Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 25, 2006 / 27 Nissan, 5766

Hu and the dog that didn't bark

By Niall Ferguson


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In the old days, Chinese emperors sat in splendor in the Forbidden City and waited for the barbarians to come to them. That only changed in 1979, when Deng Xiaoping turned Chinese history on its head, becoming the first leader of the People's Republic of China to visit the United States — the first emperor to pay court to the barbarians.


In 1979, it was a novelty to see the pint-sized heir of Mao donning a 10-gallon hat. Now, however, when President Hu Jintao visits Washington, he is treated with the respect due an equal.


But is he truly an equal? The answer is more "yes" than "no."


True, the annual output of the American economy is still more than six times larger than that of China when measured in dollars. True, the average American is about 30 times richer than the average Chinese. Yet China's economy is growing at a rate two to three times that of the United States'.


Moreover, the U.S. and the renascent Chinese empire have become deeply interdependent. The U.S. is currently running the mother of all trade deficits, equivalent to about 7% of GDP. A large part of that deficit — more than a quarter — is being financed by China in the form of purchases of U.S. bonds. Why do the Chinese want to accumulate so many dollar-denominated securities? Because it prevents their currency from appreciating against the dollar and keeps their exports cheap. As China's share of global exports has surged from 1% to nearly 8%, access to the American market has been crucial.


So China may be a rival in some respects, increasingly competing with the U.S. for access to the world's reserves of oil and natural gas. But it is also a vital prop of American prosperity, financing the American borrowing habit at a remarkably reasonable rate of interest.


The catch is an inexorable relocation of manufacturing from West to East. Just look at the things Americans import from China. Don't kid yourselves into thinking it's just toys and sneakers, because Chinese exports have been racing up the value chain in recent years. In 2003, for example, more than two-fifths of the U.S. trade deficit with China was accounted for by electrical machinery and power generation equipment. Virtually no new jobs are being created in manufacturing in the United States these days; American firms would rather outsource production to Asia.


And this is where the Sino-American relationship gets really interesting. Because, if history is any guide, we currently ought to be witnessing a wave of China-bashing in the United States.


Of 12 senatorial elections that look to be competitive this November, no fewer than nine are in states with substantial industrial sectors. And yet, to judge by their websites, not one of the candidates is willing to play the anti-China card. The nearest anyone comes to raising the issue is the anodyne phrase "fair trade."


What makes this especially puzzling is that, for two years running, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has toyed with the idea of legislation that would slap a whopping tariff on Chinese imports in retaliation for alleged Chinese currency manipulation. Why is this idea not seen as a vote winner?


It wasn't like this in the 1980s. Then, American fears of Japanese competition unleashed a wave of Japan-bashing and punitive tariffs. So what's different this time? One answer is that the trade traffic is not all one way. There has been significant growth in U.S. exports to China, albeit not on the scale of Chinese exports to the U.S. Another answer is that American consumers are just too happy with cheap Chinese imports to complain about the erosion of the American manufacturing base. A third possibility is that the Chinese are now using some of their accumulated dollars to invest in the U.S., thereby creating new jobs.


But perhaps the best explanation is that American voters just don't see China as a problem. Polls make it clear that issue No. 1 is Iraq (22% of voters see it as the country's top concern). Only 10% of voters give first place to the economy, and just 7% cite unemployment. The trade deficit is nowhere.


Does this mean that Americans have learned from history not to resort to protectionism when they encounter competition? Perhaps. But another possibility is that the urge to bash China is merely dormant. After all, 85% of voters do regard "protecting the jobs of U.S. workers" as the No. 1 goal of American foreign policy. And the recent storm over immigration has shown how readily members of Congress will strike protectionist attitudes when they see an opportunity to make political hay.


A few years ago, Schumer asked a nice question at a Senate Banking Committee hearing: As more and more manufacturing jobs move to China, "what's going to be left here, restaurants?" My hunch is that more and more of his fellow legislators could soon start asking similar questions.


At this point, China-bashing reminds me of Sherlock Holmes' "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time." But the dog did nothing in the night time, Watson objects. "That was the curious incident," Holmes replies.


It will be even more curious when it starts barking — though let's hope it has the courtesy to wait until the emperor is safely back in the Middle Kingdom.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


BUY THE BOOKS

Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).

Click HERE to purchase it at a discount. (Sales help fund JWR.).

Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.

04/18/06: Should Americans be less optimistic?
04/11/06: Globalization's second death?
04/04/06: So many ‘special’ friends
03/28/06: Let's get it right about what has gone wrong
03/21/06: Congress is trying to give the world a globotomy
03/14/06: Lame ducks can still bite back
03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles