China Is Quietly Reshaping the World

from The Atlantic

The Pakistani town of Gwadar was until recently filled with the dust-colored cinderblock houses of about 50,000 fishermen. Ringed by cliffs, desert, and the Arabian Sea, it was at the forgotten edge of the earth. Now it’s one centerpiece of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, and the town has transformed as a result. Gwadar is experiencing a storm of construction: a brand-new container port, new hotels, and 1,800 miles of superhighway and high-speed railway to connect it to China’s landlocked western provinces. China and Pakistan aspire to turn Gwadar into a new Dubai, making it a city that will ultimately house 2 million people.

China is quickly growing into the world’s most extensive commercial empire. By way of comparison, after World War II, the Marshall Plan provided the equivalent of $800 billion in reconstruction funds to Europe (if calculated as a percentage of today’s GDP). In the decades after the war the United States was also the world’s largest trading nation, and its largest bilateral lender to others.

Now it’s China’s turn. The scale and scope of the Belt and Road initiative is staggering. Estimates vary, but over $300 billion have already been spent, and China plans to spend $1 trillion more in the next decade or so. According to the CIA, 92 countries counted China as their largest exports or imports partner in 2015, far more than the United States at 57. What’s most astounding is the speed with which China achieved this. While the country was the world’s largest recipient of World Bank and Asian Development Bank loans in the 1980s and 90s, in recent years, China alone loaned more to developing countries than did the World Bank.

Unlike the United States and Europe, China uses aid, trade, and foreign direct investment strategically to build goodwill, expand its political sway, and secure the natural resources it needs to grow. Belt and Road is the most impressive example of this. It is an umbrella initiative of current and future infrastructure projects. In the next decades, China plans to build a thick web of infrastructure around Asia and, through similar initiatives, around the world.

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16 Responses to China Is Quietly Reshaping the World

  1. Jimmy Bedoya November 3, 2017 at 6:36 pm #

    For a while, the United States was the leading country with its amount of power and money. Serving and aiding the world with its economic, social, and political benefits, the United States made its imprint on a global level by formulating alliances as well as establishing a vast amount of trade markets within other continents. Now the leader seems to be China with its growing extensive commercial empire. Serving as the largest export and import for 92 countries, 35 more than the United States, China is moving at a speed that is shocking the world. China at this point has been found to be lending more to developing countries than the World Bank. Using aid, trade, and foreign direct investment, China plans to build goodwill, increase its political say, and expand its natural resources. Belt and Road, a current and future infrastructure, is China’s most recent and detrimental source of ensuring their objectives. China’s plans consist of building a broad connection of trade initially through Asia and then through the rest of the World. Currently, this Belt and Road strategy is being executed through the Pakistani town of Gwadar. Undergoing “a storm of construction”, Gwadar is receiving a brand new container port, new hotels, and 1,800 miles of superhighways, as well as a fast-paced railway to connect it to China’s western provinces. Ultimately, China, with Pakistan’s help, plans to turn Gwadar into a city that houses 2 million people. Having spent over $300 billion in asserting this form of construction, China plans to spend over $1 trillion more in the next decade.

    On the contrast, due to recent studies, many speculate that these investments and loans will not help economic growth and will displace local firms as well as small enterprises. Not to mention the fact that these loans have interest rates rising from 2.5% to 5%, making it harder for developing countries to pay China back. Some believe that China is simply doing this act of “kindness” as a means to gain power and control over the governments of these countries. Critics believe that these Belt and Road projects are only encouraging “terrible governance, environmental, and human rights standards”. They also reiterate the ideology that China forms ties with countries who are corrupt. China was also reported to leave a huge amount of workers who were underpaid, as well as leaving damages upon the environment of the countries in which they work in. However, it is important to note that China has been making strides to formulate stricter guidelines and apply “world-class” standards, in an effort to improve their reputation, but most importantly, their ties and alliances. The author of this article believes that because the Western Hemisphere does not have the funds to assist these developing countries, the best that they can do is ensure that the change and improvements China is assessing are done in a positive manner. I agree with this ideology for the simple fact that no one country should hold the responsibility or power to improve the world around us. Instead, it should be a collaborative effort executed by all countries, if not at least all the powers of the world. A checks and balances system on a global scale would prove instrumental in the development and assurance of positive, global evolution. One power could invest funds, while another oversees where exactly these funds are going to, and a third power could ensure that these companies and projects are being done effectively and correctly. Something of this nature, as well as a rotation in responsibilities, would help the world reach higher social, economic, and intellectual status.

