China 2011: Moves Closer to Economic World Dominance

Posted on November 21, 2010


By 2011, China’s economic and strategic power will have increased exponentially. Currently China has a corner on the market in production of electronics (TV, cell phones, etc.) and small appliances. They have the needed minerals for manufacture; they have plentiful cheap, skilled labor.  They could demand any price they wanted for the finished product.

In aerospace, they plan a mission to the moon; in aircraft manufacture they are gaining ground and targeting Boeing and Air Bus; and in automobile production they have not only improved their own automobiles but have purchased brand names from other countries.  China now owns Volvo, Hummer and other highly developed western vehicles.  In partnership with the US, it manufactures engines and other parts.  It is rumored it wants to buy into GM.  The Buick Regal is the most popular car in China.

What could clench their dominance by 2011?  There are several parts to the puzzle.  While China has cornered the market on the man it now aims to control production in other countries of these and other products.  How?  Through “management” of the export of what are called “rare earth minerals.”lanthanides and exhibit similar chemical properties. [wikipedia]

There is a table of the 17 minerals that includes their use in manufacture in the above-quoted Wikipedia article.

China  has the largest concentration of these minerals or elements.  Because mining them is costly and concentrations of them for effective removal are not readily found, countries in the west let China do it.  During a dispute with Japan this fall, China withheld export of these minerals to the island nation.  Only by early November did this policy end.  As a result, Japan and other countries are looking elsewhere for the needed elements.

While the US is attempting to mine the concentrated deposits it has (but cannot do as cost-effectively as China), Japan is developing recycling measures:

China does not have oil or much food.  However, it has very good trade relations with Iran and other Middle East countries with the much needed liquid gold.

Food production in Chinai s limited because of the low amount of arable land for farming.  They have therefore, “bought” the land they need elsewhere. For example, they have  purchased large dairy farms in New Zealand [nznotforsale.org]

The well-respected Economist featured this headline in 2009:

Massive sale of Ethiopian farms lands to Chinese and Arabs

June 3rd, 2009

The Economist

The Chinese and Arabs are buying poor countries’ farms on a colossal scale. Be wary of the results.

OVER the past two years, as much as 20m hectares of farmland—an area as big as France’s sprawling farmland and worth $20 billion-30 billion—has been quietly handed over to capital-exporting countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and China. They buy or lease millions of acres, grow staple crops or biofuels on it, and ship them home. The countries doing the selling are some of the world’s poorest and least stable ones: Sudan, Ethiopia, Congo, Pakistan. Usually, when foreigners show up in these places, it is with aid, pity and lectures (or, in one instance, arrest warrants for war crimes). It must make a nice change to find their farms, so often sources of failure and famine, objects of commercial interest instead.

Yet while governments celebrate these investments, the rest of the world might reasonably ask why, if the deals are so good, one of the biggest of them helped cause the overthrow of the government that signed it—the one in Madagascar. Will this new scramble for Africa and Asia really reduce malnutrition, as its supporters say? Or are critics right that these are “land grabs”, “neocolonialist” rip-offs, different from 19th-century colonialism only because they involve different land-grabbers and enrich different local elites? [read the remainder of the article here.]

Helped overthrow the government in Madagascar scene these past few weeks of yet another coup? This is particularly chilling.  This kind of activity requires the international community to turn a blind eye and as far as Madagascar is concerned, they did.

A must read is, When China Rules the World, a 2009 book with the subtitle The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order. It has been recommended by Fareed Zakaria on GPS this week and is available at Amazon.com.

©On My Watch…the writings of SamHenry.  Registration pending.