Wednesday, January 30, 2008

China's wallet- and its discontents

James Fallows of The Atlantic has a nice article on our present Trillion dollar question i.e., the supersized Chinese export economy and its minatory surplus.

He answers two key questions that laymen without economic background are bound to stumble upon, especially at every maiden attempt we make in trying to gauge the wide Chinese stance. Those being(in his words):

  • Why a poor country has so much money
  • The voyage of a dollar (how money travels)
Reproducing key portions is trivial, but might unduly impinge on the flavor of Fallows's narrative flourish. One also notices the deadpan structure of his article: Chinese economic divide and their ever widening inequality; key to its treasury; probably apocalyptic global impact of their fat wallet etc.

It appears that China has traded its people's savings for social stability and a relatively reliable growth for its economy. Apparently, this asymmetric trade-off is not to Chinese peoples' liking, and the resulting disparity is giving rise to social discontent as well as a growing clamor for efficient approaches to managing treasury notes.

Apportioned as it is, the article ends up by discussing the grimmer aspects of China's bulging muscles and the global conflict it might engender. But unlike the previous epic rivalry, this one seems to pitch its adversaries armed with a curious mix of financial weapons of mass disruption and a reciprocal economic reliance. The article prognosticates little as to how the game might unfold, for obvious limitations of course.

A worrisome denouement of the interlocked growth between these two global players, from Indian perspective at least, is the territorial deficiency or non-existent space for a new player, putting us at a severe systemic disadvantage. Indian moves are bound to run into a labyrinth of built-in measures that will inevitably aim at corralling us into a system designed to reinforce the extant balance.

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