  2. Joane L November 4, 2017 at 10:57 pm #

    China is indeed becoming a leader in trade, not too long the country was only recognized for abusing their citizens through cheap labor. However, I think many disregard the fact that China is known for cultivating some of the smartest innovators.
    With companies like Alibaba, China has developed a unique model to support global wealth. They are also extending their skills to many developing countries in the carribean by building infrastructure while keeping the natural components of those countries in tact. One major issue that the article reveals is that China is the largest investor in countries run by dictatorship and that don’t respect human rights. This claim is not supported by any evidence, except one ignorant remark made by the president of Uganda. If that’s the case, Chinese practices should be viewed as unethical and limited, but instead they are gaining territory and advancing at a rapid pace, putting top leading countries at risk. Trading should be expanded for many reasons, it will reverse unhealthy political issues in many countries. Wealth should not be kept only in certain countries while the rest of the world suffer and corruptions continue to rise. This approach will help solve many issues that plague the society we live in.

  3. Elliott Otmani November 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

    There are many ways to analyze the purpose of this article. China is the biggest country in the world in terms of population, its population and economics grow faster and faster but there is a gap getting bigger and bigger in between the rich and poor population. On this sense, the government has decided for a few years to massively invest and open its economic to catch up with the globalization. We have seen Chinese companies and workers going to Africa a lot, Chinese capitals moving into European and Occidental companies too. This type of investment looks similar to the ones produced by few countries such as Qatar or Emirates in order to develop their economics and expand their development in a globalized world. In the case of China, there is a huge difference with those countries I just mentioned, it is the size of the population. They have a lot of people and they struggle to be in a situation of offering and creating jobs on their country. What do they do then? They invest outside on the territory of countries in development and they bring their main d’oeuvre with their companies to create jobs in these countries. What is wrong with that? China is growing fast, investing inside and outside of their territory. On the other side, do they create a profitable situation for the hosting countries? It seems that they do not help the population much, according to the article and statistics. Actually, they seem to be more profitable for the hosting government rather than the hosting population, going into countries which do not look so democratic and ethical in terms of money exchange and trades. China is taking advantage of weaker countries than them to develop themselves more than they would help those countries.
    Finally, how can we really bring a judgment on what China is doing? Doesn’t it look like the process of development used by European countries almost everywhere in the world? I do not mean to state that China is doing the right things but they are doing what Europeans have done in the past, and what they are still currently doing in a way with different countries in Africa for instance. It is the new colonization.

  4. Rebecca Hu November 9, 2017 at 9:25 pm #

    Ever since President Xi took office, he launched China into a new economic era. China is the fastest growing economy in the world annually 10% GDP growth. I have heard about the belt and road economic plan when I was in Hong Kong. President Xi emphasizes the importance of trade. This belt and road system is in hopes it will revitalized the silk road in the past.
    China investing in developing countries such as Pakistan, Uganda and many more in hopes to promote a cheaper trade connection. The belt and road initiative allows China to invest in large amount of money “to build a thick web of infrastructure around Asia and, through similar initiatives, around the world.” These investments are not really mutual beneficial, instead “often displace African local firms, and thus hurt employment in small enterprises.” In the world of economics there is no such thing as a free lunch.
    Maybe with some experience living in China, I feel China is always victimizing themselves and trying to create a scenario where China have always been the weak one. Now it is the time for China to exploit other country and race with U.S.A to be the largest economy in the world. I am amazed with the economic growth in China, however, with growth at such a fast rate it worries me about the stability of China’s economy. I believe I am not the only one holding doubts to the economic boom in China. Although with numbers China is doing great and the international market, Chinese companies and customers are known to be rich in asset. Domestically there are still many social and economic problems.
    I believe that the majority of the countries care too much about the numbers, about GDP growth. At the end of the day we created these numbers to measure how we are doing, these numbers are all results of human population exploiting natural resources. These natural resources will take a long time before they replace themselves, let’s not forget the negative impact these actions have on our planet. Chinese government are investing huge amount of money on rebuilding the Silk Road trade route, without thinking about any social issues. The priority for the Chinese government is profit. “Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni – no guardian of human rights – explained he likes Chinese investment because they ‘don’t ask too many questions,’ and ‘come with…big money, not small money.’” Clearly, these dictators like the Chinese investment compared to other loan options, they do not care people’s future. They want the money now and they want power.
    I don’t know how long it will take to make people realize that these numbers are not a good indication of how the people are doing. These are just numbers represented by our exploitation of natural resources. Instead of thinking about creating better trade relationship, the agreement that boosts these numbers. We should think about sustainably, with the current economy the rich will become richer and the poor will only stay poor. We are just enlarging the gap between the current broken economic and social system. I am not encouraging that everything has to be fair and the distribution should be even. But look at our wealth distribution in real life, the gap is ridiculous. China wants to race with the United States, just create another extremely skewed wealth distribution. I think it is time for people to change their way of perceiving the economic model. The poor people in China or Africa are not going to benefit. Without proper management and sustainability, the bridges and infrastructure China built in these nations will be quickly destroyed. Nobody will do anything about it because they want everything now, they want construction work to create jobs. They want investment to boost numbers that represent the welfare of the nation.
    I believe it is a poor economic model we are operating under. China has good intentions with the belt and road initiative. However, the bottom line of this initiative is about profit not about sustainability.

