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ITT: [China] -- All of it

HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
edited March 2012 in Debate and/or Discourse
So China -- and let's be real, pretty much because of events since 1979 -- is a pretty interesting country/civilization. We should talk about it!

China in the international system
So China decided to reword its course of action since the Reform Era from "peaceful rise" to "peaceful development," which kind of hints at the level of attention they're paying to messaging and posture. IR theorists will tell you that the transitional period from a unipolar hegemonic system to a multipolar (or a system of many small poles + one big pole, as Fareed Zakaria puts it) one has traditionally been a very dangerous and volatile time. The possibility of Great Power confrontation seems on the surface to be inevitable -- given things like China's posture on the South China Sea, on natural resources in Africa and South America, and on Taiwan and Tibet -- but lots of IR scholars feel it's just as likely that China will be inducted into the Western liberal order just like everyone else. They feel that the post-WWII Western order is strong enough -- based on its multilateralism, its inclusive liberal values, and on its strict regime of rules -- that it can basically will China into submission. China's induction into the WTO would be evidence of the success of this approach.

China's economy
So this is probably the major reason most people pay attention to China these days -- though to be fair, three decades of roughly 10% average growth (even if it is "just catch-up growth") is pretty impressive. In fact, iirc, it's the greatest period of sustained economic growth in history.

The problem, though, is the "sustained" part. China is already running into problems with inflation and rising labor costs, and has readjusted their growth target for next year to a "meager" 7.5%. Coupled with increased productivity in U.S. manufacturing (thanks largely to automation improvements), outsourcing low-end manufacturing to China isn't the no-brainer it used to be. The problem for China isn't simply a couple of points lost on GDP, though; their problem is that the Chinese population isn't readjusting its expectations. When a sizable number of young Chinese men (due to the results of a couple of decades of their One Child Policy) find out there are no jobs for them, they may not be altogether happy about it, and if events since January of 2010 have shown us anything, it's that large groups of young men with no jobs and poor prospects can be a major force for change, even (and perhaps especially) in authoritarian contexts.

There's a lot more... but it's early in the morning, and I feel like this is enough to get the Conversation Ball™ rolling. :P

Hamurabi on

Posts

  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    Isn't it true that the one child policy only effectively limits about ~30% of the population? If I remember correctly its based on where you live, and theres just a tax if you decide to ignore it(but I think the tax is a moderate amount for each extra child).

    I know after 2-3 generations this ends up destroying the family structure, as the weight of 4-8 grandparents and 2-4 parents in old age fall on the 1 young heir(8/4 if married).

    Do we have any statistics on (I assume would be) the urban spots of china and the gender ratio? Business men have told me in the past two years the regular thing was for the chinese to come here for school, and they bum rush to find a wife to take back with them while they are here because there is noone back home.

    How is the 1 child policy effecting employment rate negatively? Is it assumed that women do not work in their culture? Or do men not work the jobs normally worked by women(y), and therefore overpopulation of men(x) in an economic setup for x/y distribution?

    steam_sig.png
  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_child_policy

    According to that, roughly 35% are subject to it. There are exceptions for rural couples (who iirc can have a second child if their first one is a girl), expats, minorities (so ~9% of the total population), and residents of Hong Kong and Macao. I know that there is a major problem with human trafficking and kidnapping of women as a direct result of the One Child Policy. Clearly, Chinese men are feeling the pinch of a gender imbalance. Here's an animated GIF based on U.N. data; males are left, females right:

    ch_all2.gif

    So the imbalance isn't enormous, but it's there.

  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    Hamurabi wrote:
    China in the international system
    So China decided to reword its course of action since the Reform Era from "peaceful rise" to "peaceful development," which kind of hints at the level of attention they're paying to messaging and posture. IR theorists will tell you that the transitional period from a unipolar hegemonic system to a multipolar (or a system of many small poles + one big pole, as Fareed Zakaria puts it) one has traditionally been a very dangerous and volatile time. The possibility of Great Power confrontation seems on the surface to be inevitable -- given things like China's posture on the South China Sea, on natural resources in Africa and South America, and on Taiwan and Tibet -- but lots of IR scholars feel it's just as likely that China will be inducted into the Western liberal order just like everyone else. They feel that the post-WWII Western order is strong enough -- based on its multilateralism, its inclusive liberal values, and on its strict regime of rules -- that it can basically will China into submission. China's induction into the WTO would be evidence of the success of this approach.
    What's the 'one big pole' ? The USA, or China? Seems like two big poles to me, with the balance of power continually shifting from the bigger to the (currently) smaller pole. I've read various predictions of when China's economy will overtake the USA's, and none of them seem to be much more than a decade into the future.

