What the U.S. Can Learn from China by Ann Lee

This article was inspired by Ann Lee's What the U.S. Can Learn from China . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


Lessons from China

“An answer to America’s challenge may come from understanding the Chinese and borrowing some of their ideas for governance that can be reformulated to fit American democracy and culture.”

The United States have much in common with the Spanish empire in the 15th century. Our nation has an intimidating military, and it claims to be the most powerful nation in the world; however, like the Spain of old, we get our manufactured goods from other nations and possess a currency that faces inflation. If we can’t adopt a different strategy, we may face the same loss of power that Spain met by the 19th century.

Rather than seeing China as an enemy, the U.S. can learn from this superpower. Following China’s example, our military spending shouldn’t be so wasteful and our nation shouldn’t antagonize the Asia giant. With the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. has demonstrated that its current operations have not benefitted the nation. America can follow China’s good example by devoting much of its spending to education and by mending its infrastructure. The nation as a whole must change its approach to the global economy to become more competitive. Over the last 20 years, China made the necessary changes to improve its economy, rescuing hundreds of millions from poverty and creating one of the most powerful exporting nations in the world.

With a debt-to-GDP ratio of 21.5%, China has demonstrated a better understanding of its spending than its Western counterpart, as the U.S. had a debt-to-GDP rate of approximately 100% in 2010. Though the American media criticizes China’s form of government, the majority of Chinese citizens want to keep the Chinese Communist Party in power.

Ironically, a communist nation has demonstrated a better understanding of capitalism than the U.S. While Americans have predicted an eventual collapse in China like the Lost Decades experienced by Japan, China has placed itself as a major exporter in the global economy so that Western companies can’t afford to see the yuan lose its value.

Following Mao Zedong’s death, Confucianism has once again become popular in China. This philosophy stresses education and the cooperation of society towards achieving goals. This Asian nation has demonstrated that its emphasis on education has bolstered its competitive abilities, as its students tested the highest of any nation in 2010, with 30 other nations beating out the U.S. on math scores.

Unlike America, with its incompetent leadership, China is a meritocracy, allowing only those with the most expertise and ability to rise to the top in government. While America has forgotten the point of democracy is for elected officials to serve those who elected them, China expects its leaders to put the needs of the people before their own needs.

While the U.S. Congress fails to plan for the future, it criticizes China’s five-year plans; however, China rarely fails to reach the goals of its plans. If the U.S. adopted a long-term approach to running the nation, it could have as much success as China.

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