Politics defines a country. The difference between a developed country and a developing country is how politics in each particular country are carried out. Politics also determine various core aspects such as economy, history, culture, and geography. Weak political leaders typically lead to a country that is not economically and culturally fit. The history and geography of such a nation are also affected by poor leadership. Over the years, many countries have made tremendous steps due to the right politics that were steered by great leaders. This paper will compare two countries, Syria and China. More emphasis will be done on how politics has been used to shape the economy and power in these two countries.
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Political Economy of China
The population of China is estimated to be 1,336,718,018 (Buzan and Lene 56). Its growth rate is 0.493%. This rate is far below many Asian countries and other developing countries as well. The growth rate has been this low due to the fact politics has made it mandatory for each couple to have only one child. The situation is so bad that subsequent pregnancies are terminated by government officials once it is proven that the couple is going to the set limit.
However, the economy of this nation is brilliant. Its GDP is estimated at $ 11.29 trillion. The economic growth rate and inflation rates are put at 9.2% and 5.4% respectively (60). The unemployment rate in China is at 6.4%. In other words, only a few Chinese are unemployed, especially in urban areas. This trend is remarkable. Very few countries in the developing world have such outstanding economic statistics.
China has many industries that range from processing, manufacturing, and automotive (Faye et al. 38). For example, many industries process ore, iron, steel, aluminum as well as food processing because various natural resources are found in China. These resources include coal, aluminum, iron ore, hydropower among others. However, it is the political strength that leads to the establishment of these industries in China. A majority of developing countries are endowed with numerous natural resources, but they have allowed foreign developed countries to import those resources and process them in their countries (40).
Usually, this does not contribute much to the economic growth of such countries. China, by the fact that it can process the majority of its natural resources, gets more revenue from the sale of the finished products other than the mere revenue it would have obtained from exportation of such resources to the developed countries.
Chinese exports stand at $ 1.898 trillion (Buzan and Lene 62). This is made from exporting various machinery, equipment, medical supplies as well as numerous plastic goods. Its principal trading partners are the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, and Germany. One can thus argue that China has indeed positioned itself well in terms of politics because countries such as the U.S. and Germany do not freely carry out trade transactions with countries that have been politically weak (63).
Some political reasons explain why China has developed economically over the years. For example, in 1993, the National People’s Congress encouraged all Chinese to embrace activities that will steer the development of the nation (65). The economic drive was supported where Jiang Zemin, the Communist Party Leader, was elected as the President of the country. In the same year, Li Peng was confirmed to be the Chinese’ Prime Minister for five more years.
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These two leaders steered the economic development of China. It is believed that since this period, the economy of China has continually grown exponentially. Unlike many developing countries, China does not give room for corruption. Corrupt people, and especially leaders, are severally punished and in worse cases, such a leader can be hanged to death. These strong principles have resulted in a country whose leaders are dedicated to the delivery of services without asking for bribes. Besides, many developed countries are free and willing to partner with China due to its firm stand on being a non-corrupt nation (66).
Political Economy of Syria
Unlike in China, Syria’s economy has had many shortcomings. Power succession has had profound impacts on the economy of this nation. This is due to the fact each leader has his style of leadership which he deems superior as compared to other leaders who have ruled in the past (Perthes 145). There have not been clear strategies by political leaders that could have steered the economy of this nation forward. Only short-term goals have been set from time to time. This is worrying as the future generation is dependent on the decisions that current political leaders make as regards the economy of the nation. In 2010, the GDP of Syria was at $ 64.7 billion (UNdata 2).
Its growth, however, is at – 28.9%. This translates to a situation whereby the economy of Syria is dwindling with time. This is largely due to the civil wars that have hit the nation for some years. The unemployment rate is at 48.8%. This is close to half of Syria’s population (3). However, this country has numerous natural resources such as petroleum. There is also the processing of clothes and food products in this country. In 2013, its exports accounted for $2.70 billion.
