Michael View

China: The Distinction Between Power and Greatness

12 February 2010

Why should Australian business care about the direction China‘s economy takes? Why should we care if the Chinese are buying U.S. debt by the bucketful? Why should we care about the new trade sanctions put in place January 1, 2010 by the U.S. on Chinese goods?

What does all of this have to do with small business in our country? Well, China is one of Australia‘s most important trading partners. That affects the Australian economy in ways we have yet to imagine.

So, over the past few weeks I‘ve been researching business activities in China ‘" everything from lending policies, a growing middle class and expanding base of manufacture.

My conclusions? Indeed, China is a powerful country and a major player on the world economic stage. But it is not a great country.

In effect, the Chinese sabotaged the climate change talks in Copenhagen at the end of the 2009. Of course, this summit of world leaders and scientists had little teeth to begin with, serving in an ‘advisory‘ capacity to world governments.

China, a country that tops the list of polluters ‘" pumping even more filth into the atmosphere than the U.S. ‘" refused to budge on their pollution control policies. Why? Well, China simply doesn‘t have to play ball with the Western nations. It‘s that powerful a force in the world economy which, as small business owners, we recognise as having a direct impact on our business.

Need a new product fabricated and manufactured? Chances are, you won‘t use an Australian-based fabricator when you can get the same job done in China at half the price. Long live our great nation, but business is, well, business. National pride often takes a back seat when it comes to the cold, hard realities of global economics.

No one questions China is a powerful nation. Its holster is jam-packed with nuclear weapons ‘" enough to annihilate the world. It has an almost endless supply of cheap labour to develop a powerful manufacturing base. It has a government that encourages a little bit of private, albeit, highly regulated private ownership. China is slowly marching in to the new millennium in some ways.

In other ways, China remains a repressive regime, strongly centralized and tradition bound.

What defines greatness?

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