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The End of Cheap China

The End of Cheap China | Global education = global understanding | 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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Don Brown Jr's comment, July 26, 2012 5:57 PM
The variables that are effecting Chinas economic growth will continue to alter its economy and cause it to adapt. How successful China is in resolving this issue may be the difference between the Chinese coast turning into a potential rust belt, the next Silicon Valley or something in-between in the future.
Roland Trudeau Jr.'s comment, July 29, 2012 7:48 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.
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The new geography of trade: Globalization’s decline may stimulate local recovery

The new geography of trade: Globalization’s decline may stimulate local recovery | Global education = global understanding | Scoop.it

Many hold it as an article of faith that global trade will be an ever-growing presence in the world. Yet this belief rests on shaky foundations. Global trade depends on cheap, long-distance freight transportation. Freight costs will rise with climate change, the end of cheap oil, and policies to mitigate these two challenges.

At first, the increase in freight costs will be bad news for developed and developing nations alike but, as adjustments in the patterns of trade occur, the result is likely to be decreased outsourcing with more manufacturing and food production jobs in North America and the European Union. The pattern of trade will change as increasing transportation costs outweigh traditional sources of comparative advantage, such as lower wages.


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Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class

Apple, America and a Squeezed Middle Class | Global education = global understanding | Scoop.it
Apple once bragged that its products were made in America. But it has since shifted its immense manufacturing work overseas, posing questions about what corporate America owes Americans.

 

The economics of globalization are at the core of this article, Apple just happens to be the case-study.  Why are iPhones not produced in the United States?  While it would be easy to simply cite cheap labor, it is more complicated than that.  Unfortunately for those hoping to rekindle American industry, the problems run deeper than that.  The ability to recruit sufficient highly-trained engineers, flexibility and speed in production are all factors that are decisively in China's corner at the moment.  Big picture, how are these economic factors reshaping the world we live in? 


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What America Manufactures

What America Manufactures | Global education = global understanding | Scoop.it

"It's a myth that the U.S. doesn't make anything anymore."  The U.S. economy still produces more through manufacturing tangible goods ($1.5 trillion) than it does in providing services ($600 billion) for the international market.  The maps and graphs in this article are great teaching materials.  The impact of NAFTA is shown powerfully in the regionalization of U.S. trade partners, making this salient material for a discussion on supranationalism as well.   


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Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 15, 2013 7:39 AM

This article and map were very interesting. I like how the article breaks down what is being made and exported in America, because honestly I had no idea, as it seems everyone grumbles that we do not make anything more. Granted, we make a lot less than we have in the past, but we are still manufactoring quite an array of goods and services

Liam Michelsohn's curator insight, December 10, 2013 12:34 PM

In the current ecnomny america is cleary importing more  than its exporting, but suprisingly not by much.  The mos common thing to find on many of todays products, cloths, phones, ect. is made in china , and beacuse of all this its a popular belife that  America doesnt make anything any more, we just buy all of our stuff from china. While this isnt true, america does not produce alot of final produts to distubite world wide. However they do have a large export of goods maily industral supply and capital goods, along with many services that add up to 2.1 trillion dollars. So while we might not be the leading  manufacture for plastic toys or cloths, its  nice to be reminded that we still contibute some things to the global trade community. 

Kenny Dominguez's curator insight, December 11, 2013 4:09 PM


This is great because now we can witness the creation of jobs in the country which can help the country get out of the depression that it is in. it also can help people get jobs and not have to worry about if there unemployment check is going enough to cover there expenses. Also people that are working are less likely to get depressed because they are not trapped in there homes because now they have something that is distracting them. But the United States is seeing a great improvement because of all the things being manufactured here. One good example is the Honda accord power plant and the ford motor company plant and even general motors in Detroit. all of these companies is helping the Americans get back into the workforce.

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Globalization: Intertwined Economies & Environments

Globalization: Intertwined Economies & Environments | Global education = global understanding | Scoop.it
The technology in smartphones and laptops includes minerals mined in areas of Africa riven by warfare. But fighting back does not mean giving up technology, reports Kate Dailey.

 

This article, titled, "How to offset your 'conflict mineral' guilt," drives home the interconnectedness of the modern globalized world.  While no one would be in favor of slave labor in mines that support African warlords, the production process to make cell phones, laptops and just about any portable electronic device are dependent of the raw material coming out of mines in Eastern Congo under these conditions.  

 

So what is a consumer to do?  This article outlines some ideas for people to be social advocates to change the geographies of their commodities without completely separating themselves from the modern world.  For more on the U.S. law for corporate disclosure of 'conflict minerals' in their products, see: http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/new-us-law-requires-electronics-makers-to-disclose-conflict-mineral-use.html


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