When China Ruled The World
Just a quick post for this week because I've been too busy working on some new stuff for the site (i.e., listening to the new Radiohead album), but I wanted to touch on something that's been in the news a lot lately. It's a little thing called China.
There are reports that China is driving up the price of cotton. News outlets are proclaiming that the value of the yuan is skyrocketing. And then there's the strongest indicator of economic strength: Shanghai is getting an Apple store.
All of the articles about China these days fall on the side of fear and paranoia about the country's growing influence, but all of these reports look at the country like a competitor. There seems to be little reporting on the country's status as an entity, a country.
This brings us to last weekend. My girlfriend and I went to Florida for Valentine's Day, where we went to Disney World (another story entirely*). While waiting for the plane, I was able to catch up on some reading and I found this article in an old issue of Esquire, "When China Ruled The World."
It is one of the most interesting, unique and insightful articles I've read in recent memory, and it treats its subject not as an economic powerhouse, but as a fragile ecosystem. Author Thomas Barnett's conclusion is that, through a combination of poor human rights decisions, paltry natural resources, a high dependancy on imports and stark social divisions, China's era of global supremacy will be nonexistent. And he has some very convincing arguments on his side. I highly recommend you read it and consider where Barnett sees China in 2050.
* I may or may not have worn Mickey Mouse ears.