China wants and don’t wants
The idea for this post came from two places.
First, some time back, I heard a news story about China wanting to develop their own company to build jumbo passenger jets. (Here’s one story I just dug up about this.) It seems they aren’t too keen on having to rely on buying Boeing aircraft made in the USA. For China it seems to be sort of a “control your own destiny” kind of thing.
Then I recently came across a story in Wired magazine that China wants to develop their own microchip company because, again, they don’t like relying on getting them from American companies. (Even though they aren’t made in the USA.) They especially don’t want military technology based on American computer chips.
Oh how very interesting! We’ll just go ahead and file both American computer chips and American-made passenger jets in China’s “do not want” column.
So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what goes in China’s “want” column?
First and foremost I think an argument can be made that China wants us to buy cheaply made plastic crap, like the Google Marble Maze pictured on the left, which I received for Christmas a few years back. They are willing to make that crap at wages less than most Americans would be willing to accept, so the crap can then be sold at prices Americans find palatable.
By the way, I don’t think you can buy this toy from Google anymore. China and Google are having a little tiff right now. But I’d bet my paycheck that Google still happily sells plenty of other useless items manufactured in China.
China also wants a middle class with more buying power so they can dump walking and bicycles and ride around in gasoline-powered internal combustion engine vehicles like Americans. They want western-style fast food. Believe it or not, Chinese people in their new cars have to be trained how the drive-thru works. We’ve been trained on them for decades. It’s new stuff to them.
Something else that China wants is the United States in their debt. According to Wikipedia, China is the largest creditor of the United States. Says Wikipedia, “In May 2009, the US owed China $772 billion. In total, lenders from Japan and China held 44% of the [United States] foreign-owned debt.”
Now I’m no economist, but it sounds to me like China has no problem with us owing them big time (no doubt our own fault for selling them things like our treasury securities and what not) and buying their cheaply made pieces of plastic crap, but at the same time they don’t want to be beholding to us for our computer chip technology and our passenger jet aircrafts. Is it just me or does that leave a bad taste in my mouth?