- Series: Contemporary Asia in the World
- Paperback: 264 pages
- Publisher: Columbia University Press; Reprint edition (March 7, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 023116419X
- ISBN-13: 978-0231164191
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,593,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World (Contemporary Asia in the World) Paperback – March 28, 2017
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
[An] informative study.... [The China Boom] paints a convincing picture that China may not be the superpower many predicted it to be. (Publishers Weekly)
This valuable treatise will appeal to both scholars and more casual readers with an interest in China. (Library Journal)
Masterful. (Foreign Affairs)
It is a fast-paced, highly readable, thoroughly provocative, and (rare for an academic book) truly enjoyable account of 400 years of Chinese economic history right up to the present day. (Asian Review of Books)
So many books on China recycle the same stories and historical anecdotes, but this one tells the story from the point of view of economic history. It is scholarly yet readable, interesting throughout. (Marginal Revolution)
The book should be mandatory reading for anyone concerned with transnational economic policy planning. (Pacific Affairs)
an important and balanced scholarly book. (International Relations of the Asia Pacific)
Ho-fung Hung offers us the clearest analysis we have of the historical origins of China's economic model and for its future prospects. Hung's work is political economy at its best. (Contemporary Sociology)
About the Author
Ho-fung Hung is Henry M. and Elizabeth P. Wiesenfeld Associate Professor in Political Economy at Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of the award-winning book Protest with Chinese Characteristics: Demonstrations, Riots, and Petitions in the Mid-Qing Dynasty (Columbia, 2011).
Related Video Shorts (0)
Be the first videoYour name here
Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features:
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Looks are deceiving, and the author, Ho-fung Hung, associate professor of sciology at Johns Hopkins, and of Chinese extraction, says differently
China may be experiencing a boom, but at present, as you have read in the newspapers, their economy is slowing down in a big way. All we need to do is look at West Germany in the 1970s, during its boom and subsequent bust in the European Union, and Japan’s lost decade in the 1990s, and you will see that China is headed in the same direction. It’s already been on that path for a while. In addition, the U.S. isn’t quite ready to fall as of yet.
Mind you, this book is not pro-U.S. nor anti-China. This is a book on China’s past and present economy versus how the global economy really works.
This book is covered six chapters; the first three exploring China’s economic (and sometimes political) history from the time of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), to the time of European colonization and the subsequent failed republic and the era of Mao, and the “reemergence of capitalism” under Deng Xio-ping and beyond, up to 2008.
The second half, the last three chapters, covers China’s economic alliance and rivalry with the rest of Asia and Africa, even Latin America, the question of a post-American world, and why usurping or undermining the U.S. isn’t as easy as it appears. Note that China has an economic relation with the rest of the world, both to its advantage and disadvantage.
Finally, the book answers why China will not rule the world, or that its path to world domination is a lot harder and costlier than it appears.
China, even after Mao, appears more to be collectivists, with its ruling party, refusing to give up it power, but China, even in ancient times, has always been this way. In times of the Qing dynasty, there was entrepreneurs, with laborers working under them, being paid very low wages. This is still in effect today, with literally hundreds of millions of rural poor in the countryside living at a fraction of wages paid to them as opposed to those living in cities. In Qing times, an entrepreneur may prosper, but if his laborers rise up and demand better wages, he will have no choice but to give it to them because the laborers will resort to violence, and the rulers, whoever they may be, will side with the laborers, mostly out of fear. In some cases, the rich would be executed by the poor. Vast surpluses were siphoned off and the military would increase in strength, leaving little for industries, in which the economy would deteriorate. Industry needs agriculture products and cannot function without them.
Under Mao, farmers were collective, but any surplus of products also mean more unemployment. Again, surpluses were siphoned off, going to the military, leaving little for industry.
Modern China, although capitalist, still most have state owned enterprises (SOEs), sometimes competing with private companies, and the SOEs would gain the upper hand.
Although China is producing, it is mostly an export orient country, selling its products, and surpluses, with prices decreasing as a result, and profits are lost. Many of the the citizens are left with nothing, and cheap labor in the countryside is the rule, with their workers being disposable. China has gotten rich on foreign (i.e. U.S. and European) industries coming there, but now they are leaving in droves. What the system is now is the product components (such as computers) and made elsewhere and are shipped to China for assembly.
