Let me start by saying that I have nothing against China or the Chinese people. What I am fixing to talk about is bigger and far more encompassing and quite frankly it’s not about the Chinese people either. It’s about governments and their desire for control and expansion. It’s about the second-largest economy in the world. It’s about people in general not paying attention to what’s really going on around them – which is hard to do, as there is a lot of noise coming our way these days. Sometimes it’s hard to get a clear channel on anything.
Mainstream media is good at distracting people from what’s really important and needs our attention or consideration, by providing us lots of other crap to focus on. Right now one of those focuses is North Korea, Iran and Syria, as well it should be. But, we better not lose sight of the sleeping giant panda or fire-breathing dragon – however you choose to look at it. I’d be willing to bet there is a legend somewhere that tells the story of how one became the other . . .
Most of us are aware that we , the United States, owe China an immense amount of money — in the ballpark of $1.3 trillion, if my sources are correct. The U.S. government continues to borrow from them.
The Chinese have also been buying a considerable amount of U.S. assets over the past decade, with projections in U.S. investments of $15-20 billion a year over the next decade. They appear to be focusing on acquisitions in energy, financial services, food production, real estate, and manufacturing, as well as entertainment and technology. The Chinese own One Chase Manhattan Plaza and the General Motors building, in New York – both nice commercial real estate coups for sure. They own all the AMC Theaters.
Most of these assets are owned by the Chinese government, under various state-owned entities. China needs energy to fuel their rapidly growing industrial development, and have purchased power assets in Portugal, Brazil and the Philippines. They had an unsuccessful attempt to buy the U.S. oil company Unocal in 2005.
The Chinese government also purchased private equity assets that fund GM pensions, if I understood correctly. I want to do some more research on that, & a few other things. I have so many questions. Though these are my opinions, I do try to thoroughly research topics I am interested in, verifying my info with several sources. Most of this information came from sources like Reuters, Market Watch, LA Times, USA Today, Business Week, and Forbes – encompassing a variety of agendas.
There is concern about China’s foothold in technology and possible breaches in our national security. Some analysts think that it’s in China’s best interest to stay friendly with us, as our markets thrive, so do Chinese investments. But what if their overall strategic goal is to control or even own the U.S. in some unknown manifest destiny design. They have quite an established growing assertive military presence, as well. Regardless of what might happen, I would not want to be at the mercy of a Communist country.
A month or so back I happened across CNN doing a piece on The Guardian’s Predictions for the World in 2014. Predictions shared involving China were:
- China will eventually be the world’s largest economy.
- Though Western brands will continue to dominate, China will own them.
- U.S. will soon celebrate Chinese holidays.
- Western politicians will clamor for Chinese investors.
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I find all of this a little disconcerting. I am not a political person, nor do I know much about economics. I realize the world is now a global economy, but maybe the U.S. is a little too open for business? And why do we do so much business with China, in particular? The government does not allow any partnering with them involving NASA, spaceflight, or manned exploration – but then again there is considerable technology involved in those endeavors and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) come into play.
I will be writing about this again, as I have so many questions that are not answered and concerns I wish to address. I also did not want to make this post to awfully long, as I have lots more data to share. I would love to hear what you think about this, too. Is the giant panda a good business partner or a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
Anyway, just something I’ve been thinking about . . .
** I watched a most interesting program quite a few years back about China – I have been keeping an eye on this development for quite a few years now – their growth, increase in consumption, and interdependency with the United States. In all honesty, it was a bit disconcerting. This link no longer shows the ABC News/Bob Woodruff video, but you can read the accompanying story.
21 thoughts on “Is the Giant Panda Sleeping?”
Wow I don’t have a tv or read the news online really, and had no idea about all that. Interesting, and indeed, disconcerting… Great duel metaphor about the panda/dragon.too!
fergusandthedruid – I can’t imagine not having a T.V. and I get most of my news from the good old fashioned newspaper that you hold in your hands 🙂 Research is done in many venues, though. Glad you enjoyed the post & thanks for commenting! Hope you keep reading, I have more to say about this . . .
There is an interesting article in ‘Time’ (this week or last) about China’s growing debt. They are not immortal, economically speaking….but need to watch our ass.
Great article. I will keep up with your future thoughts on this.
Thanks Lance – I will check it out!!
It is from this week’s Time:
By Rana Foroohar entitled:
“A Little Trouble in Big China.”
