Eric Bloch Column

The great haul of China

THE extent to whi

ch the Chinese economy has developed and grown in recent years is impressive in the extreme. In less than one-and-a-half decades it has transformed itself from an economy that was so frail and debilitated that almost all of China’s vast population was impoverished to one which has become the fifth-largest economy in the world, and is widely expected to be its greatest by 2010.

It is an economy wherein per capita income is rising exponentially, state-of-the-art technology is becoming the order of the day, inflation has fallen dramatically, the currency has strengthened markedly and is now very stable, and China is becoming a major global player in the field of foreign direct investment (FDI).

However, the magnitude of China’s achievements is tainted by the very great extent to which its export operations — or, to be more correct, its mode of conducting those operations — have weakened the already fragile economies of many under-developed, and previously developing, countries. To a not insignificant degree, Chinese economic growth has been realised by it resorting extensively to what can only be termed as unfair trade practices.

Without in any manner belittling the meaningful economic growth that China has attained through constructive economic programmes, it is incontrovertible that some of its growth has not only been achieved at the expense of other economies, but that such achievement has been realised by ensuring that China and the other count