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China: An Unlikely Economic Hegemon

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Before any nation can achieve hegemon status, it must have economic strength. Numerous authors note that a strong economic base is the seed from which all other sources of national power emerge and hence can be considered a type of national foundation. Martin Jaques, for example, states that military and political power rest on economic strength. 1 Economics forms the support base for national power, and major international power shifts typically emerge as a result of economic developments, not military power or political influence, as Paul Kennedy s research into several centuries of global power politics highlights There is detectable a causal relationship between the shifts which have occurred over time in the general economic and productive balances and the position occupied by individual powers in the international system . . . economic shifts heralded the rise of new Great Powers which would one day have a decisive impact upon the militaryterritorial order. This is why the move in global productive balances toward the Pacific rim which has taken place over the past few decades cannot be of interest merely to economists alone.2 China continues to grow economically at what some consider an alarming rate.3 Meanwhile, the United States, struggling with budget woes and sequestration, remains the world s preeminent economic and military leader but in decline relative to China. The relationship between these two nations and the comparative power they possess may well lay the foundation for future global power shifts impacting not just China and the United States, but indeed the entire international community.4 However, while China is still expected to become extremely powerful, it may not rise to the level many expect due to three limiting factors currency, exports, and demographics. These factors, along with mutual dependency between the two nations, have implications for US policy toward China.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science

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