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As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming Everything Hardcover – November 9, 2010

4.5 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although China remains nominally socialist, consumerism has become deeply entrenched, the ramifications of which will be considerable--and global--according to Gerth (China Made), Oxford University professor of modern Chinese history. He paints a vivid picture--and historical context--for the waning of frugality and the traditionally high rates of saving and the rise of pop culture, luxury-brand consumption and car culture, a burgeoning advertising industry, the ubiquity of Chinese counterfeits, and--more sordidly--the development of the largest commercial sex work force in the world, the theft of baby girls for adoption export, and the sale of essential organs. Gerth makes an arresting argument that Chinese consumption may be the panacea for the scrabbling economies of the West; Chinese demand for American and European high-tech goods, financial services, and other products might create jobs and economic growth and, in turn, lead to a stable, increasingly capitalistic, and eventually democratic China. Required reading for those interested in shifting global power dynamics and current consumption patterns. (Nov.) (c)
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From Booklist

The austere China Gerth experienced as a 1980s student contrasts with the economically charging country he teaches today as a professor in Britain. Interested in consumerism, Gerth delves into the effects individuals’ purchasing preferences are producing on China; the domestic and international political impact of Chinese growth is not addressed—for that, see The Beijing Consensus, by Stefan Halper (2010). To initiate his observations, Gerth typically seizes on something that didn’t exist in his student days: for example, beauty salons, private automobiles, or disposable chopsticks. Businesses and entire industries that have arisen to meet consumers’ desire for such products and services generate Gerth’s discourse, which he researched from Chinese media and discussion with his contacts. Mao’s China recedes to distant memory in the resulting depiction of capitalistic construction, ubiquitous advertising, and status-conscious shopping. Certain consequences of Chinese consumerism do not escape Gerth’s acuity: he spots social resentments, piracy of intellectual property, pollution, and “extreme markets” (trade in sex, human organs, and adoptions) as problems. Describing the present, Gerth will sensitize business or tourist travelers to Chinese markets. --Gilbert Taylor
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Hill and Wang; First Edition edition (November 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0809034298
  • ISBN-13: 978-0809034291
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,310,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dale Ruckle on March 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book should have a lot more reviews, geez I read Mao's Great Famine a few weeks ago,all the breathess reviews for it and practically nada for this.I was going to China for business before Nixon did his thing there, after a dozen visits at least into the late eighties I have long since retired. I am no Sinologist but have read twenty or so books on China in the last ten years. Whatever you know about China if the present day China interests you 'READ THIS BOOK'
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Format: Hardcover
Book review by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.

The author teaches modern Chinese history at Oxford University and has written one previous book on China. The 205-pages of text of the book As China Goes . . . is followed by 29 pages of notes, three pages of further readings, and a complete index. The notes section is thorough, comprehensive, and extremely competent.

The book is not only well-written, it is well-researched, too.

Having recently visited both Shanghai and Beijing, I was interested in the author's perspective of China, and that is why I sought out this book.

His eight chapter titles reveal, in part, what this book is about: 1) No Going Back? 2) Who Gets What? 3) Made in Taiwan. 4) Standardizing Abundance. 5) Branding Consumer Consciousness. 6) Living in a World of Fakes. 7) Extreme Markets. 8) Environmental Implications.

I thought the continuing contrast between the past and the present throughout the book was interesting and stark. Having been there recently, I was able to witness the characteristics Gerth offered about present-day China. Having lived and worked in Dacca, East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) for nine months, it is not difficult to visualize the China Gerth knew when he went to school there, and the China with which he contrasted the present.

This is a well-written, well-researched, well-organized, and well-presented narrative that offers an accurate picture of China both then and now. Gerth's examples--whether personal, from contacts, or from his research--are interesting, useful, and certainly help advance his narrative.
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By A Customer on April 29, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An important subject for the vast number of Human lives that will be and/or have been directly or indirectly altered by China's Mega-Economic Tsunami. The Author does an admirable job of touching on different parts of this modern day phenomenon but in the end just scratches the surface. This book needed additional depth and refinement, and at a little more than 200 pages those qualities certainly aren't easy to find. Furthermore, the middle chapters are repetitive even gobbledygook-ish (WTO this, WTO that and so on). While this book is not perfect if your interested in enlightening yourself a little, reading this book can only help. Who needs adequate oxygen, potable water, and fertile soil anyway, next on the list India; with all the babies you can birth. Read Instead: Life and Death in Shanghai.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I grew up in Taiwan and I didn't find anything that struck me as incorrectly described. Gerth went to school in China in the 1980s and he was able to observe the old China and identify the changes that have been going on. A very good book for someone who wishes to understand the consumer culture of China and how it has transformed its economy and lifestyle.
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