Book Review-"China Shakes the World"-James Kynge
“Let China sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world”—Napoleon Bonaparte. China Shakes the World, by James Kynge discusses the impact of China’s ever-expanding economy on the environment, the world’s economy, and China, itself. Because China is expanding at a rate never before seen, there are going to be some environmental problems, not only in China, but around the world. China is the second largest producer of greenhouse gases in the world—behind the United States. 16 of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world are located in China. A large majority of China’s largest cities are having water shortages—Kynge states that by the year 2050, two-thirds of China’s ice fields will be depleted, leading to even more water troubles. China’s demand for lumber is causing the world’s rainforests to be logged illegally at an incredible rate. China’s growth and depletion of natural resources in comparable to that of the United States at the turn of the 20th century, except it is occurring at an accelerated rate.
China is having a profound impact on the world’s economy. Kynge gives this example: In 2004, China’s demand for steel caused the price of scrap metal to rise to record levels. As a result, thieves around the world had the same idea—find scrap metal, sell it to merchants, who will in turn cut it up and sell it to China. Where did they get all this scrap metal? The thieves stole manhole covers from Taiwan to Chicago. The rise in oil prices over the past decade can be linked directly to China. They have 40 cities with populations over 1 million people; another 50-plus cities have populations of over 500,000 people. The city of Chongking is growing by 300,000 people every year! Obviously, economies around the world are going to be impacted by the urbanization of China’s population.
Aside from the environment and other country’s economies, China’s self-image is changing. They are in the midst of changing from a rural country to an urban country. Kynge states that by 2050, 700 million people will live in urban areas—compared to 300 million people in 2005. They are using cutting edge technology to expand. Their workers are skilled; however, the minimum wage is about $0.50 per hour. This makes it impossible for other developed countries to keep domestic jobs because they can outsource and pay about a tenth of the wage. Kynge talks about the corruption in China’s government that seems to be normal to its’ citizens. They do not let their citizens have the freedoms other developed countries allow their citizens; they have very strict censorship for television, movies, and the internet.
China Shakes the World is a very well written book that thoroughly discusses the ever-expanding China. James Kynge goes into great detail about problems with the environment, the impact of China’s growth on the economies of countries around the world, and the way China is changing within its’ own boarders.