  5. Shiyun Ye November 10, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    This article focuses on China’s belt and road policy, which is a newly developed and highly promoted economic plan recently. The main purpose of this action is to connect and cooperate between Eurasian countries and create a China centered trading network. These days the world is amazed by how fast and large is China’s economy growing. According to the CIA, 92 countries counted China as their largest exports or imports partner in 2015, far more than the United States at 57. What is most astounding is the speed with which China achieved this. While the country was the world’s largest recipient of World Bank and Asian Development Bank loans in the 1980s and 90s, in recent years, China alone loaned more to developing countries than did the World Bank. Therefore, with China’s strong financial ability, it helps other developing countries to build their solid economic expansion in the plan of one belt, one road. For example, one of the city — Gwadar is experiencing a storm of construction because of the participation in the plan. China and Pakistan aspire to turn Gwadar into a new Dubai, making it a city that will ultimately house 2 million people. Moreover, in the next decades, China plans to build a thick web of infrastructure around Asia and, through similar initiatives, around the world.
    However, there are some downsides of this economic plan: as China becomes the main investor on helping the economic growth and infrastructure building, China could own many of these countries’ coalmines, oil pipelines, and power plants, and thus have enormous advantage over these countries’ governments. At a minimum, it creates advantage to make many smaller countries feel economically beholden to China. Although people may argue the U.S. will find it harder to impose its will and it prevents the control from it, China now could be the one to impose its will. Finance and policy are always intervened with each other and it sometimes can create serious backfire. Currently the process is still going so whether the outcome will be good or bad is under inspection. According to the statistics, China is often the largest investor in countries that others ostracize—because they are run by dictators, do not respect human rights, and are corrupt—such as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Niger, Angola, and Burma. This negative history sheds a bad influence on people’s minds that the old story would come to the stage again. People would not want to experience another type of colonization, especially under today’s liberal trend.
    Furthermore, environment and legality are other vital elements to consider. As China’s GDP grows in a fastest speed comparing to other developing countries, the actions behind the numbers should be examined. For example, how many acres of trees are cut down in order to make factories and how many poor are being labored illegally in order to produce more profits? Numbers do are important to measure a country’s economic power, however, the actions behind it should be in a continual and practical method that can make the numbers grow sustainably.

  6. Tianqi Xu November 17, 2017 at 10:17 am #

    There is no doubt that after the World War II, United States is the strongest country in the world. Even until nowadays, United States is still the most powerful country in the world. Within the past 60 years, people can easily find out some traces that affected by United States from almost every field, such as business, technology and science. On the other hand, in the recent decade, China, a country that received a huge influence during World War II, has rapidly and continuously developed and started to show his power to the world and try to challenge America’s dominance in the world. The rising of China is a phenomenon that cannot be ignored.
    “The belt and Road” is the policy that Chinese government started to implement nearly about 10 years ago. It is a policy of taking China as the core and trying to jointly develop countries and regions along the coast of China, Central Asia, North and West Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. It included lots of area, such as trade, facilities construction and culture. Why China willing to lend a lot of money to those countries? It seems an unreasonable for most of people. However, China has its own purpose. First of all, China need to build good relationship with some of the countries in order to create convenience way to tread with other countries. Then, China need to “bribe” those countries. This is to show that China is the No. 1 country among these countries. However, in my opinion, this action is useless.
    As the article mentions, this action may let that countries gain a little bit benefit, but there are also negative influence. Such as, some of the countries in Africa did not been helped at all and they still need to pay back to China a quite lot of money. While China introduced Chinese worker to these countries, it caused the unemployment increased of the local countries. Even though I believe China’s purpose is to help them, the result is not what they expected at beginning. But here always have somethings will come out and things become complicated. There is no excuses for China to say they did all things right, they have to admit that there still have negative result. The later on job is to make up all those mistakes.
    The “belt and road” is only working for those countries who are weaker than China or it can be said that the only for the countries who still need help now. In addition, it is difficult to say the result of this action. Maybe it works for the Asia and the Africa however, the rest of the countries could not benefit from it. I do not know is abscess on it, the world is changing under this action and China benefit from it for sure. No one will do something that is harmful for himself or herself. No matter what will happen in the future, we all wish the world become better and better in the future.

