Wednesday, December 01, 2004


While reading through an old Akira Iriye essay I stumbled across the following prediction by John Hobson (one of the first scholars to write about imperialism) more than a century ago:
It is at least conceivable that China might so turn the tables upon the Western industrial nations, and, either by adopting their capital and organizers, or as is more probable, by substituting her own, might flood their markets with her cheaper manufactures, and refusing their imports in exchange might take her payments in liens upon their capital, reversing the earlier process of investment until she gradually gained financial control over her quondam patrons and civilizers.
Anyone who notices all the "Made in China" labels at Wal-Mart and who has paid attention to the tumbling dollar and the fact that China owns a good chunk of the U.S. national debt would have to think that Hobson may have got it right.

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