Peter Nolan punctures the myth posed in this book’s title that China is “buying the world.”
The forecast that its GDP will surpass that of the US in a few years time, true on present trends, is giving rise to frantic fears of a challenge to US military supremacy and pressure on world resources.
But Nolan counterposes the relentless process of industrial concentration under capitalism envisaged by Marx and the emergence of the giant global firms spending billions of dollars on research and development in order to survive intense oligopolistic competition.
It is the case that multinational firms have made a vital contribution to China’s growth and modernisation
Apple, Dow Chemical, General Electric, General Motors, Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, WalMart, Volkswagen and Siemens are all well rooted in China.
Their activities account for 90 per cent of high-tech exports and 55 per cent of exports overall.
The non-state sector, consisting of small and medium firms, has contributed greatly to growth. China has also formed a body of strategic industries, all with the state’s majority equity shareholding, with a view to competing ultimately with the world’s leaders.
It will never give up on this aim and these industries have made remarkable technical advances under communist leadership, as Nolan recognises.
And in rebutting the charge that China is buying the world, Nolan shows how difficult it is for China to acquire or buy minority stake in a world company. His slim factual volume is a model of clarity and deserves expansion into a full account of China’s dramatic achievements and communist stimulus.