China also over invests, putting too much money into projects, many of them failing, and the state absorbs the financial losses.
China buys U.S. treasury bonds to finance and the U.S. deficit, but it is a two edge sword. One may think that China has America over a barrel and because the our huge debt to China, about $1.3 trillion, they could collapse our economy. The problem is they have become addicted to U.S treasure bills and have to buy them with their excess from their trade deficit, and they have to buy them in dollars. They tried to have Euros denominations, but that has been proven unstable because of Europe’s economy, so they are stuck with buying everything in U.S. dollars, which will remain the world’s currency in years to come, in spite of the U.S. debt.
China cannot stop buying U.S. treasury bonds, and they finance our deficit including our military, meaning they pay for the U.S. to remain the strongest country in the world militarily, to their detriment.
China and the U.S. are connected to each other economically, and neither can let go of the other. Should one fall, so will the other. China cannot dump these bonds.
China also depends on the U.S. and Europe for their trade surpluses. Without these two entities, their surpluses will become deficits.
China also will not change from being an export oriented country.
China has also given the rest of the world a choice from whom to buy their products and do business. It is a third choice between the U.S., and Europe, along with other newly developed countries, so it is a competitor, but not the dominant one.
In truth, China isn’t rising, it is simply reemerging from the power it once was back in the Qing dynasty, and prior to it, but with more problems and more competition. Many other Asian countries not comfortable with China hovering above them has turned to the U.S. for military protection, and they also have a severe problem of pollution of their own environment. Even Africa is starting to resent Chinese presence, for taking their minerals and selling them back in the form of goods.
China has many problems that are setting them back, and for them, it will get worse. Another example is their building boom, literally building empty cities encompassing thousand of square kilometers. What is going to happen when their real estate bubble bursts.
All of these problems are catching up with them, and their economy will have a day of reckoning in the form of a collapse.
China is not going to collapse as a country, it will always be with us as an economic powerhouse, but it will have its rise and fall, and rise and fall again. They are even benefitting from the Status Quo, in the form of exports and other profitable businesses, so they have no reason to change it.
They also will not give up their one party rule, and that is the biggest factor that is holding them back. If they ever become a democracy, then I would be worried.
The narrative chapters are followed by a set of more analytical chapters addressing China's role in reducing global inequality, whether China will replace the US, and the role of China in the most recent global economic crisis. Hung finds China's role in reducing global inequality to be ambiguous. He argues convincingly that China's prospects of becoming a global hegemon are slight. China has and may continue to produce some readjustment of global power but China's economic growth and continued success depends on the existing world economic system, so the likelihood of being a major revisionist power is small. Indeed, Hung points to some interesting examples of the ways in which China actually contributes to American power, notably its complicity in maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency and its thirst for US government debt. He concludes this section with an interesting analysis of the ways in which the structure of the Chinese economy contributed to the last great economic crisis. Throughout this book, he points out considerable defects of the Chinese economic system and the existence of a series of powerful problems that are likely to produce enormous problems. Rectifying these problems will require considerable reform and as some of these defects are built into the Party-State, they will be hard to address without significant political reform, a daunting prospect.
All of this is a very useful corrective to a great deal of the nonsense written about China. There are some defects of Hung's arguments. A minor issue is his treatment of why China didn't industrialize. A sociologist, he looks for sociological explanations and finds them in some interesting facts about merchant elites in Qing China. Like a lot of social scientists who have dealt with this topic, he implies that appropriate social or economic structure will automatically lead to the kinds of technological innovations that are the heart of industrialization. This is improbable. More important is that while Hung's analysis of the economic defects of China is on target, he largely omits some additional factors that are likely to impair China. China's rapidly aging population is discussed only in the context of labor force. This aging population, however, will impose unprecedented care burdens for which the Chinese state is wholly unprepared. A related aspect which I've seen almost no one discuss is the severe health threats faced by Chinese society. China has a tobacco abuse epidemic and is beginning a diabetes epidemic that are going to have major consequences. Hung mentions but doesn't really discuss the enormous environmental problems faced by China, another series of problems that will require enormous reforms. Finally, while Hung is correct that China is unlikely to replace the US as a global hegemon it may be more disruptive than he suggests. Authoritarian states under pressure, particularly challenges to legitimacy, tend to use aggressive foreign policy to boost social solidarity. We may see this in the near future.