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10 China Myths for the New Decade – Abstract

Posted by Author on January 30, 2010

Derek Scissors, Ph.D., Research Fellow in Asia Economic Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation, via http://www.heritage.org, January 28, 2010 –

Abstract: China’s economic growth has been accompanied by growing misinformation about its economy. Contrary to conventional wisdom, China is not leading the world out of a recession, is no longer moving toward a market economy, is not America’s banker, and may never surpass the U.S. Heritage Foundation Asia expert Derek Scissors debunks 10 leading myths about the Chinese economy and replaces them with the accurate picture necessary to guide American policy.

The Chinese economy may still be growing rapidly despite the financial crisis. One thing that has been growing even faster is misinformation about the Chinese economy.

This is partly a function of unreliable economic numbers put out by China’s government, but it is also partly a function of mistaken American and other perceptions. Hidden within the sweeping pronouncements of “China’s decade” and “China’s century” are important, specific points–some of which turn out to be demonstrably wrong.

The foundation of good policy is good information. If the U.S. is to respond wisely to the rise of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the actual speed and nature of that rise must be correctly understood. Exaggerating Chinese prowess and emphasizing the wrong issues leads to general mistakes in U.S. economic and foreign policy, and to an incoherent China strategy.

It turns out that China is not leading the world out of recession, is not nipping at America’s economic heels, is not America’s banker, is not becoming more consumption-driven, and is not controlling its carbon emissions. Instead, Chinese growth for the moment comes at the expense of global growth, the U.S. has stronger long-term economic fundamentals than China, Chinese bond purchases appear unimportant, China is more investment-dependent than ever, and is by far the world’s largest greenhouse emitter.

The American position is thus considerably stronger relative to China than commonly believed. However, it is also the case that the policy challenges, such as inducing genuine economic reform in the PRC, are more daunting. It will be more difficult for the U.S. to avoid the pitfalls of superficial changes, such as in exchange rates and carbon intensities, to make progress toward a Chinese economy that genuinely does boost world growth.(to be cont’d)

Original from The Heritage Foundation

One Response to “10 China Myths for the New Decade – Abstract”

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