In "Uprising", the economic advisor George Magnus asks to what extent the "emerging markets" of BRIC - Brazil and Russia, but more importantly India and in particular China will wrest economic power from the United States. He shows how China was inadvertently implicated in the 2008-9 economic crisis, by depositing so much of its foreign exchange earnings from exports into US banks, thus stimulating the "credit mania" of speculation in, for instance, the subprime housing market.
Taking a different perspective from other writers in this field, Magnus warns against extrapolating trends into the future and predicting the dominance of China. He reminds us of how the Soviet leader Khruschev mistakenly warned the West "we will bury you", how the Japanese miracle faded, and the US recovered from the problems of the 1970s-80s against the odds.
Despite the size, dynamism and "world creditor nation status" which make it a global power, China has certain basic problems which it has yet to address. With an ageing population and growing gender imbalance, China is demographically weaker than the US. With most of its development on the coast, China has internal regions which are important for resources and supply lines, but which may prove politically unstable. China also lacks to date the "infrastructure" of financial and legal institutions necessary for sound development, and its centralised culture discourages innovation. Can China handle the growing internal demands for consumer goods? Can it achieve western levels of income per head without massive pollution? What about increased pressure for freedom of expression?
Many of the points covered can be gleaned from regular reading of a broadsheet newspaper, but it is useful to have them summarised in one place. There is a good deal of repetition - perhaps useful to help one absorb key points. Occasionally, I felt I was being given contradictory statistical information, but only the general trends seem to matter, as most of the precise figures supplied will soon be out-of-date.
I am not sure how accessible this book is for someone with no economic knowledge - perhaps a chapter or appendix to explain certain principles -say on trade surpluses and deficits, might have been useful. Also, some of the diagrams are too small and make little sense when two or more line graphs showing different things are both reproduced in the same black print.
Perhaps a separate chapter on each "BRIC" country or (group of) emergent economies with a final summary analysis would have made for a clearer and less repetitious read.
Magnus raises questions which he cannot answer but at least he makes us think about the complexity and importance of the issues. Overall, this is informative and free from "author's ego" and bias - although I did wonder on what basis he describes the US education system as the best in the world. Also, perhaps more attention could have been given to the Chinese investment - tantamount to economic colonialism -in say, Africa which has annoyed Hillary Clinton so much.
On balance, despite the author's confidence in the resilience of the United States, I think we in the UK have cause to worry.....
This is an excellent book. It is lucidly written, well argued and very thought-provoking. It is refreshing to find an author who, as the other reviewer rightly states, eschews the prevailing consensus on the rise of China and India and instead puts forward an alternative thesis. Whether or not you agree with George Magnus's arguments on the future of western-sytle capitalism is not really the point. You may not be persuaded but you will certainly have broadened your understanding of recent global events and the implications for the future if you make the effort to give this book careful consideration. It is certainly worth reflecting on an alternative perspective that avoids the 'let's jump on the China/India bandwagon'.
Uprising presents a wonderful panorama of the much maligned and misunderstood contemporary economics scene, and the important consequences of its misinterpretation by most people because of their presumption that they know the subject well enough to understand our economy or because they are sufficiently uninterested to find out the consequences of their ignorance of the subject. It is written by an economist who certainly knows his subject very well. His writing style demonstrates his consummate ability to explain difficult concepts and the problems facing everyone on the planet. The subject of economics has always been described as the dismal science, but this perception is far from the truth. Furthermore, the misconceptions of what economics is all about has left our population at the mercy of its practitioners and our politicians allowing them to mislead and exploit us. Read this book and face the inevitable consequences that are bearing down on us. Ignorance of economics can seriously impoverish your life now and to an ever greater extent in the near future.
Talk about timely! With governments around the world wrestling with (or perhaps shirking after the recent G20 non-event) the implications of current account imbalances and currency policy, George Magnus has produced a key text in understanding the current gllobal economic environment. It eschews the lazy consensus that the rise of China and India leaves western capitalism doomed to play second fiddle, and sets out a range of reasons why the economic standing of the US in particular is likely to persist. Buy it, read it and have the arguments to hand to challenge economic fatalists.
When you listen to the TV bubble heads/so-called investment gurus, read some Wall Street strategy reports, you get the impression that Emerging Markets are the best investment places in the world - with NO RISK!
G.Magnus makes a very accurate, balanced, honest analysis of these places through different lenses: Economic models, their actions and consequences within the International Monetary System, History, political, institutions, geopolitics, etc...
The author understands that (as he quoted) "Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted" by Einstein. Way too often you hear people throwing GDP numbers, Auto sales, etc... to argue that China is the new global power. There are more to it than just that.
This book gives the upside and the downside! Unlike long-only asset management companies or sell-side equity salesmen - who by the way - only cares about his fees.
George Magnus is a respected economist, and he has given a good insight to the emerging markets of China in particular. Interesting was his history lesson on the development of China, prior to the period of influence of Western powers from 1840 to 1940.
Much of what George Magnus says about the rising influence of China in the world economy is reflected by other economists in the West, so no surprises there!