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Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World's Prosperity Depends on It Hardcover – October 13, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Karabell (A Visionary Nation) delivers a compelling brief on the unlikely convergence of the U.S. and Chinese economies. He begins with an introduction to China's economic reforms in the post-Mao era and moves on to specific examples of how such American companies as KFC, Avon and Nike used this opportunity to reinvent their businesses to suit the world's largest market. Karabell argues that China's entry into the WTO laid the foundations of Chimerica—the symbiotic relationship between China and America that has largely escaped analysis because outmoded quantitative tools examine nation states as closed systems. He also illustrates why China as a low-cost producer is less important than China's new role as avid consumer, why nonperforming loans have meant such different things in China and in the West and the possible causes of the interest rate conundrum that so puzzled Alan Greenspan. Essential reading for anyone curious about the increasing economic integration and interdependence between China and America, the public opposition in both nations and the implications for the U.S. as it faces competition from a nation it cannot coerce. (Nov.)
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"In this provocative new essay, Zachary Karabell lucidly sketches out the tectonic shifts that now compel us to redefine how we relate to China. Karabell's is an urgent call for Americans to shake off their torpor and complacency before it is too late and recognize how China has changed the global equation." -- Orville Schell, Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society
"Few countries will have more impact on the world in the coming decades than China. How the United States manages its relationship with China will profoundly affect the shape of this century. In this provocative book, Zachary Karabell suggests ways to manage that future. His argument might be debated, but it is one that should be engaged." -- Joseph S. Nye Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University and author of The Powers to Lead
"Zachary Karabell provides a vividly written and timely reminder of the risk of mutually assured economic destruction that binds America and China and the importance of this relationship for the future of the global economy. The financial crisis has made this interdependence only more obvious -- and the need to think through its implications more urgent." -- Ian Bremmer, author of The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall
"Our world order is like a stool -- and China and America are its most important legs. If either is destabilized, everyone loses. Through investment, production, and trade, almost every brand name Americans know has a stake in the success of 'Chimerica.' Karabell pre-sents not only an intimate portrait of how the world's most strategic economic marriage came into being -- and how it prevented the present financial crisis from being so much worse -- but also a timely and precise strategy for keeping the global financial order in balance." -- Parag Khanna, author of The Second World: How Emerging Powers Are Redefining Global Competition in the Twenty-first Century
"Essential reading for anyone curious about the increasing economic integration and interdependence between China and America, the public opposition in both nations and the implications for the U.S. as it faces competition from a nation it cannot coerce." -- Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Top customer reviews
The last third of the book picks up some steam again with some interesting analysis. These are the best chapters of the book, up there with the introduction and chapter 1. Whether Karabell is right or not on the merged economies remains to be seen, but his points are fascinating, and though he takes his time explaining how he came to his conclusions, they will challenge the way you view the Middle Kingdom and our relationship with it.
A few things are lacking in his conclusions, however. Basically, he recommends Americans and Chinese get over it. That's about all he has to offer. No practical advice or propositions at all. That's the book's real problem; it's too final and the recommendations too simplistic. Though he acknowledges how diametrically opposed the two countries are, he makes no real allowance for it. China is 2,000+ years old - they're not "getting over" anything. And though the U.S. is in a sort of cultural remapping at the moment, asking the country to drop its suspicion of the Chinese government is farfetched at best.
Karabell would do well to read the Mandiant corporation's report from 2013 called "APT1:...", which details how the Chinese have used the PLA and their intelligence services to steal intellectual property from over 100 U.S. businesses. This partnership is going to remain troubled for some time, I'd say.
The first is an excellent overview of Chinese history since it decided to become a world economic power- and succeeded faster than any country in history. The Chinese had one thing going for them: brilliant leadership - by leaders America never heard of: Zhou Enlai, Jiang Zemin, and Zhu Rongji. They were not only brilliant, they had brilliantly good luck. Many times their lives were in danger. As I said, this chapter is brilliant.
The last chapter is short, and compares the US position today with Great Britain's after WWII. Great Britain ended the war in desperate straits - and hoped American would bail it out. It did not, and instead forced the end of the British Empire - much to the advantage to America's own. Today, America is fast becoming a basket case of its own - and China is in the position of being able doing the same thing to America that America did to Great Britain. Read the final two paragraphs. Here is the first:
If the United States is to avoid the fate of Great Britain, if it even can, it must reorient itself away from the military and security challenges of the twentieth century and to the economic challenges of the twenty-first. That will require not just a shift in how Americans think about the world but in how they interact with it, which will in turn demand a fundamental rethinking of the shape of the government and the national security state that emerged to the meet the challenge of the Cold War, and a Soviet Union that ceased to exist at precisely the time that China began its steady rise.
I've been to China and am a CPA of 40 years of business experience, facts presented coincided with my experience and observations there, and I felt this material to be presented in as objective fashion as possible.
Karabell writes this so well that it is a fascinating, easy read, did not want to put the book down, and I thoroughly enjoyed his vast vocabulary and many new words presented. Did have my dictionary close by for each of them and am very happy to have learned at least 30 new words. Fun.
Some reviewers are obviously not thrilled with US vs. China, and I understand that feeling, however, it is inappropriate, and a complete waste of time and energy, to cast one's personal opinion of US & Chinese politicians upon this book. That can only derail one's possibilities of gleaning the wealth of solid and vital information offered in the book.
If you are thinking of doing business in China, or other parts of Asia, this is a must read, in my opinion, and I also believe you will be surprised how much you appreciate obtaining the information.
Starting with KFC, Avon and Federal Express, the intricacies and nuances of American companies gaining a foothold in the Chinese marketplace are examined. His conclusion: the United States and China are intrinsically bound together. The timeliness of this book, tho penned in 2009, is indicated in his examination of the Huawei Technologies as a company and its most recent failed attempt to enter the US technology market with Sprint which hit the news stands this week. One of the best books on this essential relationship as this world heads in to the 21st century.
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