ìChina Races to Reverse Its Falling Production of Grain,î by Jim Yardley, New York Times, 2 May, p. 6.
China is urbanizing so rapidly, that itís losing lands previously set aside for agriculture, raising the specter of being unable to feed itself, meaning it will have to rely on others increasingly for food.
This basically happens to every rapidly industrializing country. Should we get scared? No. We should simply encourage more reduction in agricultural trade barriers worldwide, something the Gap wants desperately so it can sell us food. But one of the old bugaboos about development is that all that specialization in production puts a country at risk of relying on others for basic needs, like food (they could starve us out!).
This is old think in the worst way, and I worry about China replicating some of the same stupid barriers to agricultural imports that we have in the U.S. and that Europe and Japan have in absurd abundance. Such a fear-threat reaction shows a deep mistrust of the mutual-assured dependence that marks a countryís deep integration into the global economy. Itís also a great way to keep the Gap on the outside looking inónoses pressed to the glass.