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Thread: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    If you lived in Taiwan or any number of other regional states that feel threatened by China's rising military, you may feel differently. Of course, once again leave it to you to take the side of a totalitarian dictatorship...
    Other states e.g., some of China's neighbors, are in a much different position than the U.S. vis-a-vis China. I believe DOL was referring to some attitudes in the U.S.

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    A "think small" approach or status quo orientation will lead to reduced strategic energy flexibility and greater vulnerability to supply shocks. Utilizing one's own resources (when possible) and developing alternatives are essential to mitigating or overcoming those risks. With insufficient domestic energy resources, China is aggressively pursuing the latter course. The BBC reported:.
    Excellent post as usual Don.

    But this particular section donned my interest.

    How has it come to be this way in the United States is being left behind in such a big way in this department?

    Politically, trying to invest in green energy is often seen as bad here.

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    Economically, China is more neo-mercantilist today. Their basic economic goal is to store up as much foreign reserve currency as possible through manipulating their own currency, using non-tarriff barriers to make it difficult for foreign competitors to compete in China, and the most insidious is that they require most foreign enterprises operating inside China to share technology with Chinese companies through joint ventures or other cooperative agreements. Western companies have been GIVING China the technology over the past 15 years and everyone has just stood there letting them do it...
    I'm not sure that narrative fully explains things. To be sure, China is, in fact, pursuing the export-driven growth model that brought rapid development to other countries in Asia before China launched its economic reforms. That other countries used that model to great success has been appealing to China's leadership. Of course, China's overall footprint is magnitudes of order larger than some of those other countries, hence there is risk that such an approach can lead to some global imbalances. At the same time, it has been expanding its gross domestic private investment (now running in the neighborhood of 40% of GDP). Finally, China's huge trade surpluses are largely a U.S.-China phenomenon. If one examines recent trade data, that bilateral aspect stands out.

    The U.S. monthly trade imbalance with China was $23.2 billion in January 2011 vs. $18.3 billion with China in January 2010. Yet, China's monthly trade surpluses were $6.5 billion in January 2011 and $14.17 billion in January 2010. Put another way, the world (excluding the U.S.) ran a trade surplus of $16.7 billion with China in January 2011 vs. 4.13 billion in January 2010.

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Other states e.g., some of China's neighbors, are in a much different position than the U.S. vis-a-vis China. I believe DOL was referring to some attitudes in the U.S.
    If only DOL and others knew what the Chinese REALLY thought of the U.S., Japan and other states...
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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    Excellent post as usual Don.

    But this particular section donned my interest.

    How has it come to be this way in the United States is being left behind in such a big way in this department?

    Politically, trying to invest in green energy is often seen as bad here.
    Thanks Jetboogieman.

    I believe the reasons are fairly complex, as even if one puts aside environmental/climate issues, there are very strong geopolitical reasons to pursuing energy supply diversification efforts. I suspect that a short-term orientation is at play. As a result, future risks/problems are left to be addressed when they manifest themselves. One sees that mentality at play in fiscal policy, corporate R&D (falling relative to such investment in numerous other OECD countries, not to mention China), and public investment e.g., a dollar of savings in cutting education expenditures is seen as equal to a dollar of savings from cutting purchases of, let's say, consumable goods. Yet, in the former case, long-term benefits are sacrificed, making the net lifetime savings from the decision much less, if not negative. In the latter case, few future benefits exist, so a dollar of savings there is actually close to a dollar of lifetime savings.

    The U.S. is also increasingly--at least it appears that way--resigning itself to maintaining the status quo. With each energy crisis having receded and prices having returned to less costly levels, not to mention U.S. access to conventional energy resources still well-established, there is a sort of inertia that discourages making investments that could undermine that familiar and comfortable status quo. Today, the U.S. is very much acting as a status quo power. It is becoming increasingly risk averse (short-term risks) even as that approach could erode its future strategic flexibility (range of choices) and lead to much greater long-term risk exposure. In the absence of the kind of acute resource challenges facing China that would make energy supply diversity a near-immediate necessity, the U.S. has even less incentive to be bolder on that front.

