How China Went From Economic Superstar to Faltering Giant
Manage episode 357903500 series 2858887
In just a few years, the narrative on China has almost completely flipped. The dominant sentiments in America had been awe, envy and a kind of fear. China’s growth seemed relentless. Its manufacturing prowess was lapping ours. It weathered the pandemic without the mass death seen in the West. It could build housing and transit and infrastructure at a speed we could no longer even imagine.
And then, as 2022 ticked over to 2023, things changed. China’s real estate bubble popped. Its Zero Covid policies turned pathological. Its leader, Xi Jinping, turned what many saw as a technocracy with autocratic characteristics into something closer to a plain old autocracy. Foreign investors began looking to diversify. Companies that had long relied on China, like Apple, began trying in earnest to build manufacturing chains elsewhere. And under President Biden, American policy toward China began to match Trumpian rhetoric toward China: Slowing China’s rise, and building America’s ability to manufacture crucial goods, became central goals.
So what’s true about China right now? Which of these narratives, if any, hold water? Dan Wang is the technology analyst at Gavekal Dragonomics and a visiting scholar at Yale Law School’s Paul Tsai China Center. He focuses particularly on the core vector of U.S.-China competition: technological innovation and manufacturing prowess. Each year, his annual letter about what China can do, and how it does it, is eagerly awaited by many in the United States who are trying to understand that nation’s rise. In 2020 and 2021, those letters were profoundly bullish on China. In 2022, his sentiments turned. And so I wanted to explore the various sides of the China story with him.
“China’s Hidden Tech Revolution” by Dan Wang
2020 Letter by Dan Wang
2021 Letter by Dan Wang
2022 Letter by Dan Wang
The Jesuits by Markus Friedrich
Last and First Men by Olaf Stapledon
Disturbing the Universe by Freeman Dyson
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