The leaders of China want to turn some of the debt that the US owes China into an investment in US infrastructure. They have said that they believe updating our infrastructure will improve our productivity and inspire a rise in our economic growth. They say that this can help spur global economic growth. They have expressed a similar desire to improve infrastructure in Great Britain.
It is clear that our infrastructure needs to be tackled. The demands on a system that date back to the 50’s and 60’s are apparent, especially to commuters near large cities. Highways are crowded with bumper to bumper traffic. Commute times are unpredictable and much slower than the distance should dictate. Public transportation is often late and gets stalled while passenger trains wait to find a second track around slow freight trains. According to The Economist, America’s transportation systems are ranked 23rd in the world. Ouch!
Chen, the Commerce minister of China, said in an Associated Press article that “Beijing wants to see the Chinese and U.S. cooperate more closely on clean energy, environmental and energy-saving technology, information technology, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.” Is this just double-speak for a desire on China’s part to rip off more of America’s successful innovations.
I believe, as you may already know, that a global economy is inevitable. Jets take everyone everywhere. Computers communicate around the world with voice, text, and pictures. They allow for almost instant two-way communication. We can’t stop globalization unless we get rid of jets and computers, and probably TV and telephones. It should not really be a bad thing to have a world where standard of living discrepancies are less extreme and the market place is expanded. There are dangers, however, and we all see them and fear them. Something could go wrong and a country like China could start to think about world domination. How do we grow a global economy while holding onto our hegemony and discouraging imperialism in emerging powers? Keeping the balance of power requires careful decision-making. Given all this, it may be too risky to let China get its hands on our infrastructure, no matter how tempting it seems.
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