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The End of Cheap China

The End of Cheap China | Development geography | Scoop.it
TRAVEL by ferry from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, in one of the regions that makes China the workshop of the world, and an enormous billboard greets you: “Time is Money, Efficiency is Life”.

 

China’s economic growth has been explosive. Many people predicting the economic future have used current growth percentages and trajectories to extrapolate into the future. The question that we should ask is: how long can China continue to grow at this current pace? Many signs are pointing to the difficulty that China will have in sustaining these levels of growth. The era of China being the world’s go-to source for cheap manufacturing is dependent on current geographic variables, variables that the economic growth is altering.

 

Manufacturing prices are rising, especially in the coastal provinces where factories have usually been agglomerated (also known as Special Economic Zones --SEZs). The more success that China has in manufacturing, land prices will go up, environmental and safety standards will increase. Collectively, this will mean that labor costs for the factories will also be increasing as Chinese workers are not only producing but also becoming consumers of manufactured goods with an increased standard of living. This is changing the spatial patterns of employment in China and will impact Chinese manufacturing’s global influence. Sarah Bednarz recommends this article as “a needed update on the new international division of labor (NIDL).”  For more on the topic, see Shaun Rein's book, "The End of Cheap China: Economic and Cultural Trends that will Disrupt the World."


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Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 29, 2012 10:48 AM
As these laws increase and so does the economy it would seem more work will be pushed out of China. Perhaps in the future China will not be the go-to place for cheep labor. That is excellent news for all those effected by these horrible conditions, but given the loss of jobs with the rise of standards, they may not be so happy.
Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:30 PM

I think this is a very important article. All our estimates on China's growth assume that they will continue to operate the same as they grow more and more. We can see that when economies grow, the standards of living rise,, wages rise, the middle class grows and the cost of production will rise. In the late 19th and early 20th century the United States had cheap labor and was one of the worlds leading producer of goods, but as workers clamored for more money, better working conditions and social programs our cost of producing rose to a point where it was cheaper to outsource labor. With China growing, other countries are more attractive to business looking to protect their bottom line.

Jason Schneider's curator insight, April 2, 2015 9:43 PM

The most popular nations of China and the strongest economies of China appears to be on the edge of the east side of China such as Shanghai, Fujian, Guangzhou and Liaoning. I believe that their economic growth has something to do with the fact that these counties are off the coast of East China sea so when you have tourists of immigrants from the east side of China, most likely, they will visit these counties that are in the far east of China. Overall, China is a powerful country but they focus more urbanization on the far east of China because it's closer to the water and that's where you'll find tourists and immigrants. Also, manufacturing factories, especially in the far east are extremely wealthy which allows higher wages to workers and it lures more people to work in China which strengthens peoples desires to go to or live in China.

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Once a Producer, China is now a Consumer

China is now the world's largest car market, and a crucial one for Detroit companies. Chinese consumers bought 18.5 million vehicles last year, and foreigners, especially Americans, have played a key role in developing the industry.

 

China now is the world's largest auto market as China is no longer simply a place where things are produced.  China has become a major consumer of goods as their workers wages allow them to consume more goods. 

 


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Meagan Harpin's curator insight, October 9, 2013 1:00 PM

China has become the worlds largest car market and General motors planned to open another 600 dealerships because it sells more cars in China then it does in the US. China have even become a bigger consumer in of goods, when this atricle was released they were purchasing 18.5 million worth of goods. That has alot to do with the increased pay they are now recieving as well.  

Rebecca Farrea's curator insight, October 21, 2013 12:56 PM

This is an interesting headline and topic because so many Americans blame China for job loss, when in reality, China is no longer at the forefront of manufacturing and industry.  China is consuming from foreign markets, such as the United States, just as it has been producing and manufacturing goods.

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 2:07 PM

The car culture in the United States has made us a very lucrative customer for foreign auto industries. Our infrastructure is build around the automobile, we built our highway system, suburban communities and other support systems to encourage auto use. In China, they may need to consider the way their countries is structured and whether or not heavy automobile use will be functional. In Jakarta we see massive traffic jams because they are not equipped to handle more people driving to work.

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Manufactured Landscapes

This 90 minute documentary is an often painful look and the landscapes of manufacturing and the geography of resource extraction.  This video is VERY slow, so I don't recommend showing the whole video in class, but certain this video would be a good inclusion in a lesson (e.g.-Three Gorges Dam, e-waste or factory work).  This Zeitgeist Film by Jennifr Baichwal focuses primarily on Chinese manufacturing landscapes and the environmental impacts that technology produces that we would collectively like to pretend we can wish them away. 


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China now eats twice the meat we do

China now eats twice the meat we do | Development geography | Scoop.it
We can learn a lot from examining the way China's diet has changed in the last 20 years -- as well as its required efficiencies and the agriculture that supports it.

 

The United States still consumes more meat per capita than China, but as China's economy has grown (along with it's income and standard of living), the consumer habits have changed as well.  What will the impacts of the rise in Chinese meat consumption mean?   How do they get all this meat?  http://www.scoop.it/t/geography-education/p/1661841673/this-little-piggy-is-going-to-china


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Brett Sinica's curator insight, November 29, 2013 2:07 PM

This is actuallty very believable considering the population growth that China has experienced.  It only makes sense that the more people there are, the more meat will be consumed.  It is part of their cuisine to include meat.  Pork and chicken are among many of the popular proteins which are found on their dishes.  There is also the expansion to go along with all of the growth.  The landscape of the eastern part of the country has become more agriculturally accomodating for crops and livestock alike.  Therefore to match the trend of growing population, is the need to match it with meat and other foods.

Lauren Stahowiak's curator insight, April 14, 2014 6:25 PM

China now eats twice as much meat than America. However, this chart does not touch upon "per-capita" which plays a major role in where the food is being dispersed and consumed. 

Jacob Crowell's curator insight, December 15, 2014 1:55 PM

China's meat demand is being met by importing meat. As the standard of living rises more of China's population are looking to branch out in regards to their diet, what is interesting is that this is also an example of cultures blending. Food is a great indicator of cultural diffusion. As China becomes more globalized we are seeing their diet and consumption patterns becoming less local and tradition.