Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Chinese Threat

In this month's Atlantic there are some articles about China. They deal with the military aspects of a proposed conflict between the US and China and also talk about the situation in the Far East as it now stands.

Here is my angle. We are China's biggest customer. Why would they want to get into a fight with us? All of those Chinese workers who would be out of jobs would have nothing better to do with their time than rail against the government. Granted, the dictators over there don't care, but if you get enough people you may have problems. Conversely, I don't necessarily want to pay $200 for a pair of tennis shoes. All of the hoops manufacturers have to jump through here in the US (EPA, union pressure, local ordinances, frivolous lawsuits and NIMBY'S for starters) make manufacturing of a lot of things in the USA impossible.

Many carp about the loss of manufacturing jobs here in the Great Midwest, but I don't really see it as too big of a deal. Unemployment is still only 5% (2% here in Madison). When I need something done at my house that I can't handle it takes a minor miracle to get a contractor out there to do the project. Every Sunday in the paper there is page upon page of jobs that are available. Now I am no economist but I do know what is going on around me - the labor market is extremely tight. There have been many articles written by people much smarter than me about the transition from a manufacturing based economy to a service based economy. I just don't see the sense in China cutting it's own throat by doing something stupid like nuking Taiwan or "accidentally" sinking one of our ships.

China has it's own problems. They have a vast area represented by large minorities that basically all hate each other. Their environment is a disaster and they are short raw materials, including oil. Their demand is one of the reason gas prices are so high. Also, their neighbors Japan and South Korea are well armed and would be supported by the US if China made the first move.


Anonymous said...

This is Carl from Chicago

Damn you beat me to this article! I just received the magazine last night. Must be the slow mail here in Chicago :)

Dan from Madison said...

Ha - you beat me to the Putin one so we are even. You can always add more to it if you want.