By Sydney Fernandez
Name a Chinese corporation. Really? You can’t? Not many people can. Is it not interesting that, in a world practically run by corporate entities, you and I find it difficult to name a corporation belonging to what is supposedly one of the most powerful nations in the world?
Despite common western misconceptions about the power of the growing Chinese nation, the political reality is that the strength of a nation in the 21st century is determined by its ability to project economic, not physical, power.
If you were to tune your radio or TV to a news station, you’ll most likely here quite a bit about the horrible, bitter economic conditions that plague the citizens of our nation. Ask anyone how the economy is doing, and they’ll probably say “terrible.” But from an international standpoint, the United States is prospering in all possible ways. You cannot name a Chinese company, yet everyone in China knows Coca-Cola. Moreover, the US dollar is stronger than it has ever been.
Two questions then arise: First, why do Americans perceive America as so economically weak? Second, why do Americans perceive China as so politically powerful?
The answer to the first question is a combination of globalization and perception of economic terminology. The world is getting smaller. The manner in which fiscal decisions are made is becoming far more complex. This is globalization. The result of rapidly modernizing nations and new means of interconnectivity, globalization means that our system of buying and selling is shifting from a realm in which government entities control the world to a paradigm of corporate control. However, this paradigm shift has not yet been achieved by the masses, and, as a result, we perceive the United States as economically impoverished because of comparatively small factors such as unemployment rates and debt.
Americans consider terms, such as debt, to have a negative connotation. While it may be beneficial for a private citizen to be debt free, a healthy amount of debt is an absolute necessity for a government or corporate entity. Unemployment is another term that is misunderstood. While it is admittedly problematic that the US has an unnaturally high unemployment rate, this is not strictly indicative of a faltering economy. A measure of a nation’s economic success lies in the growth of its industry and business.
Free trade doctrine may dictate the loss of private sector blue-collar jobs in the United States if it means the creation of many more white collar careers over the course of a decade. Additionally, free trade expands world industrial progress. The blue collar jobs outsourced to China and India in 2011 were the jobs commonly taken by Americans ten years ago. Following this trend, the jobs we work now will be outsourced to the developing world over the next ten years. This system creates an ever evolving American work force by forcing us to adapt to more rigorous, better paying, and more advanced careers.
When measuring economic stability, we must examine currency. The US dollar is strong not only because it holds a high overall value, but also because developing nations are aware that the informal adoption of the dollar will be key to their long term development. This is a symbiotic relationship: developing nations act as a net for the dollar by guaranteeing a minimal value; so long as market vendors and taxi drivers accept it, the dollar will maintain a minimum value. Meanwhile, the dollar supports development in the third world by linking developing nations the growth of US capital.
Globalization and technological acceleration are also the root causes of American views on China. A large portion of the American population lived through the Cold War and the era of the USSR. Those who haven’t know the horror stories of air raid sirens in school and the constant threat of nuclear annihilation. But this is the 21st century. A nation’s political capability is determined primarily by the spread of its ideals and the power of its economy, not its ability to project physical force.
The Chinese system of business is one that exists solely at the will of western interests. Chinese factories exist to build western products. The ability of Chinese corporate entities to interfere or tamper with global business is next to nil.
“History will judge you based on what you build, not what you destroy,” said Barack Obama in 2008. The United States has created a world in which our former enemies enjoy Big Macs with their families and watch American television. Despite the discontent of our populace, we are the most powerful nation on earth.