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In The Jaws Of The Dragon

by Eamonn Fingleton
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Product Details

  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • Publishing date: 21/07/2009
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780312561628
  • ISBN: 0312561628

Synopsis

In recent years, popular wisdom has held that opening American markets to Chinese goods was the best way to promote democracy in Beijing?that the Communist Party’s grip would quickly weaken as increasingly affluent Chinese citizens embraced American values. That popular wisdom was wrong. As Eamonn Fingleton shows in this devastating book, the culmination of twenty years of research and study, instead of America changing China?i.e., making China more democratic?China is changing America.

While the Chinese people’s rising affluence is, of course, an occasion for wholehearted rejoicing, Uncle Sam should give the Chinese power system a wide berth?lest he catch his coattails in the jaws of a dragon.

Eamonn Fingleton, a former editor for Forbes and the Financial Times, has been monitoring East Asian economics since he met supreme leader Deng Xiaoping in 1986. He predicted the Tokyo banking crash the following year, and the Internet stock crash of 2000 in his book In Praise of Hard Industries: Why Manufacturing, Not the Information Economy, Is the Key to Future Prosperity. His books have been read into the U.S. Senate record and named among the ten best business books of the year by Business Week and Amazon.com.

In recent years, popular wisdom has held that opening American markets to Chinese goods was the best way to promote democracy in Beijing?that the Communist Party’s grip would quickly weaken as increasingly affluent Chinese citizens embraced American values.

That popular wisdom was wrong. As Eamonn Fingleton shows in this devastating book, instead of America changing China, China is changing America. Although this process of reverse convergence has been swept largely under the carpet by knee-jerk globalists in the American press, Americans will soon be hearing much more about it. Nowhere is the pattern more obvious than in business. Many top American corporations?Boeing, AT&T, the Detroit automobile companies, among them?openly collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party. In a stunning rejection of Western values, Yahoo! even provided the Chinese secret police with vital evidence that resulted in a ten-year jail sentence for one of its Chinese subscribers, a brave young dissident, under draconian censorship laws. Selling the American national interest short, countless other corporations abjectly do Beijing’s lobbying in Congress.

This book?the culmination of twenty years of study?also breaks new ground by revealing the secret behind China’s phenomenal savings rate. It is reinforced by an Orwellian system of political control that, as Fingleton reveals, utilizes an ancient bureaucratic tool called selective enforcement?a form of blackmail that instills a silent reign of terror throughout Chinese society. Most worryingly, selective enforcement can readily be unleashed on any American corporation with interests in China?which is to say just about every member of the Fortune 500.

?Eamonn Fingleton demonstrates once again why his analyses of modern capitalism deserve serious attention. As he has done before with Japan, he identifies the elements of China’s business model that depart sharply from easy Western assumptions?and he lays out the consequences of seeing China the way outsiders would like it to be, rather than the way it is.”?James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly

?Eamonn Fingleton demonstrates once again why his analyses of modern capitalism deserve serious attention. As he has done before with Japan, he identifies the elements of China’s business model that depart sharply from easy Western assumptions?and he lays out the consequences of seeing China the way outsiders would like it to be, rather than the way it is.”?James Fallows, Atlantic Monthly

?With capitalism spreading in China, the world expects communism to be swept away by democracy. Eamonn Fingleton expertly shows why it is not to be. This book begins the understanding of the challenge the United States faces from an authoritarian China strengthened by capitalism.”?Former Senator Ernest F. Hollings

"The more heavily that U.S. media conglomerates invest in China, the more vulnerable they become to Chinese pressure to censor their U.S. reportage. As Eamonn Fingleton shows, what we don’t know can hurt us. This is a fascinating book with truly unique insights.”?Pat Choate, author of Agents of Influence

?Filling in the missing pieces of the puzzle that is China, Eamonn Fingleton’s riveting and provocative book is required reading for anyone who cares about the U.S.-China relationship.”?Senator Byron Dorgan, author of Take This Job and Ship It

?Eamonn Fingleton offers a compelling corrective to the naive and often self-interested view of U.S. elites that as China grows more capitalistic, it will necessarily grow more democratic.”?Robert Kuttner, coeditor, The American Prospect

?Fingleton brings his penetrating analytical skills to bear on every dimension of the U.S.-China economic relationship, even the uncomfortable facts that many policymakers prefer to ignore.”?Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur

?Anyone who cares about the future of American industry needs to read this book.”?Richard L. Trumka, secretary-treasurer, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations AFL-CIO