    Great power confrontations do seem inevitable. Last time we had multiple superpowers, a decades long cold war resulted. Everyone has been 'inducted into the Western liberal order' because, since the USSR's fall, the West was the undisputed house of global economic power. When that's not true anymore, and it's less true every day, I see no reason for the rest of the world to continue to do America and Europe's bidding. China is pretty hardcore about foreign investment lately, from what I understand, and Europe's ongoing financial crisis presumably makes the EU less capable of countering China's foreign investment with their own.

    We can see that the current administration predicts a relationship characterized by rivalry and competition, not cooperation. From militarizing the northern Australian coast to attempting to win countries in the South China Sea area to our side with economic/military cooperation, it's easy to see that the US gov't sees Chinese interests and American interests as coming increasingly into conflict with each other.

    I don't see a new Cold War as out of the question here.

  • KaputaKaputa Registered User regular
    The way I see it, it's America's responsibility to prevent the coming power transition from being as bloody and chaotic as it could be. China is going to be more powerful than the USA for most of the 21st century. Some American leaders have made it their express mission to prevent this, and our current administration has been behaving similarly with less blatant rhetoric. It is simply not realistic for America to maintain its status as the undisputed world power in the coming years, and trying to force such a reality can only result in potentially catastrophic conflict.

    Enlightened foreign policy on the part of the US entails an acceptance of our country as one power among many, and an acceptance that being 2nd or 3rd place is inevitable. No empire lasts forever, every nation rises and falls; this is an unarguable fact, so why not recognize decline and try to fall gracefully?

  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    Kaputa wrote: »
    Hamurabi wrote:
    China in the international system
    So China decided to reword its course of action since the Reform Era from "peaceful rise" to "peaceful development," which kind of hints at the level of attention they're paying to messaging and posture. IR theorists will tell you that the transitional period from a unipolar hegemonic system to a multipolar (or a system of many small poles + one big pole, as Fareed Zakaria puts it) one has traditionally been a very dangerous and volatile time. The possibility of Great Power confrontation seems on the surface to be inevitable -- given things like China's posture on the South China Sea, on natural resources in Africa and South America, and on Taiwan and Tibet -- but lots of IR scholars feel it's just as likely that China will be inducted into the Western liberal order just like everyone else. They feel that the post-WWII Western order is strong enough -- based on its multilateralism, its inclusive liberal values, and on its strict regime of rules -- that it can basically will China into submission. China's induction into the WTO would be evidence of the success of this approach.
    What's the 'one big pole' ? The USA, or China? Seems like two big poles to me, with the balance of power continually shifting from the bigger to the (currently) smaller pole. I've read various predictions of when China's economy will overtake the USA's, and none of them seem to be much more than a decade into the future.

    Great power confrontations do seem inevitable. Last time we had multiple superpowers, a decades long cold war resulted. Everyone has been 'inducted into the Western liberal order' because, since the USSR's fall, the West was the undisputed house of global economic power. When that's not true anymore, and it's less true every day, I see no reason for the rest of the world to continue to do America and Europe's bidding. China is pretty hardcore about foreign investment lately, from what I understand, and Europe's ongoing financial crisis presumably makes the EU less capable of countering China's foreign investment with their own.

    We can see that the current administration predicts a relationship characterized by rivalry and competition, not cooperation. From militarizing the northern Australian coast to attempting to win countries in the South China Sea area to our side with economic/military cooperation, it's easy to see that the US gov't sees Chinese interests and American interests as coming increasingly into conflict with each other.

    I don't see a new Cold War as out of the question here.

    Kenneth Waltz has argued that bi-polar systems are actually the most stable. If you look more closely at the Cold War, it was actually a prolonged period of Great Power peace; you of course had smaller proxy conflicts break out across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, but the Great Powers never actually confronted one another. It remains to be seen whether this is something that bears out in the 21st century, but bi-polar systems do not necessarily result in an increased likelihood of war.