  7. Valerie Dorsett November 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

    China has been developing at an incredibly fast rate. They are very advanced with technology and are always creating new ways to improve. One article I have read is that China is trying to use facial recognition all over the whole country. This has not shocked me because China is usually ahead of other countries when it comes to industry. Now, China wants to create a “Belt and Road,” and because of that they are transforming a whole town. They plan on creating new hotels, ports, and a 1,800 mile super highway and railway in order for it to connect to land in the Western part of China. When construction is all done, they estimate the town will be able to become home to 2 million people. They compare it being as good as Dubai or better.
    The article adds that China is quickly becoming the world’s biggest commercial empire. They usually take commercialism and technology to the next level. However, this is an expensive investment for the Chinese. So far it is estimated that China has put $300 million towards this project so far. They plan that over the next few years they will spend at least $1 trillion dollars on this new “Belt and Road,” project. That is an insane amount of money to think about. However, I guess with all of the work China produces and profit they gain, this is possible to do. Even so, I was surprised by this fact that China has loaned more money to developing countries more than the World Bank. The article adds that in contrast to Europe and the United States, “China uses aid, trade, and foreign direct investment strategically to build goodwill, expand its political sway, and secure the natural resources it needs to grow,” which makes China’s allies and surrounding countries want to help them out because China helps them out as well.
    China has this new type of town all figured out. The “Belt and Road,” is to date China’s biggest foreign policy initiative. It will connect all of China together which makes sense for transportation in the future. There is also oil coming right through Strait, which is why it makes even more sense to build routes near it. A very popular place in China that everyone knows is Beijing. The article says that this new plan will be able to compete with the United States of America. They definitely will be able to without a doubt. They will be making a lot of money and many people will want to go visit China possibly because of this new change. This could also create a greater sense of peace between many countries. If China is trading with many countries no one would really want to go to war and disrupt that. Along with this trade, China’s economy will be able to grow because of the business it produces with other countries. China will also always be able to keep up its profit because of how much interest they charge for a loan. Right now the interest is at 2.5 percent but the article says it could go up to 5 percent which means that they will always have an increase in income. Countries who borrow money will want to pay China back as fast as they possibly can. China wants to become more international, which will happen with the success of this new “Belt and Road,” system. China is on the road to success because of this new technological age that can grant them many advantages. I do not see this slowing down anytime soon.

  8. Li Zonghao November 17, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    The Atlantic’s article “China is Quietly Reshaping the World” points out many new things about the global economy, but perhaps the most surprising is the quote “in its own way, China is thus helping to uphold international peace.” While this statement may hold some truth in that what China is doing contributes to international peace, I thought it was interesting that the author phrased it as if China actively attempts to uphold international peace. It is one thing to state an undeniable fact such as how the global economy is emerging more important than ever, but it is another thing to imply that China has any intention to actively uphold international peace. Thus, the author of this article may perhaps be a testament to the West’s revised opinion of China.
    Personally, I feel that China is certainly doing good for the international community, but it is not out of obligation to uphold international peace. Rather, it is a positive externality out of China’s attempt to become the world’s strongest nation. As America turns protectionist under President Trump, China is taking the chance to step up to fulfill the power vacancy in the international community. In many ways, this will benefit China because ever since the humiliating defeat at the Sino-Japanese war, this is China’s chance to get recognized by the international community.
    Furthermore, it should be said that it is not strange for China to use economic power as a means to gain international prestige because it aligns with Chinese foreign policy. A quick glance at the Chinese stance on the South China Sea and Southeast Asia relations will reveal a few themes: militancy and peacefulness and self-reliance and dependence on Western nations. However, among these varied themes there is the common goal aimed at increasing bargaining power and increasing Chinese reputation.
    In addition to the prestige that comes from helping surrounding countries, China’s reason to help them is also solidly grounded in the economic theory of free trade. Historical data has proven that lowering trade barriers and globalization helps by lowering prices for everyone. While domestic Chinese firms may suffer as a result, 1 billion Chinese people and many others will benefit from lower prices. Therefore, to say at the very least, China is doing good for the international community, but any implication that China is doing so for the sole purpose of the international community should be said carefully.
    After all, as China amasses power, the tension of the many unresolved international disputes regarding territory will definitely increase. The current peace among the complicated international relations in Asia is but a status quo maintained only by the United States; because China has to respect United States it cannot actively invade the territories that it claims as its own. However, in the future when China gains a better spot in the international community everything would change and the prospect of an invasion is not far off. As with the recent Catalonian independence, more and more people are forming their own national identities out of nuanced differences in culture. While it may be hard for foreigners to understand, to them it is as different as day and night.
    However, that is a question for the future. For now, the increased economic relations will definitely help the global economy as well as China itself. Furthermore, improved economic relations will deter conflict between countries that depend on each other. Unless a major event draws national outrage, there should not be much of an issue.