May have to go the library for this one – but I’ll keep looking online. I did find a couple other articles by Rana though that were written in January that I am going to read. Thanks again 🙂
wow – nice post. I like the way you think. and those are some good questions – also – glad you did not make this too long – would rather have parts vs. a super long post…
liked this esp. :
“It’s about people in general not paying attention to what’s really going on around them –”
Thanks y.prior! I appreciate your comments and kind words! I definitely have more to say about this and will continue to keep monitoring the situation best I can. Thanks for reading 🙂
Hi Sadie! I’m new to your blog and find your posts intriguing. This topic of Chinese investment in the US is a very hotly debated topic and many “experts” have contradictory views and conclusions. I should engage in full disclosure here: I’m Canadian, I studied business and I have been to China on business but currently have no interests or business there.
The questions you ask have many many answers and which answers will predominate in the future is anyone’s guess. I will tell you this: the Chinese have no more clue how this will work out than anyone else does. They may have grandiose plans at the highest political levels and yet their past plans have never worked out. Their success rate wrt making plans come true is abysmal.
Americans pride themselves on a free market economy and that has historically lead to one of the most robust, growth focussed, adaptable systems in the world. It also means that some time ago, the concept of America as a country was superseded by America as a market place. Obviously, in the extremes, the country definition still prevails, but if you think about the essence of what drives each individual on a minute by minute, day by day basis – it is the market. So,that’s the basic definition of American now – what individuals use as their daily driving force: the market. Given that, tthen the China question takes on a very different perspective: How can Americans use the Chinese desire to invest to their advantage? That has a lot of interesting answers, not the least of which is that the access to the Chinese market (the fastest growing, soon to be largest in the world) has historically been difficult. That may change.
Another interesting observation that I made while in China was that the people in general are very “hungry” – they will work hard for small wages and they are happy to have jobs. This attitude is what Americans are now competeing against. It makes competetive success against China using the sense of entitlement that many now hold in America, very unlikely. However, the Chinese are slowly developing that sense of entitlement and so, in the very long run will end up on a level playing field.
So, just a few thoughts – no real answers. Good luck with pondering this situation – it can certainly use some hard thinking.
Hi Paul & thanks for following!! Enjoyed your comments/feedback very much! I am not well versed in economics, though I understand the concepts in play in the basic sense. I guess, being an American who has worked hard all my life for my employers, I don’t look at being paid a decent living wage & being treated humanely as entitlement, but I can see where some others might. I loved your perspective that some time ago, the concept of America as a country was superseded by America as a market place & that individuals use the market as their daily driving force – I totally agree with that & though I believe in capitalism, I also believe that the best thing & the right thing are not always the same thing — meaning overwhelming corporate greed may not be advantageous to the US as a whole & if that’s the case , where does that leave those “that have” in the end? None of us live in a vacuum or on an island & I think sometimes people’s selfishness & greed makes them incredibly shortsighted!! Thanks for the follow & I hope you keep reading & commenting. Your experiences are very different from mine – I like that as it brings a different voice to my ponderings!!
Further to entitlement: I agree there are many Americans who work hard and earn whatever they get with dedication and effort. Unfortunately, there are still some (although less) who have jobs where they are paid large amounts to do repetitive tasks that require little or no education or training – for instance auto manufacturing workers. That is not sustainable as the same work can be done much cheaper elsewhere or by robots. And the layoffs in the auto industry (and reduction in wages paid) clearly delineate this. (Oh, I have personal experience with this as I used to own and operate my own tractor-trailer and often hauled into US auto plants where I was all but spat upon (as an independent trucker taking away union jobs) by auto workers who had a hard time stringing a coherent sentence together and made $50 + per hr.)
And yes, capitalism is one of the best drivers of human activity (it leverages our greed as opposed to denying it) but cannot be allowed to run roughshod over human rights. It has to be controlled and directed by a larger vision or policy. In other words, the market place concept is a part of an answer for a strong healthy economy, but alone it devolves into dictatorship. It is a much known and recognized side effect of a capitalist democracy that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer (as is happening) so that more and more of the wealth us held by fewer and fewer people. Eventually the rich will put a dictator in power to protect their riches because a democracy would demand a more even sharing of the wealth. That concept was introduced by Socrates in Plato’s Republic over 4,500 years ago, so it ain’t new. Even Roosevelt was known to say that political stability sometimes requires the spilling of blood in a revolution. Not that I am suggesting that. The process above takes 100’s of years or more, so we have lots of time to address it, Unfortunately those who have the power to change the outcome won’t because it is not in their best interests.
And so it goes.
