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Monday, November 3, 2008

China, the Longer View

Where will China be in 20 years? In 10 Years? I know location wise no change would be the cute answer. I am thinking more economically as part of the global business world. China is either going to continue it's amazing rate of growth as more and more of the countryside people move to the city resulting in less people in agriculture, probably 500 Million. So what are those 500 Million going to be doing as China changes from a predominately agriculture based employment economy to what? Manufacturing is not going to need 500 Million more people, so this is going to be both an opportunity and a challenge. Agriculture employment in China is less than 50% of the population now.

Around 1900 in the US most people worked in agriculture, then it changed to manufacturing, and now to services. That transition took over 100 years, and now agriculture employment is less than 2% of the US population. Why the difference? Economies of scale that allow mechanization and automation. Same thing has happened in manufacturing, with increased automation increasing production.

My opinion is China is going to muddle through the current problems of food quality, environmental issues without falling part and keeping their high rate of growth with a focus on higher technology and improving their educational system that will result in a much more economicaly powerful China.

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