  9. Vincent Scorese December 8, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

    China was once a very weak nation and a laughing stock in most cases of the history of the world of more recent years and that of the ancient past however that wasn’t the case. Countries take turns rotating between being world powers and taking center stage on the global stage for grow and other reasons as well. If you look at history, the Chinese had very great moments of dynasties and prosperity followed by years where the Romans took over that stage of prosperity, followed where the Europeans all individualized and the British took their stake in the world stage. The Americans weren’t very far behind and following the revolution developed the new world that many went to in order to find new life. the Germans followed by Adolf Hitler as well as those of Japan and Italy rose to high power in the wake of world war 2 which was quickly reclaimed by the power of the Americans and allies following the war. The Americans have been growing and a global powerhouse in the highest degree for the entire 20th century and in that process and was the world’s leading economy. However, the turn of the century would tell a different story where china is now taking its turn of being the world’s largest economy and out doing the united states in mostly every category which is very peculiar for the world which was dominated for a long time by the American economy. They used to make china an open market with policies call Open Door policies which allowed trade form all the European nations into china to take advantage of natural resources or other desirable goods.

    Now china is getting the last laugh in this century as they are growing ever steadily with no signs of slowing down. They have a GDP growth that is well above any of the others around the world and is showing they aren’t taking their foot off of the gas pedal with the projections of over 300 billion already spent and a projected billion expected to be spent fixing up their nation and towns making them even more money and productivity on their way to trying to be the best nation on the planet as far as the economy is concerned. Our every growing dependence on china is a major cause for their growth and is also scary for us if china falls under for some reason or if we have issues with that country in the near future. I believe we need to be more independent so we can stand on our own two feet and again reclaim the position of being the top economy and exporter to the world around us.

  10. Gabrielle Pietanza February 7, 2018 at 10:51 pm #

    China is the most populated country in the world and so it is not surprising how much power and influence they have throughout the world. China is becoming a trading leader and is investing in and out of their country building more capital and thus being capable of completing more projects, especially regarding development. China is unique in using aid, trade, and investments strategically to build all aspects of government expanding political sway and securing resources needed to grow.

    Their “Belt and Road” initiative is proof of these strategies at work and are transforming the Pakistani town of Gwadar from an area of cinderblock houses, fisherman, cliffs, and dessert, to one of which contains a new container port, hotels, railway, and highway. These upgrades connect Gwadar to China’s western provinces and hope to populate the city with two million people. The new interconnectedness of the area is a large part of revitalization and the goals regarding trade this country currently holds. For this area of revolution specifically it is having a large positive effect and depending on the final conclusions of the project China could possibly decide to use this as a model helping other surrounding smaller nations and growing in even more power.

    This article does not go into detail regarding their projects and the environmental effects they are causing. I believe if China is striving for sustainable change that this is an important factor in the conversation. The improvements they are making in and out of their borders appear to be impressive on their face, but it is important to look behind the progress that jumps out at you and look at the facts behind it. I would love to learn more about these Chinese reforms and what it is not only doing to the economy, but to the environment as both strongly effect not just the surrounding society, but also the world we all live in.

    The social class gap in China is growing larger faster than ever before. This is why now more than ever the Chinese government is striving for improvements and development. These projects employee many and are profitable all at the same time. China, like many countries, continue to strive to close the gap of social class. Holding the title of the fastest growing economy with an annual 10% growth in GDP is proof of that. I believe China is currently doing all they can to make sustainable improvements to their county and am sure they will continue to expand their horizons in order to make both necessary improvements and profits.

  11. Jacob Abel February 8, 2018 at 11:10 pm #

    China’s rise to power has been and will continue to be a subject of much discussion. As the article clearly lays out China plans on investing 1 trillion dollars in developing world for various reasons including expanding its trade routes and competing with the United States. It will be interesting to see how this massive investment on the part of the Chinese will affect the international order. The Asia Infrastructure Bank, which China founded, and now has 61 members was created to compete with Western institutions such as the WTO. China is clearly trying to flex its muscle on the international stage with all this investment. Its record though is definitely mixed. As the article notes China tends to due business with governments that oppress its people and don’t generally let them share in these large investments. It is hard to say that this Chinese investment is actually benefiting the majorities in all of these countries. The article also makes another important note in regard to Pakistan. If they cannot pay back China for the loans they have taken then China can simply take control of the infrastructure that it has helped to build. This is very relevant in the nations that China invests in given that they tend to have unstable governments and could collapse.
    The ultimate goal of China is to create land based trading routes to Europe which would truly make China even more of a world power than it already is. Being able to connect Asia, the Middle East,and Europe would revolutionize world trade. While China does seem to be taking the right steps in terms of environmental policies at home and in other nations it will be interesting to see what sort of impact this will have. If China is able to achieve its vast economic goals then it will be hard to deny a large seat in the international order as it already is a number one trading partner for so many nations.

