When I was a kid, China, like Russia, scared the crap out of me. It was communist. Communist China. People who shared my faith, Christians, got tortured there. In fact, lots of people got tortured there. WE might, under very rare circumstances, be allowed to visit, but Chinese people could never visit us because they were locked inside. It was a secretive, faraway, very scary country.
It’s such a different story now. We witnessed the opening ceremonies stream from Beijing. I’ve enjoyed getting to know several immigrants from China. And above all it’s become nearly impossible to purchase anything that’s not made in China.
Can you relate?
Let’s get familiar with this new super-power, this country that has encroached our lives every which way. This money coach found some econ 101’s:
- 1/2 the world’s clothes
- 1/2 the world’s computers
- More than 1/2 the world’s digital electronics
- More than 3/4 of the world’s toys (ed note: uh-oh)
Factors that make this manufacturing do-able by China
- 104 million workers
- 1/10 of the wage compared to Europe and the US
- for every $1 sale in the US of designer clothers, the manufacturer receives 10¢
- workers can work up to 18 hours a day in busy months
To create these goods, China uses
- 1/2 the world’s iron ore
- 1/3 the world’s aluminum
- 1/2 the world’s copper
- nearly 1/2 the world’s hard coal
- nearly 1/10 the world’s oil production (ed note: that’s less than I’d thought. I guess because they use coal instead)
I got these stats from an offbeat but very intelligent magazine called The New Internationalist. It’s introducing me to all kinds behind-the-scenes stories that affect my every day life. If you, like me, want to be better informed, I recommend subscribing! It’s causing me to see the world differently – in a good way. (no, I get nothing for the pitch! I am just really impressed by the mag. And they use a creative commons license – what’s not to love?)