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Reviewed by Sudhirendar Sharma
31 Jan 2011

The enigma called China

It is a geographical reality that as the sun goes down in the United States, the day starts in China. Conversely, however, it is the financial sun that has started to rise in China and set instead on the United States. That China is growing at an envious rate is a geo-political inevitability of our times. No wonder it is sourcing large quantities of expensive raw materials like copper, iron, oil and wood from across the world.

In the process of its sustained growth, a substantial amount of the world’s wealth has moved to China. Estimated at US$ 2.3 trillion, it is holding a quarter of the foreign currency reserves of the entire world. In comparison, the US had US$ 83 billion in foreign exchange reserves at that time. The shifting of American wealth to China had many political analysts quipping that President Obama had travelled to China so that he could ‘visit our money’.

While for many, the conflict between China and the United States appear to be both imminent and unavoidable, for author Handel Jones these facts point to a very real opportunity for governments and businesses of two countries to work together rather than be separated by economic tensions. The essential lesson for the United States is to stop the decline in public wealth by strengthening its industrial employment base.

Jones acknowledges the fact that China is fast becoming the industrial hub for the entire world. While there is a human and entrepreneurial side to China, the industrial side of China is a big machine that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 50 weeks a year. That this machine runs on the space meant for its communities and consumes strategic natural resources is a source of tension worldwide.

Chinamerica provides in-depth visibility on the enigma called China.

by Handel Jones
Tata McGraw Hill, New Delhi ; 280 pages, pp 232, Rs 575

 Other books reviewed by Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
Features > Book Shelf
Spoiling Tibet
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

A Journey in the Future of Water
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Yamuna Manifesto
Posting Date: 28 Feb 2014

Corruption Watch

The bad news is that corruption has not only sustained but has grown in size and stature in the country. With scams being a regular feature, seventy per cent respondents in a survey have rightfully opined that corruption has continued to increase in India. One in every two interviewed admit having paid a bribe for availing public services during last one year. Transparency International's latest survey reveals that the political parties top the chart for the most corrupt public institutions, followed by police force and legislatures. No wonder, India continues to make new records on the global corruption arena!

The shocking revelation is that the health and education sectors haven't remained untouched by this phenomenon. With 5th and 6th positions respectively for these sectors on the public perception chart on corruption, corruption has crept insidiously into these sectors of hope for the masses. With bureaucracy being fourth in the list of corrupt institutions in the country, corruption seems to have been non-formally institutionalized with little hope if public services would ever be effective in the country. With economic growth having literally institutionalized corruption, are we now expecting corrupt to be socially responsible - a different CSR.

Poor. Who?

Not giving 'aid' to India is one thing but calling it 'rich' is quite another. If one in three of the world's malnourished children live in India, what does average daily income of $3 indicate? It perhaps means that there is a relative decline in poverty - people are 'less poor' than what they used to be in the past. But having crossed the World Bank arbitrary threshold of $2 a day does not absolve the 'developed' countries of their obligation to part with 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income in development aid. Should this three-decade old figure not be revised?  

An interesting debate in UK's House of Commons delved on future of development assistance by the British Government. While prioritizing limited resources has been a concern, there has been no denying the fact that development aid must be guided towards tangible gains over a short period of time to start with. There are difficult choices for elected governments to make - should they invest in long-term primary education or in short-term university scholarships? Which of these will bring gains and trigger long-term transformation in the society. As politicians continue to be divided on the matter, poverty persists!!   

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Book Shelf

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