What I learned in Global Econ this semester…about China

Continuing the theme of wrapping up the semester class, here is another student post on what they learned in our Politics of the Global Economy class.  While the last guest post by a student focused on more general trends, this student chose to focus her write-up on China’s recent development.


One major thing I have learned this semester is that China’s economy IS NOT all that it’s cracked up to be.  I had previously believed, much like many others in America, that China had the “best” economy.

Based on Gallup poll data, Americans now believe China to be the global economy leader.

This semester I learned that I was entirely wrong.

Chuckling Over China

The 4 largest economies in the world, based on 2012 World Bank data.
The 4 largest economies in the world, based on 2012 World Bank data.

In all actuality, according to the World Bank not only is China not the number 1 economy but they are far behind both the European Union and the United States. In fact, the European Union is the leading economy with an annual GDP of 16.5 (in USD trillions), whereas China is far behind with roughly 8.23 (USD trillion).

China while experiencing large growth rates is by no means the largest, most stable, or best economy. It’s comical that the average perception of China is so misguided.

Filthy Fortunes

During this semester we read the article “Choking on China.” This article was not only eye opening but incredibly disturbing!

As it turns out the economic inequality in China creates conditions far worse than hungry people. In fact, there are areas in China that are so heavily polluted that they are referred to as “cancer villages.” These are areas “where water pollution is so bad that it has led to a sharp rise in diseases like stomach cancer.”

Read the original article - and see more images - by clicking on the picture.
Read the original article – and see more images – by clicking on the picture.

Not only is China poisoning its people but quite literally, the entire world.  Pollution from China stretches around the globe leaving its disgusting fingerprints in bodies of water in places as distant as the United States. “In 2006, researchers at the University of California–Davis discovered that almost all of the harmful particulates over Lake Tahoe originated in China.”[3]

Now that is disturbing. The idea that one country can effectively contaminate another from the other side of the globe is not only unnerving but slightly terrifying as well. Who is to stop China? As of right now…nobody.

With all of the disgusting outcomes China is producing it is natural to ask why they don’t stop or in the very least cut back, after all they are hurting their own people. The best answer I can suppose is simply greed. China is not willing to compromise their growth for the health of their people let alone the health of the entire world.

Herding Humans

The last bit ok knowledge I am going to discuss is what I learned through my news presentation with particular regard to the article “China’s Great Uprooting. China has plans to move 250 million people from rural farms in to urban cities in the next 12-15 years.  This means that 70% of China’s entire population will be living in cities. The Chinese government intends to move all of these people in the hopes of creating a consumer society.

It makes sense that China feels the need to create a larger consumer society. China needs to transition in to a consumer society if they are to continue growth because as of late other countries are beginning to manufacture the same goods for the same if not cheaper prices.

The truth is the Chinese economy exports so much for so cheap yet their own people can’t afford the products the produce. China’s hope is that by moving people in to cities they will be forced to consume the goods in the cities because sustaining their own food, water, etc. wouldn’t be possible.

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