China Shakes the World: A Titan's Breakneck Rise and Troubled Future—and the Challenge for America

James Kynge, Author . Houghton Mifflin $25 (270p) ISBN 978-0-618-70564-1

Since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, binding its billion-plus population more tightly to the global economic system, the Asian giant's prodigious appetite for food, technology and natural resources has dramatically accelerated profound changes already well underway across the planet. Kynge, the Financial Times 's former Beijing bureau chief, makes the voracious "appetites" of the new China his constant concern, as he uncovers the sources of and limitations on the giant country's epochal growth. Beginning with a scene in Germany's postindustrial Ruhr—where a steel mill is sold, deconstructed and shipped more than 5,000 miles for reassembly near the banks of the Yangtze River—Kynge assesses the socioeconomic transformations of China's low "Industrial Revolution–era" labor costs and modern production technology at home and abroad. But for all its world-shaking potential, notes Kynge, "China's endowments are deeply lopsided." Key weaknesses—such as a shortage of arable land, serious environmental devastation and pollution, systemic corruption and a dearth of resources—are conversely helping to ensure that China will have to manage its growing hegemony in a symbiotic manner with partners on the economic and geopolitical playing fields. Despite the subtitle, and a chapter devoted to China's acquisition of U.S. technologies, Kynge focuses at least as much on China's significance for Western Europe. Overall, Kynge's crisp assessment of the dynamics involved is both authoritative and eye-opening. (Sept. 27)

Reviewed on: 07/24/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 268 pages - 978-0-7538-2670-6
Paperback - 270 pages - 978-0-618-91906-2
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-297-85693-1
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