China's Looming Challenges
The 'rise of China' has become the preoccupation of policymakers, academics, and business leaders from the United States and Japan to Europe. But as Bloomberg News argued in a recent editorial, "they should be more concerned about what happens if the country's growth falters." A China whose growth is slowing would mean a China with less capital to invest, at home and globally, and whose markets and economy would be less able to provide an engine of growth for others, close at hand in Asia and in North America and Europe. This series of seminars will examine the multitude of challenges now facing the Chinese leadership as they struggle to shift the dynamic of the economy away from its dependence on now shrinking export markets towards increasing demand and consumption at home. Those challenges range from rising inflation, fiscal imbalances, a real estate bubble and struggles over land, growing income inequality, to inadequate health care and pension systems, even to labor shortages. All these must be faced as China faces an important year of political transition to a new leadership, amidst more visible strains on the country's social fabric.