China Economy

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China Copes with Globalization
a m i x e d r ev i e w

t h e i n t e r nat i o na l f o ru m o n g l o ba l i z at i o n

a report by

au t h o r Dale Wen, Visiting Scholar

The International Forum on Globalization (IFG) is a research and educational institution comprised of leading scholars, economists, researchers, and activists from around the globe. International Forum on Globalization (IFG) 1009 General Kennedy Avenue, No. 2 San Francisco, CA 94129 415-561-7650 Email: ifg@ifg.org Website: www. ifg.org Editor: Debi Barker Additional editing: Sarah Anderson Research: Suzanne York Manuscript Coordination: Megan Webster Publication Designer: Daniela Sklan

N E W L E A F PA P E R : 1 0 0 P E R C E N T P O S T- C O N S U M E R WA S T E , P R O C E S S E D C H L O R I N E F R E E

China Copes With Globalization a mixed review
Contents

Foreward and Executive Summary Debi Barker Introduction: China’s Economic Policies From Mao to Present Debi Barker and Dale Wen Section One: Consequences of Reform Policies I. The Plight of Rural Areas Box: The Taste of Sugar is Not Always Sweet II. Urban Reform and the Rise of Sweatshops Box: A Chinese Perspective on Textile Trade Section Two: Impacts on Quality of Life and the Environment I. Poverty and Inequality II. Worker Exploitation III. Health and Education Box: Fast Food Invasion IV. Environment Section Three: Alternative Voices from China I. Progressive Measures by the Government II. Environmental Movement III. New Rural Reconstruction Movement IV. China’s “New Left” Section Four: China at the Crossroad Footnotes Listing of IFG Publications, Poster and Maps

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fore ward
The International Forum on Globalization (IFG) is pleased to present this briefing on some of the key issues now at play from the impact of globalization in China. On the eve of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong—with the eyes of the world on China—IFG visiting scholar and author, Dale Wen, offers some new perspectives not normally presented by western media and policymakers. A native of China, Ms. Wen has observed major changes in her country over the last few decades as it has shifted from a rural and state-directed economy toward an urbanized industrial and privatized system. Western and Chinese media attribute China’s growth to free market reforms, but a deeper examination reveals flaws in this commonly accepted thinking. Much of this report examines the current market-oriented reforms to those of the Maoist era in order to balance the views of many in the West who tout China’s move toward globalization as being overwhelmingly positive while assigning all of its problems to Mao’s Cultural Revolution. This primer intends to serve as a briefing on the implications of China’s evolving role in the global economy and help build bridges and greater understanding between emerging social movements in China and international civil society. — D EBI B ARKER , IFG International Director

executive summary
China entered the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001 after more than two decades of reforms aimed at gradually shifting the country toward a free market economy that is more open to foreign investment and trade. These reforms not only gained the country acceptance into the global trading body, they have also earned the praise of the World Bank and other economists who herald China as a great success story of economic globalization. China has indeed become a magnet for foreign investment and an export powerhouse. Its strong economic growth over the past 25 years (averaging more than 9 percent annually) is unparalleled in modern history. China’s “economic miracle” also coincided with a dramatic drop in extreme poverty (people living on $1 or less per day), from 250 million people in 1978 to 30 million in 2000.1 However, official figures on exports and investments do not give a complete picture of...
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