The primary exports include crude oil, petroleum, fruits, vegetables, meat, and cotton fiber. The major trading partners in Syria include Iraq, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Libya, and Turkey. In other words, this country has been trading only with a few Islamic countries. Syria’s inflation could be among the worst in the world. It stands at 193%. Among the Middle East and the North Africa region, Syria has been ranked as the fourth-lowest economy. This explains why its GDP is low despite the various natural resources that this country has (Faye et al. 37).
In recent years, it has been almost impossible to grade the economic status of Syria. Civil war has hit this nation from time to time. Many businesses have been brought down by the ever unending war. A significant number of buildings have been demolished as well. Besides, many professionals have died alongside the more than 200, 000 thousand people that have died as a result of the civil war (UNdata 4). The latest reports claim that the civil war has displaced several millions of Syrians.
There have been numerous extra-judicial killings and torture of innocent individuals. Women and teenage girls have been raped forcing the majority of them to seek refuge in neighboring countries. The government does not control a significant number of major cities in Syria (al‐‐Alkīm 420). It is the militia that collects taxes and dictates who to sell and buy what. As a result, the government cannot entirely lay strategies on how to salvage Syria from the current economic situation that it is engrossed in. This then explains why it is not possible to grade the economic position of Syria. It is estimated that it will take more than 3 decades to revive the economic status of Syria to the pre-civil war status (Perthes 150).
Apart from the civil war, Syria faces another worrying situation that keeps on deteriorating its economic status. Corruption is rampant in Syria (al‐‐Alkīm 430). Political leaders are the principal culprits of corruption. One has to part with some money to gain access to major services that are offered by the government. It has been confirmed that major economic sectors are controlled by family members and close allies of the President and his cabinet (432).
The Assad family controls almost every economic aspect of the country. This family has failed to deliver on the promises that they swore to give to the Citizens. The uprising that began in 2011 was met with strong resistance from this ruling family and this sparked civil war in the country. Therefore, it is not easy to root out corruption in such cities. Impunity and corruption further weaken the structural frameworks.
Trade restrictions have hit Syria since the beginning of civil wars. It has not been able to conduct trade with countries outside the Islam world (Perthes 151). As a result, this nation has been isolated from the outside world. The number of exports has also reduced. It can be argued that corruption has also led to trade bans and restrictions that Syria has faced over the years. A majority of the developed world does not entertain corruption. Poor political leaders have deteriorated the economic status of Syria. Oil production has gone down as so is its price. Inflation has further weakened the economy of this nation (153).
Politics is related to the growth of any nation. Leaders that have good strategies frequently lead to a country with high economic power. On the other hand, poor leaders do not lay firm strategies and result in a future generation that is stuck in a weak economy. China has had strong leaders that have dedicated themselves to developing China into a strong economic hub. Leaders such as Jiang Zemin and Li Peng were committed to driving the economy of China to greater heights. The firm stand on being a corrupt-free nation has made such nations as the U.S., Germany, and Australia to partner with China for trade purposes.
The result has been that China is now able to export various commodities and thus getting more revenue. On the other hand, the economic status in Syria has been deteriorating over the past 5 years. This is largely due to the civil war that has hit this nation since 2011. Many lives have been lost, millions displaced, while women and teenage girls have been raped in the war. Poor leadership by the Assad family has glorified corruption to such levels that one cannot get essential services without giving out a bribe. Trade sanctions have negatively impacted the economy of this nation. As a result, only a few Islamic countries have been willing to trade with Syria after the outbreak of the civil war. Exports thus reduced, and so is the GDP.
al‐‐Alkīm, Hassan Hamdan. “Challenges Facing the Arab World in the Twenty‐first Century: an Overview.” Contemporary Arab Affairs 1.3 (2008): 417-444. Print.
Buzan, Barry, and Lene Hansen. The Evolution of International Security Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009. Print
Faye, Michael L, John W. McArthur, Jeffrey D. Sachs, and Thomas Snow. “The Challenges Facing Landlocked Developing Countries.” Journal of Human Development 5.1 (2004): 31-68. Print.
Perthes, Volker. “The Political Economy of the Syrian Succession.” Survival 43.1 (2001): 143-154. Print.
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UNdata. Syrian Arab Republic. 2015. Web.