Term Paper - From Third World Isolationist to Economic...

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From Third World Isolationist to Economic Powerhouse: The Causes and Effects of China’s Tremendous Economic Growth Anthony Jercinovich EASC 150 Final Research Paper
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The People’s Republic of China currently has the fastest growing economy in the world, and has experienced a “more than tenfold increase” in Gross Domestic Product over the last thirty years. 1 As a result of this rapid growth, China now has the second largest economy, second only to the United States. This economic expansion, in concurrence with increased military expenditures, has propelled China to the ranks of the global elite, making it perhaps the most powerful and influential country in the world after the US. With this development has come an influx of foreign interest, a burgeoning middle class, and an increased impact on world affairs. On the other hand, this rapid growth has also been marked by an extremely poor lower class, human rights abuse, and an extraordinary amount of pollution. Although there are both good and bad characteristics of China’s rise to an economic superpower, this has also been true of every other country that has experienced the same industrial boom that the PRC has been undergoing for the last several decades. Nonetheless, it is important that the Chinese government neither be praised nor scorned for its economic miracle, but rather examined analytically to determine both the causes and effects of this growth. Upon an in-depth investigation, it is revealed that China’s tremendous economic expansion is due primarily to the availability of a cheap labor force as well as foreign investment, and that the Chinese government must initiate a number of economic, social, and environmental reforms to avoid a future collapse of their economic system. With over 1.3 billion citizens, China is the most populated country in the world. Such a large population has allowed the PRC to develop their economy very rapidly because business owners have had an enormous labor pool to draw from. Employers, whether service firms, factories, or government agencies, have had little trouble finding people to work for them, 1 “China.” CIA – The World Factbook. 15 April 2007. 17 April 2007. <https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html>
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especially in light of the migration of many rural Chinese searching for work to the more industrialized cities. Many young Chinese living on farms in the countryside have begun move to the cities in recent years in order to find a job. While this is sometimes a search for adventure, more often these young men and women come from families who are barely able to subsist on the profits from their farms and so need an extra source of income. Their sons and daughters travel to cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and Guangzhou and work long hours in factories for minimal wages in order to send money home.
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