would be lucky to see 2 to 3 teachers, out of 10 to 15 who draw the salaries. These children are losing the head-start as human beings, especially comparing their compatriots in the cities, perpetuating permanent discrepencies in income levels. If you want to provide any assistances to these schools, you need to get approvals from god knows where, from one approval to another, BUT most important is there should be “meat” to the principles. Even in Beijing, in ShunYi areas you still encounter this mentality, let alone in western regions. Of course, if you notify your visit ahead of time, with your “meat” to the officials and principles, you will be welcome by school bands and smiling students and neat-looking teachers who don’t know where the restrooms are.

Go and visit the rural areas of Hunan, Henan, and the surrounding provinces, open your car windows, see if you can breath. The chemical pollutions are so bad that your eyes become red and mist, and you are choked. The brooks and other irrigation streams are full of chemical waste; they are foamy black or green or red, meandering to crop plantation areas and withering some. The residents there can not complaint to anybody, so much for the greatness of CCP and the egos of the nationalistic Chinese. To satisfy your nationalistic ego, your people suffer; that is what I call bigot.

Go to the suburbs of KunMing, ChengDe, GuangXi, and others, kids of 14 to 17 years old roam the street after 10 pm, drinking and taking drugs ( I forget what the name is) and partying till dawn. Yes, this is China. These kids are left behind. But this information will not appear in the controlled media, and your statistics don’t show up either.

Please visit their food and drugs companies. While some have dramatically improved over the last two years, the majorities are so pathetic! The restrooms remain infamous and the staff go in and out the restroom with the same clothings without washing their hands, and those white clothings are actually brownish. I therefore am not surprise that there are so many problems in their food and drug chains. But the regulations are tougher than FDA requirements. Simply put, it is to protect its domestic market from foreign competitors, at the immense cost to its citizen.

And, there are many more personal observations that make me conclude that China can not be a superpower within 15-20years. In fact, I think it will shrink; that is, China is at the peak or closer to the peak now considering the next 20 years horizon.

Hardly any economists or academia foresaw the tumble of Indonesia; I fortunately did. And I feel the same way about China now. I do hope that I am wrong though, and China will correct the negativity of central planning.

So, running your statistical figures from your desks make you think that China is a superpower country; visiting her in the field is altogether different.

Good luck with the ongoing statistical discussion.

March 6, 2008 @ 10:37 pm | Comment

@Arbutus,

I personally this second post is far stronger than your previous one.

I agree there are immense challenges facing China today. I agree too that China could very possibly fail to thrive, over the next 2 decades. There are tremendous challenges facing China. And I don’t think anyone in China is remotely complacent.

But frankly, I think China has proven itself able to defeat an impressive list of challenges over the past 20 years. If you could tell me that you predicted, 20 years ago, that China could eliminate vast state-owned enterprises without massive urban unemployment; that there would be 5 million+ university graduates; that the economic situation would be what it is today… I would be more impressed with your prophetic powers. I know very few people in China would’ve predicted it.

By the way, I’ve been to rural Guangxi, Yunnan, Sichuan, Shaanxi, and Jilin.

You’ve listed many of the challenges, but I’m also optimistic things are improving. On the issue of production quality… that’s a product of the developing process. That’s what happens when you have farmers with 3rd grade educations running small factories with single digit margins. Every developing nation has gone through a similar time in their economic growth, and some *do* eventually come through.

On the issue of rural education, I’m especially pleased with the strides China has made on this issue over the past 5 years. For much of the decade, I sponsored 15 girls through 6 years of boarding school in western Sichuan (through a Western charity). It was either that, or they’d continue with their yak-herding nomadic existence. Although I intended to continue my sponsorship indefinitely (on a new cycle of girls)… the program’s been canceled, because they now have government funding.

March 7, 2008 @ 1:41 am | Comment

DOR, sure. When a crisis comes, need to know if that’s a 1987 and 2000 crash. Demographics seem to indicate a 2000 type crash is quite far away.

CCT, I am too old to think I can change the world… I may be able to change myself, and that’s about it.

Arbutus, have you been the same places 30, 20, or 10 years ago, and how sure are you that you saw the forest instead of the trees? You know what, forget I asked. Glad you got everything figured out. I urge you to get all the cash you can get, short FXI and CAF. Don’t waste your vision.

March 7, 2008 @ 9:57 am | Comment

@Si,

Hong Kong and Singapore have “20 million people total” ?
I rest my case.

Your comments made it clear you didn’t know the subject; I do.
On the internet, everyone is a dim-witted primary student, until proven otherwise.

If you were on a medical blog (and I assume you’re not a doctor), would you be spouting off unsubstantiated opinions as if they were fact? How about on a legal blog?

But, here it doesn’t matter, does it. After all, we’re all experts, right? No one could possibly have been living and breathing this subject, right in the middle of it, for the past 25 years, right?

