Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Chinese Finger trap

Hi all,

Sorry, went with a sort of cheesy title. I have a few different stories about China that I'd like to share and thought I'd put them together. I often lament my sense that Americans are a little complacent about their place in the world. China is rapidly modernizing, so are several other countries. I don't want this to be taken as a reason to 'attack China' (which, would be almost impossible, since who would pay for it--the Chinese have already lent us trillions of dollars for our two wars, they're not going to lend us any to attack them. By the same token, China is not interested in attacking us, since they really just want us to stay an open market and to pay them back their money some day.)

1. China has declared the economic crisis over as far as they are concerned. What this meant for them was single-digit (8.7%) growth instead of double digit (originally projected at 10+%). It's tough to get jobs in some sectors there, but as we see in following stories, they're creating jobs at an amazing rate.

2. Despite difficulties at Copenhagen, China is moving forward with clean energy technology--soon to eclipse Western countries as the single largest producer. They are also moving aggressively to find ways to finance the expensive conversion, provide incentives, and as a result, solar panels are popping up all over the place. Obviously, they could improve their environmental standards, but I'm glad they're making progress--when will we???

3. This was just an interesting piece by Brookings about where US and Chinese interests meet in Pakistan. A really useful insight into the dynamics of the AF-PAK challenge.

Enjoy your reading!
Best,
Alena

1 comment:

  1. So the part of this blog post I'm most interested in is the clean energy stuff. That article was very enlightening. China has done things EXACTLY right with clean energy, by making it cheaper than the alternatives. I'm amazed they're pursuing clean energy with such vigor. I'm more than a little ashamed as an American about three things:

    1) a sizable minority of America is still debating whether global warming even exists [http://www.americanpolicy.org/un/thereisnoglobal.htm]. Ignoring (for the moment) that they're completely wrong, this minority is also missing the bigger picture that the rate of consumption of natural resources is finite, and resources should only be consumed at a rate less than or equal to production of said resources.

    2) very little legislation has been put in place to make clean energy cheaper in America. Yes, there are a few tax intensives for weatherizing your home, but that's not going to cut it.

    3) while America and the rest of the world is busy debating who's going to pay for all this new clean energy infrastructure, China just went ahead and started doing it. So, now, they have a head start on manufacturing and market creation, and I suspect they will end up leading the clean energy market for decades to come. Plus, timing is everything for entering a market. China will make huge profits because they entered the market first. Everyone else who wants a piece of the renewable energy market will have to fight their way in. So why can't we create those clean energy jobs in America? Oh yeah, see points 1 and 2...

    The part I'm not surprised about is the manufacturing capability of China. That's not really anything new.

    All that said, I'm really glad this movement is taking off in China. This means the soon-to-be superpower of the world has recognized the importance of the environment. Of course, more can always be done, but this is a great start!

    That's all I can think of for now. Maybe I'll write more if I think of other comments :-).

    Cheers. And happy upcoming Chinese New Year!

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