Bellerbys Economics - Mr Stephenson

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Will Hutton - China

Will Hutton is one of the UK's most respected journalists and economists. His latest book is called "The Writing on the Wall - China and the West in the 21st Century". It's an epic work and well worth reading by all our students. Ask Pat in the Library to get a copy for you to borrow.

Will recognises the tremendous strides that China has made in the last twenty years through modern assembly-line industrialisation; its massive infrastructure development and the success of its international trade policy.

However, he is also sensible enough to recognise the strains and stresses that China will be facing in the next ten years - its need for oil and water; the environmental problems created by its over-reliance on coal-fired energy generation; its difficulty in creating world-class brands in an already crowded consumer market and its low levels of domestic consumption.

He argues convincingly for the need for the West to engage progressively with China and criticises the knee-jerk reactions of western politicians who continually look for enemies instead of working together as friends.

Where the book is a little weak in places is in its assumption that China needs westerners to help it through its problems. In fact, as our Chinese students know, there are many Chinese economists who are working actively on China's problems as well - and they are quite capable of coming up with their own new and imaginative solutions - China's Partners in Africa and Partners with India policies are good examples.

For a good weekend's reading, read also 'Being Indian' by Pavan Varma. Remember that by 2020, one-third of the world's population will be either Chinese or Indian - that's a big market!

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