  12. Zachary Corby February 9, 2018 at 2:36 am #

    China has been quietly growing for a long time. The country is one of the top in the population and territory. It comes as little shock to me that China has become a world power today because it certainly has had the resources to. China has long been trying to become a world power and will stop at absolutely nothing to do so. They infamously killed a lot of their population in “The Great Leap Forward” when they began to switch from a rural to industrial economy. However, China’s current “Belt and Road” initiative is in my opinion one of the smartest economic plans out there. The program is focused around infrastructure, which is why it is so successful. Infrastructure is the easiest political way to justify spending money. Anything that will improve roads, buildings, etc will usually be acceptable to people. China has first taken this initiative and used it to help improve their own infrastructure. In the city of Gwadar, new highways are being built to connect it to China’s landlocked provinces. China also uses the Malacca strait for almost 80 percent of its oil as well as the majority of its imports and exports. Using this initiative, they are able to construct new trading routes that can cut costs for them in the long run. Businesses in China are also getting a lot of the benefit from it because they are getting some of the contracts for construction, and citizens of China are being out to work on these jobs. This will drive their economy by making the businesses more money and keeping unemployment lower since there are constantly construction jobs available. People in the other countries where some of these projects are taking place have recently been able to start getting jobs on these projects, which again would benefit the businesses of China because I am sure they are working for much lower rates. Either way really China stands to gain. Of course, the most brilliant part of the initiative is the fact that the majority of the money that goes into these projects are in the form of loans. Since, China hands out the money to all these countries in loans they get to charge an interest rate, which allows them to make even more money. This money would have otherwise of been sitting in the reserves of the country, but instead is now being able to turn China a profit. This of course is more than just simple smart economics; it serves a more powerful political function. When a country takes a loan, they are indebted to China almost exclusively. Many of the less powerful developing countries take these loans in hopes of becoming developed and boosting their economy while selling their soul in a way to China. Yet what choice do these countries really have? That is how China has made this initiative so successful because it it able to feed on countries that really need the money desperately. Yet it is important to note that these countries currency are not nearly as valuable as the Chinese’s making these loans even more substantial. This causes repayments to be hard and not all of these projects can be repaid which allows China to have a lot of political power there, and have technical ownership over whatever the project was. Much like the article mentioned how if Pakistan could not repay its loans, China would take control of the coal mines that is what is happening to a lot of the projects. Worst case scenario, the country actually pays back the loan so they are no indebted to China, and China still seems to have made an ally by helping the country out when it needed the money. China is even loaning out money to a lot of big countries which helps to keep international peace, but also ensures that China’s security in a way. The United States alone owes trillions of dollars to China, and since we owe them money and they do a lot of trade with us, we always have to make sure we do not really do anything to upset them. China is probably the biggest obstacle keeping America from just nuking the whole country of North Korea, so you see the influence that they wield.
    The article went into many details and gave great insight into how China has built itself into a economic and national powerhouse. I wish the article had talked more about the environment and how their projects are affecting it. I also wish that it would of went into greater detail about how many countries have actually been able to pay back its loans that they lend out. The labor practices are something that can be focused on more as well as they were only briefly touched on.
    Either way as an American, this article was very startling because it is actually scary to see how China is slowly taking over the world by throwing loans at it. China has virtually been able to buy everyone as a friend and advance their political agenda through it. When you add this to how much China already controls us because of their technology, we are way behind the 8 ball to say the very least.

