China Sneezes, We All Catch Colds!

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The Chinese economy is slowing dramatically which spells danger in the west.

The democratic capitalist economies of the free world have become addicted to cheap goods manufactured in the most populated nation on earth and just like any addict seeking a cheap fix these economies grow ever more dependent on their regular supplier. Take that supply away suddenly and the addict may go into convulsions and stop spending, after which we may enter the slippery slope back into recession.

It is said that China is so populous that its government isn’t sure whether there are 1.3billion inhabitants or over 1.6billion, the difference is nearly the population of the United States! A sobering thought.

Whether this is true or not I have no idea, but I suspect it might be. I wonder how many parents kept secret babies from a government enforcing the one baby policy over the last forty plus years? Quite a few I would think.

It isn’t that long ago general opinion in the west was that China would become the most powerful economy on earth within a few short years.

I always doubted that was possible so quickly because to overtake the United States in genuine ‘lifestyle’ terms it would need to equal its road network, distribution of car and home ownership, and surpass the world’s most prosperous nation in its ability to stock pretty much every shop in the country with top quality nutritious food and other goods. China still has a long way to go on all of those points.

The building of China’s infrastructure such as roads and railways has been unprecedented in modern human history. Not since ancient Egypt has a society tried to do so much in so short a time! It was inevitable that the Chinese economy would need a breather. Let’s hope that’s all it is because this vast and beautiful country and its generally law abiding, industrious hardworking people, not only supply the west with cheap consumer goods but Is also buying huge volumes of western manufactured products in return.

We in the west can’t afford for China to go into deep recession -the country’s government is struggling to control this current economic sneeze but I am confident that it will.

With interest rates at an all-time low in Britain and the USA there is little either government would be able to do to stimulate their economies should another recession strike soon. Cutting further might stimulate deflation.

The UK is still in recovery and regardless of what some people say we cannot take any chances.

The world is in a dangerous place at the moment- both militarily and economically. We cannot risk another recession. Our recovery from the last one is not complete.

China has the ability to control its destiny simply because it’s government isn’t as prone to strikes and uprising against every economic decision as the governments of the western world. It is a totalitarian state, where the rule of law is strictly enforced, but from what I have seen generally in a way that benefits the majority of its citizens.

Human Rights is still clearly an issue, but one which is better dealt with by dialogue & discussion by world leaders directly with Chinese President Xi Jinping than finger pointing and accusations.

We are particularly fortunate in the United Kingdom to have so many Chinese and South East Asian Students wanting to come here. There are huge numbers who pay £30,000 plus fees to acquire coveted degrees, not only from London Universities, but from places like Bristol, Manchester, Cardiff, and Newport too!

The University of South Wales based in Newport is attracting interest from Chinese and South East Asian students who might have previously looked elsewhere simply because it is trying to understand them. The University of West of England is doing the same.

The section of the M4 corridor from Swindon to Swansea is geographically ideally placed to become a digital super region of the UK and has many vibrant universities waiting to welcome Chinese and South East Asian students to their campuses.

Newport is at the centre of this well connected area and in my opinion is destined to become ever more powerful.

Understanding China and its people will become increasingly important over the next twenty years and beyond.

Our Universities are well placed to lead that communication by academic interaction and tailoring more courses that are relevant to a modern and growing Chinese student population.

Attracting Chinese students to the UK is vital. These bright youngsters may be the next leaders of one and a half billion people. One of them may be its future president with full control of its military and nuclear power industry.

How can we know that person isn’t currently studying at Bristol, Cardiff, Newport, or Nottingham rather than in Beijing?

We all need friends in this unpredictable world and it is essential we remain on good terms with as many nations as possible but especially with the USA and the People’s Republic of China.

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