China has attempted to expand its economic power and political influence throughout the world over the past decades. One of the country’s major strengths that have influenced its ability to expand is its resource-intensive productivity. However, energy and resource risks may hinder China’s growth as it mostly relies on imports. This extensive and fast growth may concern The U.S., but the rest of the world should not be concerned.
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China’s biggest strength affecting its ability to expand its economic power and political influence is its resource-intensive manufacturing productivity. The country reallocated its resources to more productive utilization, particularly in areas that were previously under the control of the central government, such as trade, agriculture, and services. Agricultural reforms, for instance, freed workers to pursue employment in a manufacturing sector that proved to be more productive. The country has a large population of relatively educated workers, which keeps an abundant supply of labor and low wages. Cheap and abundant labor prompted foreign countries to shift production facilities into China, further promoting its growth. Additionally, China’s domestic investment in new technologies, especially renewable resources and services, has strengthened the country’s innovative capabilities. It increased its overseas investments to acquire the resources and technology required to heighten its export competitiveness. This resource-intensive production catapulted China into one of the world’s largest exporters of manufactured goods and electronics, which significantly impacted its ability to expand its economic power and political influence.
However, China’s economic model is still overdependent on exports, resulting in rapid production volumes and depletion of resources. The model is mostly based on massive production at a significant speed, resulting in increased pollution costs, depletion of natural resources, and maintenance and security costs. These can be seen in the recent environmental protection issues. The previous economic policies that required rapid economic growth at any cost resulted in issues that made them unsustainable. These issues include increasing income inequality, heavy pollution, overcapacity in industries, rising corporate debt, an inefficient financial system, and numerous economic imbalances. This means that China must develop new sustainable reforms and growth models to continue expanding its economic power and political influence.
The U.S. may be concerned about China, but the rest of the world should not. On the one hand, the Chinese foreign policy favors multi-polarity where they believe that the international system should not be dominated by the U.S. Therefore, China usually votes against and criticizes the U.S. for interfering in other countries’ affairs. The U.S. human rights policies have also met resistance from China. On the other hand, China has similar foreign policy interests to other countries globally. They seek to build a global environment that favors economic growth. They oppose trading blocs, favor stable world markets and strive to improve their access to developed-world markets. This implies that the U.S. may have reason to be concerned about China’s growth, but the rest of the world should not be worried.