April 25, 2012

Quo vadis the Chinese economy? A bubble?

A great news analysis column here looks at three possible options of opinion about China.

One is the maximalists, who say that, for various reasons, China's economic good times will continue to roll. The second, rather than minimalists, could be called bubblers, because they see China facing many of the same bubbles that the U.S., then Western Europe, started facing five years ago, and with a more corrupt, perhaps occasionally dictatorially uneasy, government.

The third is that favored by the author: that China is facing a natural, inevitable slowing of growth now that it's per-capita income level and other factors have hit a certain level.

Sharma compares China to a number of countries that hit a similar middle income level. Mexico, he notes, never  broke through. Japan and South Korea did, of course, to become "developed nations." The jury's still out on Brazil right now, of course.

That said, a slowdown, even, with anemic Japanese and European growth, could return more capital to the U.S., he says.

Sharma also says it could lead to a return of more jobs.

Color me skeptical there. Globalizationalists in the U.S. have long said that they'll look at more manufacturing in places like Vietnam if Chinese wages get too high. Or ... speaking of Mexico ... lower fuel transportation costs than China will make maquiladores a tempting angle again.

Color me skeptical on one other thing, too. I'm a bubbler. Japan and South Korea had never inflated their economies like China did. And even though Southh Korea, at a comparable period, was also a dictatorship, it was a more secure one than the current group oligarchy in Beijing.

We'll here a bubble ... either semi-smoothly deliberately being deflated, or else rudely popping. But, we'll hear a bubble.

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