You Didn’t See This One Coming Today

Today I want to cover China a bit. You didn’t see that one coming, did you? It will be incomplete; I’m not an expert on the subject and there are too many facets to cover for me to do a great job in a few paragraphs. But I want China on your radar screen.

If I could have a conversation on China with one expert it would actually be a conservative, Richard Haass. I might not agree with some of Mr. Haass’ conclusions, but they are always based on great and accurate facts. Yes, legitimate conservatives – not radicals who have appropriated the label – should be listened to.

My first topic of comment is the Chinese economy. A case can be made that its economy rules all of its actions. It is no longer growing at the rate it had been in the past. One of the reasons is that the work force is no longer growing fast enough to accommodate the demand for labor. I could write at length on the topic, but it illustrates the need for immigrants supplementing the “domestically grown” labor force. That’s why conservative former German Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed the expansion of a non-domestic workforce in Germany.

China is behind the United States in the development of semiconductors. This is holding back both foreign trade and economic expansion. The are many “battlefields” and technology is certainly one of the most important. This is another reason that it is self-defeating for American universities to educate foreign student only to “expel” them upon graduation.

The Chinese economic growth of the past was unsustainable. (I never believed the exact numbers the Chinese government released but the true numbers were still impressive.) Percentage growth can be huge when the base is small. You have to know how to analysis data and polling. The inability to do so is why Americans have largely lost confidence in American political poling. (Many of the political polls that American media presents are insignificant to begin with.)

As the Chinese economy grows and becomes more sophisticated it need foreign investment and involvement. However, the Chinese have been less than friendly business hosts. With a population of nearly 1.5 billion people China is certainly an attractive market. But the demands it makes as a cost of entry make it unattractive, plus many foreign nations do not feel safe there. Here is a bottom line: If I have to give up my intellectual property and risk the lives of my employees as a cost of doing business I will do without the market. There are still another approximately 5.5 billion people elsewhere on the planet.

China’s biggest economic “ally/investor” is Russia which has an economy approximately the size of Italy’s. (Although Italy has significantly less corruption.)

All that said, I’m afraid China’s economy is too big to fail; or at least it is perceived as such.  They are not going down without a fight.

The economic pressures lead to foreign exploits and saber rattling. China is trying to claim the entire region as its own. That is a topic for books, not articles and I’ll leave it there for today.

Its foreign adventurism is not limited to its backyard! One of the largely untapped raw materials/mineral rich regions of the world is Africa. China is trying to make inroads while exploiting the region and its people (expect for a few ruling families). It is not alone. The real controversy over the (Russian) Wagner Group is not military; it is the control and exploitation of African minerals. It’s really all about money!

This was something that has been in the back of my mind for some time now and today was a good opportunity to move it forward. I don’t want my readers to be caught blindsided when it erupts; and it will.

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