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Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World's Prosperity Depends on Itby Zachary Karabell
Synopses & Reviews
THE EMERGENCE OF CHINA as an economic superpower is now widely recognized, but as Zachary Karabell reveals, that is only one aspect of the story. Over the past decade, the Chinese and U.S. economies have fused to become one integrated system. How China and the United States manage their relationship will determine whether the coming decades witness increased global prosperity or greater instability.
Karabell traces the twenty-year history that began with the suppression of the protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The Chinese leadership adopted a policy of aggressive economic reform and courted U.S. companies and expertise. Karabell charts how integral those companies — including Federal Express, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Avon, and Wal-Mart — have been to China's success and how integral China has been to their growth. Though accelerated by the admission of China to the World Trade Organization in 2001, the economies began to fuse without attracting much notice. Preoccupied with the threat of terrorism and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States soon found itself deeply in debt to China while also reaping the rewards of China's growth.
Now both countries find themselves in an unfamiliar and challenging position. After years of seeking closer integration with the United States, China has begun to question the wisdom of that embrace. The United States, buoyed by China's loans, faces a level of dependency that has generated considerable anxiety. The intertwinement has enhanced the global economy but undermined the sovereignty that governments so crave.
Yet, as Karabell argues, the fusion has advanced too far for either to extricate itself without severe harm. The challenge for the United States is to embrace this new world even with some loss of relative power in order to ensure its prosperity in the future; the challenge for China is to recognize that it is now a major player on the world stage with all the risks and responsibilities that entails. We need them and they need us, but the jury is still out on whether either can fully accept that new paradigm.
In a book rich in individual stories, Karabell, informed by his considerable experience, not only provides the first comprehensive account of how these two countries became one economy but also makes a compelling case for why its continuation in the future is a vital element of a stable, prosperous world.
"Karabell (A Visionary Nation) delivers a compelling brief on the unlikely convergence of the U.S. and Chinese economies. He begins with an introduction to China's economic reforms in the post-Mao era and moves on to specific examples of how such American companies as KFC, Avon and Nike used this opportunity to reinvent their businesses to suit the world's largest market. Karabell argues that China's entry into the WTO laid the foundations of 'Chimerica' — the symbiotic relationship between China and America that has largely escaped analysis because outmoded quantitative tools examine nation states as closed systems. He also illustrates why China as a low-cost producer is less important than China's new role as avid consumer, why nonperforming loans have meant such different things in China and in the West and the possible causes of the 'interest rate conundrum' that so puzzled Alan Greenspan. Essential reading for anyone curious about the increasing economic integration and interdependence between China and America, the public opposition in both nations and the implications for the U.S. as it faces competition from a nation it cannot coerce." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this important and dynamic book, Karabell argues that the intertwined economic relationship between China and the U.S. will affect America's long-term prosperity more than any other contemporary issue.
Now in paperback, Zachary Karabell argues that the intertwined economic relationship between China and the U.S. will affect our long-term prosperity more than any other contemporary issue. As the world continues the slow work of repairing the damage of the financial crisis, it is crucial that the U.S. understands that it cannot go it alone. Its mutuality with China is permanent, essential, and defining. Zachary Karabell’s brilliant book lays out this complex and important economic story.
“Karabell excels at weaving in glitzy tales of the brave new China against the larger backdrop of the Middle Kingdom’s forceful but cautious economic liberalization and the often tortuous, frequently saber-rattling politics of U.S.-China relations….A provocative argument.”
—Los Angeles Times
“The question at the heart of Superfusion is a pressing one: What will happen next? Mr. Karabell says that the U.S. must turn its thinking away from the military and security challenges of the twentieth century and focus more on the economic challenges of the twenty-first.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A compelling brief on the unlikely convergence of the U.S. and Chinese economies….Essential reading for anyone curious about the increasing economic integration and interdependence between China and America, the public opposition in both nations, and the implication for the U.S. as it faces competition from a nation it cannot coerce.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Zachary Karabell is an author, money manager, commentator, and president of River Twice Research, where he analyzes economic and political trends. Educated at Columbia, Oxford, and Harvard, where he received his PhD, Karabell has written eleven previous books. He is a regular commentator on CNBC, MSNBC, and CNN. He writes the weekly “Edgy Optimist” column for Reuters and The Atlantic, and is a contributor to such publications as The Daily Beast, Time, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, The New York Times, and Foreign Affairs.
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