Been there, done that.

– – – – –

Starting at a low base helped China, but not India. Why? Lack of openness, ca. 1978-2000.
Therefore, the low base does not sufficiently explain what happened in China.

.

China’s poverty line is calculated exactly the same way by the ADB and other international organizations, as everyone else’s. There are “national poverty lines,” and in the case of China they tell a slightly different story (68% improvement, if I recall correctly) that is also on the website.

Did you look at http://www.adb.org?

.

I dated the stats: “over a 10-15 year period . . .” If you look at the data, it mostly starts in 1990 and runs to 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 or 2005.

In a blog comment, that’s “over a 10-15 year period . . .”

.

You may have noticed that none of the stats I cited were “as a percent of GDP” or “GDP per capita.” To an economist (that’s me), that means recent revisions to the size of the economy don’t matter.

Caloric intake? Doesn’t go up or down if you restate GDP the way China did.
Infant mortality? Doesn’t go up or down if you restate GDP the way China did.
And on, and on and on

(that’s why I used those bits of data: the GDP data are crap.)

– – – – –

“why is a 31.3% rise in protein supply particularly good? it could just mean people are eating more and getting fat.”

Eating well is good.
Not eating is bad.
One of the most basic ways of identifying and measuring poverty is to look at what people eat. First comes calories, because they’ll keep you alive. Next, protein, for strong bones and teeth. If you live in the Arctic, fat is critical to staying warm . . . but, it isn’t protein.

Real simple stuff.

– – – – –

“anyway, the real issue is that the chinese economy remains closed to a large degree, which you should know, given your “advanced degree”.”

Compared to which emerging economies?
On the basis of what set of data?
Over what period of time?

Perhaps a link to your sources might help in the future.

– – – – –

“if the ccp was really committed to open markets they would let the rmb float and open their companies to all competition.”

I take it macroeconomic management isn’t your strong suit.

Remember what happened when the yen shot up 71.5% in a period of 3-1/2 years following the Plaza Accord? How about the 56.5% rise in the NT$ or the 33.8% rise in the won?

Do you have the slightest idea what happens to an emerging export-oriented economy when the exchange rate floats?

.

Open to competition? What products have you tried to import into China that were turned away at the border, or hit with other barriers that were not related to the price or cost of production?

.

“you also ignore the fact that taiwan, japan and korea all remain closed for a long time, and it was after economies opened in asia that there was the asian financial crisis.”

But, not you! You advocate exactly the same formula for China! Are you trying to induce a financial crisis? Could it be that the reason China’s leaders don’t follow your advice is because of what happened in Taiwan, Korea and Japan?

– – – – –

You said — “perhaps a link to your killer statistics might help in the future.”

I said — “See http://www.adb.org for the raw data on which to do your own calculations.”

How’s the reading comprehension class coming?

– – – – –

Si,

I don’t want to get into a flame war.
I wrote a blog comment, not a PhD dissertation.

Address what I wrote, if you wish, but blaming me for not having critiqued Chang vs. Friedman on the implications of US involvement in East Asia 40 years ago is just silly.

And, if you won’t look at the data yourself, don’t say that it isn’t supportive of what I wrote.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

@Arbutus,

“Aren’t my observations correct though.. that 99.999% government officials are corrupt, etc. correct?”

No.

99.999% of government officials aren’t anything at all.

They are not all rice eaters, tea drinkers or book readers.

That simple generalization is in and of itself the bigotry.

.

And, I didn’t say you said Chinese are lazy, shuffle their feet or are shifty.
I asked if you were going to head in that direction next, didn’t I?

There is a very, very large difference.

– – – – –

There is a difference between a country having an amazingly successful period of development, and perfection. You seem to demand perfection, and all I can say is that you will be disappointed.

March 7, 2008 @ 10:28 am | Comment

@dor

i won’t be rude, so if there is a flame war it won’t come from me. it might be nice if you assume good faith and explain your points rather than being dismissive and haughty. blogs are not going to change people’s minds
but being polite might aid an exchange of information.

perhaps part of the problem is that we are not really seeing each other’s point of view. my understanding of what you are saying is that open markets are always great and that is what every country should do. my contention would be that open markets don’t always work well and that the govt needs to keep control and monitor economic development and how open the economy is. the most developed countries in asia have done this much of the time.

perhaps you also see development purely in terms of economic development, which is fair enough. i see it in terms of human development indexes. in saying i don’t want to get in a pissing war over which is more valid. hence perhaps it is a fundamental misunderstanding going on when you and i use the term “development”.

certainly china’s improvements can be seen as part of their greater openness to international trade. nevertheless cuba has managed better education and health than china without being open. one does not necessarily follow the other, i would argue that there are many factors involved.

anyway i think this thread will be ending shortly.

March 7, 2008 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

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