    In the 4+1 setup, the USA would be the 1. The US is still the dominant global superpower in all spheres of global activity, where China is really only catching up in the raw economic activity sphere. Even there, Goldman and co. predict it'll be at least 2025 or so before they overtake the US strictly in terms of GDP; much, much longer than that in per-capita GDP, iirc. That also assumes they can sustain the kinds of export- and FDI-led growth they've seen in the past couple of decades, which isn't necessarily assured.

    China striking out on its own and providing some sort of viable alternative to the liberal Western order seems unlikely to me, honestly. They've certainly been trying, with their basically neocolonial approach to the Third World, and their drastic departures from Western foreign policy. In the end, though, they did join the WTO (and recently accepted a WTO decision against them for hoarding and driving up the price of minerals.

    As to Obama's China policy: the aggressive posturing in the South China Sea is certainly a very classical realist move, but our trade relations with China only really permit him to go so far. I see that as more of a, "We're not bogged down in Iraq (and soon Afghanistan) anymore, and we haven't forgotten about you guys" move.

  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    Compared to almost anyone I speak too, I am very unconcerned about China. The sheer amount of social economic challenges ahead of them is staggering. It currently has very little space for free speech and other human rights, does very little to take care of the health and welfare of it's citizens even as they age, allows conditions the West has declared barbaric a hundred years ago in their factories, is one of the biggest income and wealth unequal countries in the world, faces large consequences from (mostly their own) pollution and global warming effects, staggering inflation severely hurting their own poorer areas and has an inherently corrupt political system which is still incredibly rigid.

    Even if they manage to scale them all, it will take them ages, and even if they do, having another wealthy big country doesn't automatically makes the rest poor. Sure it influences consumer products, fossil fuel and minerals with limited supply, but technology will compensate for some or all of that, and many changes in that area will not be particularly painful or lifechanging anyway, apart from transportation issues due to dwindling oil that we face anyway.

    Steam: SanderJK Origin: SanderJK
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    The only thing I see taking the US out as "the" superpower is Congress continuing to screw us. If they keep dicking around and let sequestration happen, that is not good news.

    Especially since China is not on a sustainable track. There's serious problems coming down the pipe for China (income, standard of living, civil liberties, take your pick).

    There's no reason that the US has to "fall" for the rest of the world to rise, none at all. We will only become second rate if we choose to. And at this point, it seems like we are and it infuriates me to no end.

    AManFromEarth on
    Lh96QHG.png
  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    their problem is that the Chinese population isn't readjusting its expectations

    It can't.

  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    zeeny wrote: »
    their problem is that the Chinese population isn't readjusting its expectations

    It can't.

    I didn't mean to imply that they could. To be clear, I don't think expecting to get a $.30/hr job once you enter the workforce is being selfish. The intent there was to highlight that the CCP is pushing so hard on growth because it has to -- it has 1 billion poor, rural Chinese counting on it.

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    There is a developing "China Scare" occuring in Australia and NZ at present, over Huawei/telecoms investment and purchase of farm land in NZ

    !
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-2...ection/3918986

    http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/the-huawei-question/

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • tinwhiskerstinwhiskers Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Honestly, given the various problems the US Gov/ Companies have been having with totally not sponsored by the Chinese government hackers, for the last decade+, I don't know if I'd want a Chinese telco, running my countries backbone.

    Wired has a really great article on the NSA's new data-center (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1). Which will be fed with the various boxes they have installed in the US telcos. Thinking the Chinese aren't/won't be doing the same is naive beyond belief. In some ways its more worrisome from a business prospective, than a government one, as China and stealing IP go together like white on rice.

    tinwhiskers on
    How do you spell Justice?B D S Non-Violent Resistance to Israel Apartheid & Occupation.
  • SurikoSuriko AustraliaRegistered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Kalkino wrote: »
    There is a developing "China Scare" occuring in Australia and NZ at present, over Huawei/telecoms investment and purchase of farm land in NZ

    !
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-03-2...ection/3918986

    http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/the-huawei-question/

    Going from what I'm aware of with regards to Huawei, this is hardly a matter of 'ooga booga China'. A couple of articles on this I could find quickly are here and here. The company does have some questionable links to the PLA, but exactly what those links fully entail is difficult to know without access to what ASIO found.

    It's also extremely likely that the Chinese government has been conducting low-level electronic warfare against nations. Over the past few years there have been a good number of attacks that, while brushed off by China as rogue citizens, have had a complexity that isn't achievable without the resources of a nation-state or very large technology corporation.

