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The China Threat

May 2, 2010

Filed under: life,review — Terry Wohlers @ 09:20

On February 28, 2010, The Washington Post published a story titled “There’s a new Red Scare. But is China really so scary?” After having been to the country a few times, I’m gaining an understanding of the strengths and limitations of Chinese. This article does an excellent job pointing out some of them and gives a seemingly realistic view of where China stands today.

I’ve learned that there are many differences between the Chinese and the U.S. governments. One is that many of the leaders in China are engineers or have a technical background. Meanwhile, our government is largely ran by lawyers and others with little or no background in science or technology. One can guess how the decisions made by these two groups would differ when developing policy.

Over the last few years, U.S. journalists have pointed out the dramatic difference between the number of engineers graduating from Chinese colleges and universities compared to those in the U.S. The flurry of articles have gotten a lot of attention. An article published in the New York Times stated that 600,000 engineers graduate per year in China compared with just 70,000 in the U.S. This article, nor any of the others that I’ve read, explained that Chinese statisticians count car mechanics and refrigerator repairmen as “engineers.”

The Post article goes on to discuss how the U.S. was once obsessed with another developing giant in Asia: Japan. Indeed, the Japanese offer some of the top brands in the world, but Japan has not brought an end to U.S. product development and manufacturing.

The article is here in its entirety. I recommend that you read it, if you have not already. It provides everything one would expect in a “CliffNotes” version of a good book on China.