China: In 2010 Ranked 94 in GDP/ Per Capita
China: More Brawn Than Brain Economy
China: Fears The Consequences of Genuinely Educating Its People
The notion that China is going to replace the United States as sole superpower is possibly the greatest myth of our time.
China lacks superpower qualities, and hasn’t discovered any in its mad dash into capitalism.
China may post impressive, bottom-line numbers, but key numbers are regularly omitted when touting China’s economic rise. In 2010, the IMF ranked China 94th in terms of GDP per capita, with $7,519. It ranked the United States 7th, with $47,284. Even the most vocal proponent of China’s impending hegemony, Martin Jacques, author of "When China Rules the World", concedes that roughly 60 percent of exports in China come from foreign companies. Foreign companies are responsible for 85 percent of all high-tech exports.
Nearly two thirds of China’s populace can be classified as peasants, and, by its own calculation, the Asian nation has the sharpest rich-poor divide in the world, a situation the Chinese themselves are deeply unhappy with.
There are literally tens of thousands of “mass incidents” each year in China, such as demonstrations and strikes. Such incidents regularly involve thousands of angry civilians and hundreds of armed police. According to China’s Ministry of Public Security, there were 87,000 such incidents in 2005, up from 74,000 in 2004.
Indeed, it’s the facts and figures associated with China’s colossal boom that are most disturbing.
Never has there been such a grand industrial experiment, and never has the planet and its inhabitants seen such devastating consequences.
According to the World Bank, China is now the world’s most polluted nation, laying claim to 16 of the 20 most despoiled cities on Earth.
The New York Times has reported that only 1 percent of China’s 560 million urban residents breathe air deemed safe by the European Union, and 500 million Chinese lack access to safe drinking water. Not surprisingly, China’s Ministry of Health now lists cancer as the number one cause of death.
But China’s pollution is something that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. Even in the countryside, air quality can be abysmal (with trees just 50 yards away out of focus), and in cities it can be downright frightening. British writer, Simon Winchester, recently described the toxic pall that habitually loiters over Chongqing (China’s third largest city) as “so dreadful as to be barely credible.”
There are industrial towns in China where it’s rare to see the sun.
Economists might wow about the Communist leviathan’s command economy, but the statistics it produces come at a terrible – perhaps irreversible – cost.
A basic requirement for China’s moving toward anything approaching a superpower would be its evolution from world’s-factory floor to a more-brains-less-brawn economy, but that appears untenable. China’s advancement is hindered by its poorly educated citizenry, and central planning or not, the Chinese government fears the consequences of genuinely educating its people.
"The notion that China is going to replace the United States as sole superpower is possibly the greatest myth of our time."
Superpowers are not built on dollars alone.
Britain wasn’t; neither was the United States.
America owes its superpower status to historical and cultural circumstances: it won WWII and the Cold War and has cultivated its status since with everything from military power to soft power.
Unlike China, America exports its education, values, innovation, and ideas.
It possesses an extensive list of favorable attributes China isn’t even aware of. China’s “ruling the world” ranges between mantra and marketing ploy, and is the wrong lens through which to view that country.
China has become influential and Americans would do well to examine it, but they don’t need to fear being replaced by it.