?One of the most powerful, shocking, well-written, solidly documented, tear-the-scales-from-your-eyes books I've read in more than two decades . . . I couldn't put this book down?at least 100 of its 368 pages are dog eared and highlighted. It's probably the most important book that's ever been written about the figure of our republic.”?Thom Hartmann, host of The Thom Hartmann Program

?America's fate looks dicey in the showdown with the Chinese juggernaut, warns this vigorous jeremiad . . . His economic analysis is incisive.”?Publishers Weekly


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  • Must Reading!
    From Amazon

    The Washington establishment is betting that opening our markets to Chinese goods is the best way to promote democracy in Beijing. Countless multinational see profit in promoting this view. Unfortunately, ideology is again overruling common sense, just as it did in the decision to invade Iraq. South Korea's 2006 per-capita income was $18,400 ($110 in 1962), less than half that of Japan. If the rapidly growing Chinese economy merely matched the per-capita income for South Korea, their economy would already be 2X that of the U.S. Fingleton believes that China's high savings rate is a key to its rapid economic growth - encouraged by trade barriers, credit controls (consumer and mortgage credit is hardly available, including refinancing to fund consumption), land-zoning policies that greatly restrict the space for homes and retailing (creating a need for savings and high prices/rents that mostly flow back to the government - owner of most land, where it is used largely to fund industrial investment). A 17% VAT is still another means to suppress consumption. Confucianism enjoins the populace to obedience, loyalty, and self-sacrifice; it was pushed by President Jiang Zemin in 1993 after he was impressed by how these virtues were stabilizing forces in Japan, South Korea, and especially Singapore. This stability is augmented by the government holding groups responsible for members' behavior. Another key control mechanism is selective enforcement, in which most real power resides within unaccountable and invisible bureaucrats atop a maze of sometimes contradictory regulations that often are not enforced unless the "offender" has drawn attention through eg. political action. Fingleton has no doubt that advanced manufacturing is a far better source of highly productive and well-paid jobs than the service jobs we now think of as our salvation. Their output is also about 10X more exportable, and provide a better job mix for people of ordinary ability. (More U.S. 2006 graduates majored in sports-exercise than electrical engineering.) China's foreign currency reserves are the world's largest - $1.2 trillion in May, 2007. They've become a huge purchaser of American T-bonds in an effort to finance the U.S. trade deficit. Our last surplus was in 1991; even high-wage Japan (vs. U.S.) and Germany run overall trade surpluses, with Germany about balanced vs. China and Japan having a strong surplus. The 2006 U.S. trade deficit was 6.5% of G.N.P., the second highest in history (Italy - 7.7% in 1924). Italy cut its in half the next year; there is no solution in sight for the U.S. In our eagerness to do business with China, American corporations conduct mendacious P.R. on Beijing's behalf. Access to good housing to officials helps encourage this. Chinese free-trade dodges include delays, replacing old tariffs with anti-dumping, quotas, and standards as new barriers, piracy. American corporations rarely complain to D.C. - they fear retaliation by Chinese officials. Fingleton similarly sees American attempts to pursue an independent foreign policy increasingly subject to a veto in Beijing. American corporations are generally required to transfer their most advanced technologies to their Chinese factories. Bottom Line: China is changing the U.S., not vice-versa. If our policies do not change, our decline will quickly become irreversible.

  • Anyone listening?
    From Amazon

    When I finished reading this book I found myself wishing the President, his advisors, and Congress would read this book. The author says a lot of things people don't want to hear, but should. I sure hope the author's dead wrong!

