Fault lines that reshape China
China Inside Out. By Bill Dodson.
John Wiley & Sons (Asia); 256 pages
For a clear-eyed look at the internal forces driving China into the future, Bill Dodson's China Inside Out is a pivotal read: His book explores the unexpected impact modernization is having on China's development as a civil society, international trade partner and up-and-coming world power.
Each chapter in this book discusses an irreversible trend and its implications for neighbors near and far, and for international businesses invested in China. Presenting the stories of average Chinese workers along with interviews with topical experts and interlaced with his own experiences, Dodson provides a balanced, ground-level analysis of China's social and economic fault lines and stress points. The end result is an insider's view into the dramatic forces reshaping China, its identity and the truths anyone connecting with China needs to know.
“If there is anything I hope readers take away from this odyssey, it's that China is now at the leading edge of history,” said Dodson. “How the society negotiates the inevitable shocks of trends that come into confluence, and how, most importantly, it manages the eventual wind-down of those powerful social and economic forces in the next 10 to 15 years, will have major repercussions for its citizenry, its neighbors, international businesses invested in the country, and for Western civilisation.”
The book neatly lays out the major trends coursing through China and the world:
CHAPTER 1: China's Generation W(eb) -- How far will government censors be able to go before a cyber-¬subculture of hundreds of millions of Chinese rebel en masse?
CHAPTER 2: Keeping Up with the Zhangs -- Chinese are on average becoming richer, less healthy and more anxious as they eat more, drive more, smoke more, work more with few government assurances their assets and their futures are secure;
CHAPTER 3: A Tale of Two Countries -- China needs its migrant workers from the countryside to build its cities, and, increasingly, to live in them, with ever-increasing stresses between the have's and the wanna¬have's;
CHAPTER 4: "Not in My Backyard!" -- As more Chinese embrace the ideal if not the practice of an American¬style middle class lifestyle, it is beating records as the world's largest polluter of land, water and air resources;
CHAPTER 5: With the Appetite of a Dragon -- China has been on a buying spree abroad as modernisation leaves it with less arable land, food, crude oil and other mineral resources.
CHAPTER 6: China 24/7 -- Manufacturing and infrastructure development is moving to China's hinterlands, where 800 million Chinese literally work day and night to get rich and show it off;
CHAPTER 7: China, At Your Services -- The hallmarks of China's nascent services sector are a lack of civility, little sense of customer care and arcane bureaucracies
CHAPTER 8: The Global Sugar Daddy -- The international marketplace will increasingly resist opaque Chinese business practices and inadequate quality and governance controls even as China becomes richer;
CHAPTER 9: Hot Pot Nation -- Population pressures lanced by the One Child Policy and a rapidly aging population with a below¬par replacement rate are becoming national and global liabilities.
CHAPTER 10: In the Shadow of the Emperors -- Chinese nationalism and militarisation are increasingly filling the vacuum left by the lack of a civil society and the dearth of reflection on the country's modern history, making its neighbours near and far anxious about how aggressively it will fulfill its role as a rising superpower.