Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Player Hatin' on the People's Republic of China

In an article about China's remarkable economic resilience the New York Times writes,

"China once could wave off complaints about its currency
policies, arguing that it was a developing nation entitled to a bit of
slack from its Western customers. But with the world’s fastest-growing economy —
and more than $2 trillion in foreign reserves — that argument looks
increasingly untenable

Wait. When did China stop being a developing nation? There is no one measure of a country's level of development but for the most part the classification "developing" is based on Gross National Income (GNI) per capita. Another measure which is somewhat less 'economistic' is the human development index (HDI) that measures social development in general.

GNI-per capita (PPP)
U.S.A. (46,970)
China ($6,020 per capita)
HDI ranking out of 182-
U.S.A. (13)
China (92)

According to the World Bank both middle- income and low-income countries are designated as "developing". With a GNI-per capita (PPP) of 6,020 China not only is a middle-income developing country it is still considerably less wealthy per capita than the U.S.A. And with an HDI ranking of 92 China again falls into the medium human development category, significantly lower than the U.S.A.

When the New York Times and other Western media outlets are finish hating on the People's Republic of China, they should take 5 minutes to look at the development statistics on google like I did. Beyond the numbers there are still rural regions of China like Nanliang, Shaanxi Province where extreme poverty persists and prosperity has not yet spread. If the Chinese Communist Party stopped providing opportunities for higher-living standards today, they would still be a developing country with a big economy and a lot of disillusioned poor people. The fact is, China has a right to play loose with their currency because it is still developing and the United States continues to be the richest, most wasteful country in world history.

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