Yes, there are less of those who make larger salaries working on the floor in manufacturing these days – actually we do very little manufacturing in this country anymore so it seems. I also understand about not being able to string a coherent sentence together – this is a major problem in this country – even those that are educated (as well as others, I suppose). As technology changes, that definitely changes the way we work. I read an article in the local paper the other day stating with technology and automation, now 1 worker is typically doing the work it used to take 2.5 people to do. And don’t get me started on unions, mostly because I have a very mixed opinion abut them – depends on what they are actually doing for the workers and in what capacity they are truly serving. I am aware of the dictatorship prophecy & Roosevelt’s quote – someone mentioned that the other day 🙂 Knowing all these things certainly make me wonder about the future of our country, capitalism, democracy, common sense, and decency. Unfortunately, strategic forward planning involving common sense and decency don’t really work in the world of capitalism. Thanks for the comment! ☮
Our PM thinks he’s courting China at the moment but from what I’ve seen of the footage and the agreements made along with some inside gossip from friends in Canberra it’s really about China establishing a military presence here in Australia [under the guise of training with Aussie troops], securing trade agreements which harm Australian farmers but bring profit to China and allowing companies to sue government if they have policies that prevent them from proceeding with development. For example if environmental policies prevent wood chipping under the new agreements companies could sue those government bodies. It’s a dangerous precedent as is allowing that much control over our economy by outside bodies. China has been and will continue to grow in strength economically and it appears to be working it’s way to having the major world economies in its debt. In my opinion this does not bode well at all.
Hi Jenni! Yes, my research has shown that China is building an incredibly large military complex. . . definitely something that should be considered. And, I have read that the U.S. is not the only place China is “investing in.” Thanks for reading & commenting!
I have held the opinion for a good number of years that should China decide to take over the U.S.A.,no shot will be fired,bombs will stay in their stockpiles and armies will not land on our shores. Just call in the debt chits we’ve issued and it’s a done deal.
This ,is not a likely scenario,however.Markets would crumble bankruptcy would vanish any useful industry and the citizenry would would revolt.Maybe.Or maybe go,as lambs to the slaughter.
That we’ve been sold out in the quest for higher profits is obvious, and it is the middle class in this country,the very backbone, who has paid most dearly for the greed of those who could have shown some modicum of prudence when dealing the the options of instant gratification vs. long term economic growth and perpetuating a way of life and conducting business in a fashion that would sustain this great nation for generations to come and chose not to do so.
These acts are to my mind High Treason and should be addressed as such.
Bear in mind y’all that history shows that with a few exceptions,no great powers have been able to hold world domination for more than a couple of hundred years.
That said,it’s my hope that it isn’t too late to turn things around.There are,I believe remedies that can put us back on track,but it will be both slow and painful,with a whole lot of road kill on the economic highway.
I could go on for days about this but that would put me off point but i believe the bigger problems we face in regard to this subject we should first clean house of those that allwed this situation in the first place,enact laws making it illegal for foreign.entities to own real property here,regulate any business/industry deemed too big to fail and go back to address the snafu that was the TARP bailout and hold all those responsible criminally accountable for their actions with appropriate fines and imprisonment,take the monies from their bottom lines apply it to our debts,particularly with regard to China and take back this land I so dearly love and restore this great nation to it’s rightful owners
Clark – well said! The only problem is some of the people who caused this mess are no longer in office, but the powers that be either continue with the status quo or seem to make it worse. Thanks for reading & commenting! I have more coming . . . 🙂
Just an aside.My father thought perhaps he might be interested in buying a McDonalds franchise in the early 80s and went to a seminar to investigate the requirements.
What he found was quite a suprise to him.
First in order to be considered ,one had to be liquid for a minimum of $1m.If you had that then among other criteria,where your store location was not your choice but that of ,the the franchisor and most suprising is that you don’t own the franchise but merely lease it for 20 years at which time it has to be renewed which at corporates discretion may or may not happen.
Perhaps congress should consider adapting such criteria when considering selling out our childrens birth rights
I will definitely never own a McDonalds – LOL!!! And perhaps Congress should . . .
1.35 billion people (compared to our paltry 314 million — we’re outnumbered by a billion), and they want the same kind of lifestyle we “enjoy” (if that’s the word for it). It’s as inevitable as time. Blade Runner and Firefly (and others) imagine a world that’s as much Chinese culture as it is Anglo.
What I wish for is one world where we can forget all this nationalistic crap. It’s utterly meaningless in the larger context. To this end I’m praying for an alien invasion that unites us all as humans of Earth (you know, before the aliens wipe us out and strip mine the Earth).
Inevitable . . . now that’s a word, Wryd Smythe 🙂 And in all honesty, I agree, this nationalistic crap means nothing in the larger context!! (Except to those currently in control . . .) Thanks for reading & commenting ☮