    Today, those decisions are still largely matters of choice. However, should the long-term trends in educational attainment in the U.S. (especially in critical science, math, technology areas, etc.) not be remedied, the latitude for choice will shrink. An undereducated workforce can only do so much. Then, structural barriers that are no longer matters of choice could undermine the nation's capacity for innovation with broad adverse economic, fiscal, social, and geopolitical implications.

    Under such a scenario, national renewal would be required, and that would be a long, difficult, and uncertain process. Fortunately, that outcome is not assured. In general, democratic systems have far greater capacity for recovery and renewal in the face of changing environments than non-democratic ones do. The U.S. still has a reservoir of innovative firms and people. But today's choices will shape tomorrow's opportunities and risks. If the current political atmosphere characterized by excessive short-sightedness prevails, the probability of bad choices leading to reduced future strategic flexibility would increase.

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    Thanks Jetboogieman.

    I believe the reasons are fairly complex, as even if one puts aside environmental/climate issues, there are very strong geopolitical reasons to pursuing energy supply diversification efforts. I suspect that a short-term orientation is at play. As a result, future risks/problems are left to be addressed when they manifest themselves. One sees that mentality at play in fiscal policy, corporate R&D (falling relative to such investment in numerous other OECD countries, not to mention China), and public investment e.g., a dollar of savings in cutting education expenditures is seen as equal to a dollar of savings from cutting purchases of, let's say, consumable goods. Yet, in the former case, long-term benefits are sacrificed, making the net lifetime savings from the decision much less, if not negative. In the latter case, few future benefits exist, so a dollar of savings there is actually close to a dollar of lifetime savings.

    The U.S. is also increasingly--at least it appears that way--resigning itself to maintaining the status quo. With each energy crisis having receded and prices having returned to less costly levels, not to mention U.S. access to conventional energy resources still well-established, there is a sort of inertia that discourages making investments that could undermine that familiar and comfortable status quo. Today, the U.S. is very much acting as a status quo power. It is becoming increasingly risk averse (short-term risks) even as that approach could erode its future strategic flexibility (range of choices) and lead to much greater long-term risk exposure. In the absence of the kind of acute resource challenges facing China that would make energy supply diversity a near-immediate necessity, the U.S. has even less incentive to be bolder on that front.

    Today, those decisions are still largely matters of choice. However, should the long-term trends in educational attainment in the U.S. (especially in critical science, math, technology areas, etc.) not be remedied, the latitude for choice will shrink. An undereducated workforce can only do so much. Then, structural barriers that are no longer matters of choice could undermine the nation's capacity for innovation with broad adverse economic, fiscal, social, and geopolitical implications.

    Under such a scenario, national renewal would be required, and that would be a long, difficult, and uncertain process. Fortunately, that outcome is not assured. In general, democratic systems have far greater capacity for recovery and renewal in the face of changing environments than non-democratic ones do. The U.S. still has a reservoir of innovative firms and people. But today's choices will shape tomorrow's opportunities and risks. If the current political atmosphere characterized by excessive short-sightedness prevails, the probability of bad choices leading to reduced future strategic flexibility would increase.
    So you're essentially saying if the two parties don't stop their partisan squabbling and start to address your long term concerns... you're ****ed?

    Quite frankly I think the electorate needs to do the same thing too.

    For the national renewal you speak of, the country would have to go through hard times. And people don't seem to want to give up what they have for any period of time.

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi View Post
    China has not yet reached the technological level of the U.S. or even South Korea. While they have made astounding progress and dominate many fields, they still import crucial technical knowledge from abroad. China has yet to even export a Chinese designed car competitive in the western or Japanese markets. At present rates China is rapidly gaining, but we have more than 2 years before they catch up.
    Yeah, this.

    There are a number of high-tech businesses in my area still alive and kicking simply because they can manufacture things that are physically or financially impossible to manufacture in China.

    Right now they're going in for high-volume-cheap-****, and around here we're doing low-to-mid-volume-weird-****.
    I'm already gearing up for Finger Vote 2014.

    Just for reference, means my post was a giant steaming pile of sarcasm.

