The story from the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat:
China’s economy faces hurdles, author says
By Bernie Hornick
China’s expected rise to pre-eminence this century should be short-lived, one geostrategist and futurist told a Johnstown business audience Tuesday.
That’s because many of the seeds of China’s descent already have been sown, argued Thomas P.M. Barnett, a New York Times bestselling author.
Barnett ticked off a list of problems the Chinese face, everything from air and water pollution to over-reliance on foreign oil and an aging population.
All of these factors will serve as brakes to the Chinese economic engine, he said.
“China’s going to hit the wall,” Barnett said.
He foresees a triumvirate of world powers in the decades ahead: The U.S., China and India.
Barnett was optimistic about America in the 21st century.
“We tend to revive ourselves on a regular basis,” he said, adding there’s no telling what will serve as the spark.
In what best can be described as a two-hour master’s class lecture, Barnett whizzed through a PowerPoint presentation outlining his views on “flows” worldwide. Those flows include immigration, water and food resources, oil supplies, population and military conflict.
The U.S. errs, Barnett told members of the National Contract Management Association, when it plans militarily for a confrontation with China – what he calls “the big war market.”
Rather than building big-platform merchandise, such as aircraft carriers, Barnett argues that the defense apparatus would be better served by building the “many and cheap and disposable,” such as drone aircraft.
On the business side, Barnett said the growth of the middle class worldwide will be a continuing trend.
The pyramid-shape of income distribution in the Third World will yield to a diamond shape.
That burgeoning middle class will create nations that not only are more economically stable but also more supportive of democracy.
American companies must enter U.S.-Sino business partnerships to be successful on the mainland.
“You’re going to see this pattern replicated time and again,” he said. U.S. companies are going to have to cut the Chinese in on the business action in their backyard.
About 75 people attended Tuesday’s breakfast at the Holiday Inn-downtown.
Barnett’s books include “The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century” and “Great Powers: America and the World After Bush.”