I came across this article the other night, from a recent issue of Canadian Business. If it had come from a peak oil or conspiracy website I might have been more sceptical. But considering its source, the level of “Doomsaying” here is a little frightening. Could China’s mighty economy be headed for the rocks?

The description it gives of China is one which would sound eerily familiar in the west. Ri8sing inequality, ballooning debts, undervalued currencies, dubious boondoggle mega-projects and enormous bailouts are nothing new. But the scale and intensity, in a nation with so much explosive growth in the last decade, leaves many to wonder how much of it is stable or sustainable. As the article points out, much of the world’s industries are now dependent on Chinese manufacturing. If local industries were hit with a slowdown, this could bring much of the world to a standstill. If they then start spending their massive foreign currency reserves (especially US dollars), it could spread like wildfire. China’s economy at the moment has all the hallmarks of the “Roaring 20s” in America, and that’s more than cause for concern.

Does this mean that “doom” is coming? Whatever that’s supposed to mean, I doubt it. The threats which face China’s economy are very similar to those which threaten ours, and their fates are so tied up in financial arrangements that none can be looked at alone. What’s far more likely is that another global “correction” is coming, much like 2008, and that China will play a big part. Is “doom” coming? That depends on how you look at it. For millions of American manufacturing workers and displaced Chinese Peasants, it may begin to look in many ways like “doom” is finally leaving.

A few months ago I caught this snippet from the “Manifesto” of China’s “Jasmine Revolutionaries”, and thought it might be apt.

Every good and honest Chinese person, please think: So much public housing has been sold to individuals, so many state-owned enterprises and so much land have been sold, and nearly all state-owned property has been sold off. But where has all the money from these sales gone? It goes without saying that state-owned property belongs to the entire people. But what did the people get? Led by an authoritarian regime, the opaque process of privatization has made a small number of people rich, but what did the vast number of ordinary people get? Every good and honest Chinese person, please think: When Japan, Korea, and Taiwan were in the process of industrializing, they were able to make the overwhelming majority of their people prosperous. Why is it that during China’s industrialization the ordinary people are becoming poorer? Why is it that in just the last few decades China has gone from being a country with the smallest gap between the rich and the poor to one with the largest? It is because the unfair system has made a small number of people incredibly wealthy, and the vast majority of people remain poor.

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