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by ludahai View Post
    If only DOL and others knew what the Chinese REALLY thought of the U.S., Japan and other states...
    Having been to China on numerous occasions, I'm well aware of the actual and perceived grievances (for lack of a better term) and latent nationalism that exist in some sectors of Chinese society. Bad management of the bilateral relationship can well tap those more negative perceptions and nurture a more hostile bilateral trajectory. That is not the only outcome nor is it the assured outcome. Broad shared interests can, if they are focused on to mutual benefit, avoid that course. The ultimate outcome will depend on the choices made by the Chinese and U.S. leaders today and tomorrow.

    Efforts to rein in or contain China as some pundits recommend or to otherwise humiliate China will be very destructive to the bilateral relationship, not to mention very likely unsuccessful. That's a course the U.S. should avoid, as it is that course that creates perhaps the greatest prospect of a hostile China even as China's power is growing both in absolute and relative terms. Differences should be handled carefully through diplomatic channels, but both parties will need to be cognizant of one another's critical interests and constraints. Some careful balancing will be required.

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by Jetboogieman View Post
    So you're essentially saying if the two parties don't stop their partisan squabbling and start to address your long term concerns... you're ****ed?

    Quite frankly I think the electorate needs to do the same thing too.
    The risk of such an outcome would increase beyond the medium-term, but at this point in time that outcome is not assured. Much latitude for choice still exists. There also remains a prospect that a transformational leader could be elected at some point down the road, make some very difficult choices, and shift the nation's overall trajectory.

    Furthermore, as the political leadership largely reflects the attitudes of the public that elects it, I agree with you that the electorate is a big part of the problem or solution, depending on how things play out. The electorate is not some helpless group of bystanders who have no influence or voice. Whether the electorate choose that role is a different matter, but ultimate responsibility still resides in the electorate even if the electorate chooses to neglect its obligations.

    For the national renewal you speak of, the country would have to go through hard times. And people don't seem to want to give up what they have for any period of time.
    Right now, I don't believe the U.S. needs true national renewal (a kind of internal revolution that shatters existing institutions/norms and fashions new ones), though difficult choices are needed in some areas. Some of those choices will entail a measure of sacrifice and pain. When the country's fate is much less a matter of choice e.g., an undereducated workforce has resulted in its having lost competitiveness, degrading living standards (relative to many other countries), and loss of economic/military capacity due to technology gaps, then such renewal will be needed. The pain during that period would be much greater than what is required if the nation tackles some of its difficult choices in the near-term and medium-term. Moreover, prospects for success would be much less certain than if the U.S. addresses its great problems prior to the onset of such a situation.
    Last edited by donsutherland1; 03-30-11 at 11:33 AM.

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    Re: China 'to overtake US on science' in two years

    Quote Originally Posted by donsutherland1 View Post
    I'm not sure that narrative fully explains things. To be sure, China is, in fact, pursuing the export-driven growth model that brought rapid development to other countries in Asia before China launched its economic reforms. That other countries used that model to great success has been appealing to China's leadership. Of course, China's overall footprint is magnitudes of order larger than some of those other countries, hence there is risk that such an approach can lead to some global imbalances. At the same time, it has been expanding its gross domestic private investment (now running in the neighborhood of 40% of GDP). Finally, China's huge trade surpluses are largely a U.S.-China phenomenon. If one examines recent trade data, that bilateral aspect stands out.

    The U.S. monthly trade imbalance with China was $23.2 billion in January 2011 vs. $18.3 billion with China in January 2010. Yet, China's monthly trade surpluses were $6.5 billion in January 2011 and $14.17 billion in January 2010. Put another way, the world (excluding the U.S.) ran a trade surplus of $16.7 billion with China in January 2011 vs. 4.13 billion in January 2010.
    It could be the way these trade numbers are calculated. For example when the Chinese assemble an ipod, trade numbers count the whole value of the ipod as an import. In fact China may have only added the labor content maybe 1-2% of total value. The components come from across the world.

    Many say that is the calculation was corrected to show only the value add of China on products shipped here the number would be much smaller. My sense is that it is better politcally to be able to blame the Chinese.

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