  13. Chris Goldfarb February 16, 2018 at 2:33 pm #

    China may overtake the U.S. as the world’s premier economic superpower but really is that such a bad thing? To be clear if we’re talking about China overtaking the U.S. in terms of G.D.P. this will take a very long time. In 2014 China’s G.D.P. was about 10.36 trillion dollars and the U.S. had a G.D.P. of 17.42 trillion dollars. With China having an annual G.D.P. growth rate of 7.4% China could hypothetically catch up to the U.S. in under a decade. That however isn’t taking into account that the U.S.’s G.D.P. is also growing by 2.4% annually and that China’s annual growth has been slowly falling since 2010 while the U.S.’s has remained mostly stable ( Yet that’s just nominal G.D.P. in G.D.P. (PPP) and amount of exports China has already caught up and surpassed the United States. Taking that into consideration many would say that China has already taking the U.S.’s place as the world’s foremost economic superpower, one source making that claim being the International Monetary Fund ( So if that is true then where is the apocalypse? Why hasn’t the world stopped spinning now that China is on the same economic footing as the U.S.?
    The fact is just because China has started to outpace the American economy on a large scale they are still very much behind. China’s G.D.P. (PPP) may be larger than the U.S.’s but that doesn’t mean that the U.S. will just disappear as if it never existed. If China’s ultimate goal is not overturn the world order but just to balance the scales as the article has said then there really isn’t any reason to panic. So as an American I will say the last few decades of ultimate economic superiority have been nice, but that imbalance does little to ensure everybody body gets an equal seat at the table. All this being said if China really wants to be in the same footing as the U.S. they’re going to start having the same problems as the U.S. For one as the article points out with China’s Belt and Road initiative they need to start getting more influence on a global scale if they want to be considered a superpower. America’s status as superpower while largely due to our economic status is also due to our worldly presence. We have thousands of military bases and alliances with countries all over the globe and China as of now just can’t say the same thing. Another important difference between the U.S. and China is G.D.P. per capita, in the 2014 the U.S. had a per capita G.D.P. of 54,000 while China had a G.D.P. per capita of 7,500. That is a pretty stark difference in the wealth of the individual citizen.
    To me it seems pretty clear that China is where the U.S. was 60 years ago where our economy relied mainly on factory jobs and the goods we produced and that just isn’t the case anymore. The U.S. is now an overwhelmingly service based economy and as that G.D.P. per capita starts increase in China it will start to follow the same pattern the U.S. did. People will finally have the money to pay for things to be done rather than do those things themselves and China will make the same transition the U.S. did where we lost many of our factory jobs and started working in service based industries. So essentially if China really wants to balance the scales that’s not necessarily a bad thing as it means that the U.S. just won’t have the overwhelming power to do whatever it wants like it’s had for so long. If that’s the route China wants to take then in order to compete with the U.S. they’re going to need to spread their presence in order to achieve actual worldly influence. Finally if China does accomplish the balancing it desires it will start to face the same problems U.S. has like a loss of factory jobs and the responsibility of interventionalism.

  14. Damian Mioduszewski February 16, 2018 at 5:50 pm #

    The Belt and Road policy is one of the hall marks of the 21st century that is currently being led by the Chinese government. This policy is one of the main diplomatic efforts which is allowing China to grow its influence and economic power to many of its surrounding countries. While this is all happening the Chinese government is running laps around the slow and strict US government and is rapidly becoming the next world power. A great example of Chinese foreign policy is that the US has provided billions of dollars’ worth of aid to Pakistan in hopes of swaying the Pakistani government into favoring them over China. Instead China has sweeped in with its massive loans that have very little questions and large infrastructure projects allowing the Chinese government to have Pakistan in its back pocket as an unwavering ally. An interesting side note is that the recipients of these loans are in desperate need of Chinese loans as they do not care about human rights violations or other sensitive issues. With the Chinese government being the only provider of these morally wrong loans they are able to charge increasingly higher interest rates that are reaching 5% causing difficulty paying it back and possibly allowing the Chinese firms to seize these assets. This is the era of economics where money rules as king in these lands and the U.S. is being left in the dust with its massively overpriced military believing its military will make it the world’s only superpower. My concern is that the US is leaving China unchecked in its expanding reach and it effectively allowing it to undermine alliances that the U.S. has spent years working on improving. While there is obviously cause for concern, the threat level is not as high as it is presumed to be as china’s rapid economic growth is slowly diminishing. The president of the Chinese government has stated that its goal is for a more equitable international system, but it does not want to unravel the international order. Along with Chinese leadership not wanting to top the U.S. in rankings these loans that were allowing china to spread its influence around the world are slowly becoming less lucrative. The Chinese government has published more stricter guidelines for outbound investors and the Chinese infrastructure investment bank (AIIB) has also started looking to apply world class standards which make these loans less likely to reach these “sketchy” governments. Even with these news guidelines slowing down Chinese influence in other countries should the U.S still worry about China becoming the world’s next superpower?

  15. Daniel Kim February 16, 2018 at 6:11 pm #

    To go further with your argument, many people around the world still look to the United States for major economic and relief efforts such as American Red Cross and State Department’s USAID. The United States also has a major presence in the world not only because of military bases but also because of its soft power. According to Harvard Business Review, soft power is the “ability to shape the preferences of others.” In other words, a country or an individual can employ a more subtle approach to dealing with other parties. This means that force is not always necessary in persuasion. Instead, a person’s reputation or values can play important roles in the negotiating room.

    Traditionally, social scientists and economists looked to GDP and military might for a country’s status on the global stage. However, having a strong GDP and military power have certain limitations. There are times when offering either the carrot or the stick is not enough to convince someone to submit. For example, North Korea is on the verge of perfecting its missile capabilities even though the United Nations imposed multiple economic sanctions for many years. However interestingly, the former North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-II, agreed to release two American hostages. Also oddly enough, the chief negotiator was the former United States president Bill Clinton. Back in his presidency years, Clinton was one of the first people to offer condolences to Kim Jong-II when the dictator’s father passed away in 1994. Although this small gesture could have meant nothing, Kim Jong-II surprisingly agreed to let two American journalists return home.