  • Very Important Book Dealing with Our Present Trade Disaster
    From Amazon

    The author has done our country an enormous favor with the publication of this book. He clearly and concisely explains how the US has been taken to the cleaners in terms of trade policy by the Chinese, the Japanese, and other East Asian nations in the last few decades due to increasing international trade deregulation, the WTO agreements, and the nefarious trade strategies of our Asian mercantilist "competitors" and their collaborators in our US corporations, the Halls of Congress, and the Executive Branch. He makes the very considered point that you cannot have "Free Trade" in the classical 19th century David Ricardo sense when your other trading partners are practicing a very obvious form of mercantilism. China, Japan, South Korea, etc. have not the slightest inclination to reduce their trade imbalances with us. From their point of view they are simply tapping into the greed of the CEO's of the American corporations that practice outsourcing, a corrupt American political establishment, a mass media that is a corporate mouthpiece , and a generally ill-informed, complacent and naive US voting public. Economics from the mercantilist point of view is a zero sum game. I win, you lose, simple as that.... The playing field of "Free Trade" is tilted at a steep angle. They are always headed in the direction of the down slope, our side is always negotiating the up slope. Don't count on our major media reporting much truth about our trade position anytime soon. China in particular has ways of dealing with foreign reporters who "defame" them by reporting the truth about the trade situation. According to the author, they are either bribed to shut up, suddenly "implicated" in one or another "illegal" (carefully manufactured by the authorities) activity in China, fired by their employer who experiences "pressure" from the Chinese authorities, perhaps sexually blackmailed by the threat of exposure of an affair or illicit liaison, or else simply meet with some unexplained and unfortunate physical accident. Totalitarian dictatorships can play very rough.... He also writes about Chinese agents established in this country going after Chinese American reporters and intellectuals who speak too freely and publicly about trade policies or other uncomfortable issues for the bosses in Beijing. He covers the widespread use of capital punishment in China. He quotes sources that as many as 10,000 Chinese may be executed (official murder or assassination might be more appropriate terms to use) yearly to control the general population by the use of terror and fear. Reputedly, some of these executions are publicly conducted in packed stadiums. This is reported to occur only in the more remote parts of the country. I suspect--and the author certainly seems to think--that most of the executed are Chinese who were too critical of the dictators or else had the audacity to try to organize labor unions, or push back on authorities over issues of democratic justice or fairness. Thank God that our glorious corporations and favorite US politicians and statesmen are so close to such an enlightened regime and provide them with favored nation status so that they can drain more manufacturing jobs from the US and help to further de-industrialize our nation. The author goes into some detail about how the Chinese authorities suppress domestic consumer consumption in order to fuel their development of export industries and increase their trade and account imbalances which are used for further investment in more export factories and associated infrastructure. The surpluses can also be used to buy US treasuries or else as financial leverage against the US. When you hold 2+ trillion dollars in US currency, you can call your debtor, Uncle Sam, on the carpet any time with the threat of dumping dollars on international currency markets. It is clear from the author's point of view that the Chinese dictators want to make China the preeminent world power--both economically and militarily. With the help of many of our corporate heads, politicians, and major media, they are well on their way. The author's proposed solution is the use of protectionism. Protectionism is a much maligned policy. It is used by all of the East Asian players--China, Japan, South Korea, etc. America was a protectionist nation from its founding until the early 20th century. We did not fully embrace "Free Trade" until after WWII. It was a smart move at the time, the industrial world--excepting the US--had been destroyed by war. After the mid-70's, though, the policy has served this country very poorly. The author calls for the introduction of gradual, uniform tariffs which, in his view, should normalize our trading position in a decade or so. He also calls for value added taxes (VAT) for imports sold in the US. He calls for extensive finance reform for our political process. As long as our politicians are bought by our major corporations and banksters with their international trade connections, there is a little likelihood that we will see honest governance and statesmanship from our Congresses and Presidents. Financial and ethical reform of national politics is essential. Enforcement of those ethical and legal standards will be absolutely critical. Politicians should be going to prison for taking bribes and selling influence. An excellent book. It will open your eyes to the sellout of America and the American people by many of our corporations, politicians, mass media, and part of our academic and intellectual classes.

  • Cogent argument from a wide range of perspectives
    From Amazon

    I'm an interested layperson rather than an expert on economics, and I must say that I find the evidence Fingleton assembles in support of his larger argument extremely interesting and provides a bedrock of information for me to make sense of East Asian economies and their relationship with the west. He provides deep historical detail on Japan and how it provided a model for China's recent rise, and combines all of this with detailed sociological observations about groups in China and the east, economic theory and data, and very strong critical analysis of the western press and other pundits and their analysis of China. I've never read something that helped me make sense of so many puzzling aspects of the east before, like the 'conversion' of the Japanese after WWII, the astounding savings rate in China, and the pseudo-crash of the Japanese stock market. I feel like I want to read more and dig deeper to form a solid opinion.

  • Must-read
    From Amazon

    I think anyone concerned about the global balance of power and America's economy should read this fascinating, beautifully written, impeccably researched book. It clears up myths about global trade and makes it quite clear that unless an American government wises up, our economic power will continue to diminish, with grim consequences for prosperity at home. Just one example: you hear all the time that America doesn't build cars that the Japanese want and that's one reason our car industry has suffered a collapse. Nonsense. The Japanese have strict import controls and only allow 5% of the cars in their country to be foreign-made--which means European cars are in effect boycotted as well. I've never hward anyone argue that the Europeans don't make good cars. I wish everyone in the White House and Congress would read this book and think through our trade policy--because it puts us at a great disadvantage on the world stage.

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