    Edit: The second link does have some stupid though:
    Could Huawei really be installing individual snooping devices in individual homes? I suppose it's within the realm of possibilities that every single piece of consumer kit sold by Huawei contains a back door that no one has ever found. But no country bans the sale of such equipment.
    This is a politician blowing hot air. The idea that Huawei would be sniffing traffic at the end-user level is pretty asanine - the issue is with them having access over convergence points, such as headend equipment and international links, and having access to overall network design maps for the entire nation's telecommunications infrastructure.

    Suriko on
  • AtomikaAtomika not a robot. does not eat bugs!Registered User regular
    I often find myself wondering if China's political establishment can really be as inept as they so routinely seem to be.

    You don't keep yourself atop the list of global powers by openly falsifying your currency value and routinely attacking your would-be allies through cyber attacks.


    It says quite a bit about the US' attitude toward future relations with China if the State Department and CIA don't mind openly accusing their government of malfeasance and espionage. That's not something we even accuse Russia or North Korea of.

  • SynthesisSynthesis Honda Today! Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Hamurabi wrote: »
    So the imbalance isn't enormous, but it's there.

    A few years back (and more recently) people in the west somehow convinced themselves that China had basically doomed itself to annihilation through this situation. It was your typical eye-rolling situation: as a Taiwanese national, I actually know large numbers of young Chinese women born post 1978 (hell, most of the Chinese women I know are that old). However, given geography and recent politics, pretty much every Taiwanese national knows large numbers of Chinese people of either gender.

    So, anecdotally, it's unconvincing. But that's just anecdotally.

    A scenario I like to offer is the Soviet Union post-WWII--namely, if you think this is a demographic death sentence, you don't know what a death sentence is. Approx. 23 million (between high and low estimates) people died in the USSR between 1941 to 1945 because of the German Invasion, the overwhelming majority of them being men. It was so bad that even the CIS, the government that followed the USSR after 1992 still had a demographic imbalance unusually staggered towards women. That being said, the USSR, like most large countries after 1945, still had a baby boom immediately after the war, when the demographic gap was at is worst.

    So this sort of imbalance isn't a nation killer by any stretch of the imagination, despite the morbid hopes of more than a few people I know. There is an imbalance, but it pales to the situation you had, for example, in European colonies in the Americas towards the beginning of colonization period.

    Where China is going in the coming decades, I couldn't say for certain. For the elephant in the room, I don't think the Chinese government is anywhere near as insane as the United States is, and thus, could not hope to match US military expenditures (at least 49% of the world). Combined with military expertise, culture, and bravado, I don't think China could really be in any position to replace the United States as the military superpower any time soon. I mean, after Iraq and Afghanistan (which frankly I don't think are going to exactly be a quick exit anyway, in meaningful economic and military ways), I think the US will be busy in....hmm, Iran, Syria, Yemen, the rest of the Gulf, Pakistan, maybe Belarus. They all seem unlikely, but in 2000, a ten year invasion of invasion of Afghanistan certainly seemed unlikely as well. That'll be a few more trillion dollars and a millions of man-years of experience the US armed forces, and the world's biggest private military businesses, will have on anything in China.

    I do think the slowly rising wages in China will have a big, and painful, consequence on American consumer culture (which is such a huge portion of American perceptions of domestic well-being and wealth) at a certain point should the trend of the last 50 years not be countered (and as a Taiwanese, I don't expect it to be reversed, personally). The same trend could hurt China's appeal as a manufacturing powerhouse, but it'll hurt the end consumer even more (since I see no evidence corporations could swallow part of the rising costs, even if they wanted to, which I don't think they do).

    We're going to see the rise of India into a much more present military and economic power in the subsequent decades (and maybe Bangaldesh after that), even in light of widespread poverty and government oppression. So it won't be isolated to China.

    [/my two cents]

    Synthesis on
    Orca wrote: »
    Synthesis wrote:
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  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    There are still roughly 1.5 billion people that are significantly poorer than even the poorest part of Chinese citizens out there. Even if China becomes so rich that it won't manufacture low grade stuff anymore (Like it is already losing clothing, which is going to the likes of Bangladesh), there are, from a cynical point of view a lot more poor people to make cheap stuff under really crappy circumstances. China seems to be attempting to position themselves as the middle man for that (partially by making deals with nations that the west has bad relations with), but it's hard for me to gauge how successful they really are at that.

    Steam: SanderJK Origin: SanderJK
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