    Another area that represents the United States as a major soft power is Hollywood. Almost everyone around the world knows and watches American movies. Some of them include Forrest Gump, Pixar’s Finding Nemo, and Catch Me if You Can. Whenever Hollywood movies are available worldwide, people in different countries attempt to create bootleg versions or illegally download them. Hollywood movies such as Westerns created such an impression that a typical American stereotype is associated with a cowboy. Pixar films also resonate strongly with families all over the world. Especially now that Disney’s animated films are targeting diverse members, hopeful artists and animators from everywhere want to work for Pixar animation.

    Finally, China is never going to beat the United States because of the differences in fundamental values. China has been around for thousands of years. However, the United States has been around for roughly two hundred years. Despite the age difference, the United States is able to attract people from all over the world because the country values diversity. The United States is a land of immigrants that encourage and welcome people to bring their own values and cultures to enhance the American experience. According to 2015 analysis from Pew Research Center, the United Nations estimated that 46.6 million people living in the United States were not born there. The number alone shows the influence the United States has on the world stage. The United Nations’ headquarter is also in New York City. Therefore, China has a long way to go if it wants to surpass the United States.

  16. zhijie Yang February 16, 2018 at 8:38 pm #

    Looking back on the history of China, there have been great dynasties and magnificent periods. But it has also experienced periods of “Seclusion” and “the great leap forward” that are not conducive to economic and national development. However, in 2013, the “One Belt And One Road”, proposed by President xi jinping, shocked the world. The scale and scope of this policy is staggering, and it is moving forward quickly and steadily. Estimates vary, but have already cost more than $300 billion, and China plans to invest another $1 trillion over the next decade or so. On the economic level, the “One Belt And One Road” strategy will improve infrastructure such as roads, railways, ports, pipelines, Bridges, transmission networks and optical cable transmission lines along the routes. At the same time, the strategy will also promote cooperation between countries along the belt and road in investment and trade, cultural education, tourism shopping, medical and health care and other fields to achieve common prosperity and coexistence of civilizations.
    It is important to note that the lack of creativity is a problem for Asian countries. “One Belt And One Road” will provide Asian countries with an opportunity to use Asian resources and wisdom to boost their creativity. This is the basis for ensuring the competitiveness of Asian markets and the foundation for Asia’s voice in the world.
    From the security level, “area all the way along the” country, especially in the countries in the Middle East, Africa, high unemployment and high rates of poverty, has become the root of social unrest in the region, and cause “spillovers” to other poor countries around the world. This strategy has a wide range of benefits, which can play a huge role in increasing income, providing employment and improving people’s livelihood. This is good news for Asia and the world.
    In addition, the “One Belt And One Road” strategy will also achieve win-win outcomes for China and neighboring countries and regions through connectivity and in-depth cooperation, and form an inseparable “community of Shared future”. Comprehensive, this strategy is to through economic factors orderly flow freely, to realize efficient resource allocation, deepening cooperation market, to increase the economic total population of about 4.4 billion, 21 trillion of the prosperity of the world’s longest economic corridor. The “One Belt And One Road” series of Asia, Europe and non-economic circle, relying on its inclusive and open principles, will attract global countries with its huge market and huge business opportunities. It is reasonable to believe that this will strengthen the immunity to global economic fluctuations and provide a new engine for global economic development.

    “One Belt And One Road” is “China’s Marshall plan” that is also the western media hyped by domestic even some people simply reference, this is a misunderstanding, the two have essential difference, need to cause enough attention.
    The Marshall plan is “the second world war” after the United States to the western European countries economic aid, assist in Western Europe reconstruction plan, as well as the containment of the former Soviet union, launched a “cold war” economic tools, was the U.S. dominates the global strategic target. Only willing to accept American leadership can we accept American aid. By implementing the Marshall plan, the United States, on the one hand, gathered western European countries on its own and gradually established its status as a superpower. Most of its money is spent on American goods and services, opening the door to the expansion of the American economy. Later, the United States had a so-called “dodge program” for Japan, which was roughly the same.

    However,China’s advocacy of “One Belt And One Road” with common development as the goal, to carry forward the “peaceful cooperation, open tolerance, mutual learning and reference, mutual benefit and win-win” spirit of the new silk road, in the original agreement, based on the framework, don’t put forward the new protocol, frame, not attach any political conditions to cooperation, open to all for the development of the country, not advocate “group politics” and confrontational “alliance”. The countries concerned will play their respective advantages and realize mutual benefit and mutual complementarity. Through connectivity and trade and investment facilitation, we can better meet the development needs of all countries and regions, and promote common development and prosperity. As chairman xi said, “One Belt And One Road” provides an inclusive huge development platform, has the profound historical origin and cultural foundation, to the rapid development of China’s economy along with the national interest.

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