Labourers work at an under-construction chemical factory in Huai’an, Jiangsu province, March 2, 2008. REUTERS/Patty Chen
In 2010 China passed Japan as the world second largest economy based on GDP figure. It now only has the United States above it, but it can only be a matter of years (10 to 15) before it reaches the top spot. A combination of cheap labor and a can do attitude has transformed China from a mainly agricultural society to one that has become the world’s factory. Everything from cars to toys to highly delicate electronic goods such as your iPhone or Motorola Xoom tablet are made in China.
With its output of relatively cheap products China has enabled many in the world to better their standard of living. Whether it is someone in Brazil, Africa, Europe or America, they’ve all profited from China’s cheap goods. However, there is a downside to this, with consumers voting with their wallets and often buying the cheaper Made In China products, local producers have found it increasingly difficult to compete. The end result is less production locally, meaning less work, meaning more unemployment, meaning buying even more cheap goods from China. As a consumer we are happy with these luxury items which have all of a sudden become attainable, but as a worker we should be worried. China’s success could mean economies in Africa and South America need to find new ways to stay competitive. And not even Europe and the United States are safe. One dominating player is and has never been good for anyone.