O que é este blog?

Este blog trata basicamente de ideias, se possível inteligentes, para pessoas inteligentes. Ele também se ocupa de ideias aplicadas à política, em especial à política econômica. Ele constitui uma tentativa de manter um pensamento crítico e independente sobre livros, sobre questões culturais em geral, focando numa discussão bem informada sobre temas de relações internacionais e de política externa do Brasil. Para meus livros e ensaios ver o website: www.pralmeida.org.

Mostrando postagens com marcador China. Mostrar todas as postagens
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domingo, 3 de fevereiro de 2019

The Unpredictable Rise of China - David Blumenthal (AEI)

O AEI é notoriamente conservador, no sentido clássico da palavra. Cabe ler, portanto, este ensaio com vários grãos de sal, talvez baldes de sal, pois representando o setor dos EUA que vê na China o grande rival do império americano.
Não creio, por exemplo, que:
"Beijing has viewed the United States as its chief geopolitical rival, yet official Washington has only recently awakened to this strategic competition."
Acredito no contrário: que são os EUA que veem na China o seu grande adversário estratégico, e a colocam como rival, competidora em alguma disputa pelo poder, ou mesmo um inimigo disposto a destruir as bases da supremacia americana.
A China e os dirigentes chineses querem apenas se colocar numa posição de força defensiva, e dissuasória, de maneira a que a China não seja nunca mais humilhada como ela foi desde meados do século XIX.
Mas cabe lembrar que os piores sofrimentos impostos ao povo chinês, o maior número de mortos provocado nos últimos dois séculos, foram devidos basicamente aos próprios dirigentes chineses, não inimigos externos, sem pretender minimizar as matanças impostas pelos vizinhos imperialistas, basicamente os japoneses, desde 1895, e depois em 1931 e 1937-45. A revolução Tai-Ping, em meados do século XIX, e o Grande Salto "para Trás", ordenado por aquele delirante imperador comunista, entre 1959 e 1962, provocaram, cada um, mais de 20 milhões de mortos, este último talvez 35 ou mesmo 45 milhões de mortos, por fome basicamente.
Se a China está economicamente em declínio, e politicamente sob tensão, não parece que ela venha a entrar em uma profunda crise desestabilizadora.
Em todo caso, cabe ler o ensaio de David Blumenthal.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida


The Unpredictable Rise of China

Xi Jinping seeks national rejuvenation, but his nation’s mounting power masks increased instability.

Donald Trump meets with China's Vice Premier Liu He on January 31, 2019Jim Young / Reuters
Since the end of the Cold War, Beijing has viewed the United States as its chief geopolitical rival, yet official Washington has only recently awakened to this strategic competition. But as American observers start to see China’s ambitions more clearly, they have also begun to misdiagnose the challenges they pose. Political scientists are discussing “power-transition theory” and the “Thucydides Trap,” as if China were on the verge of eclipsing the United States in wealth and power, displacing it on the world stage. There are two contradictory problems with this view.
The first is that this is not how the Chinese themselves understand their rise. When Chinese President Xi Jinping calls for Chinese to realize the “China dream of national rejuvenation,” he is articulating the belief that China is simply reclaiming its natural political and cultural importance. China is not, as was once said of Imperial Germany after its unification, “seeking its place in the sun.” Rather, it is retaking its rightful place as the sun.
The second is that it’s an open question whether China will achieve rejuvenation in the face of both a seemingly stagnating economy and party factionalism. Xi is more powerful than his predecessors, but his rule is also more fragile. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long faced a crisis of legitimacy, but Xi’s transformation of China into a high-tech police state may hasten this crisis. These factors combine to make China more dangerous in the short term but also less competitive in the longer term. This means that the People’s Republic of China perceives an opportunity for “great renewal” even as it will be less powerful than was expected.
A proper diagnosis of China, then, doesn’t lead to any easy categorization: Washington will have to deal with a powerful and wealthier China that is also experiencing probable economic stagnation and internal decay. This means that the PRC sees its chance at a “great renewal” even as it will be less powerful than was expected.
Xi does not sound like the leader of a country experiencing political decay or economic stagnation. In 2012, soon after he became secretary general of the CCP and president of the People’s Republic of China, he delivered the rejuvenation speech at a historical exhibition within China’s National Museum in Beijing. The exhibit, called “Road to Rejuvenation,” highlighted China’s “century of humiliation,” from the Opium Wars to the fall of the last Qing emperor in 1911. But while the exhibit featured China’s mistreatment by foreign powers, it also conveyed another message—that China was progressing towards a rebirth.
Xi reminded his audience that the CCP had long struggled to restore China to its historic centrality in international affairs. “Ours is a great nation,” he said, that has “endured untold hardships and sufferings.” But the Communist Party, he said, had forged ahead “thus opening a completely new horizon for the great renewal of the Chinese nation.”
And China is powerful. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is developing its capabilities at a rapid speed, changing the balance of power in Asia to its advantage. The Institute for International Strategic Studies estimates that, since 2014, the People’s Liberation Navy has “launched more submarines, warships, principal amphibious vessels and auxiliaries than the total number of ships currently serving in the navies of Germany, India, Spain, Taiwan and the United Kingdom.” Its shipbuilding program is outpacing that of the U.S. China is also spending vast sums on breakthrough technologies like artificial intelligence, hypersonics, and robotics, which could tilt the nature of warfare to its advantage. What the PLA has achieved since the end of the Cold War will one day be compared to what Meiji Japan achieved in the decades leading up to its victory in the Russo-Japanese war.
Moreover, China’s scale alone can be daunting for smaller countries even if its geo-economics initiatives are quite as large as they seem. For example, Xi’s signature initiative, the One Belt One Road (OBOR) is not the new geo-economic order he wants it to be. Nevertheless, for its smaller, less developed recipients, OBOR is still large in scope. What might be economically insignificant for the U.S. still has large geopolitical payoffs for China.
This is all to say that even a relatively weaker China than many imagine can change geopolitics and geo-economics. And Xi may slow down China’s growth even further. He has accelerated a political change in China that has focused the party more on “Stability Maintenance” (“WeiWen”), and less on growth.
The shift from “reform and opening” to “stability maintenance” predates Xi. It began once Deng Xiaoping’s successors Jiang Zemin and Zhu Rongji finished their work of reforming the economy and securing China’s accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. Their successors, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, could not withstand the attacks on “reform and opening” from the New Left—a coalition of unreconstructed Marxists and CCP conservatives—and Hu began to reverse key economic reforms. This allowed the state sector to reassert its dominance of China’s economy.
Still, the momentum of reform and opening obscured the halt in reforms. Exports grew 30 percent per year from 2001 to 2006, following its ascension to the WTO. The Chinese economy experienced an investment, real estate, and manufacturing boom. China needed more commodities to feed its construction and investment-led strategy for growth.
This boom in the early 2000s made it seem as though China was inexorably ascendant. It boasted a massive workforce, substantial capital investment, and big state-owned enterprises scouring the earth for resources and flooding Western markets with Chinese goods. What many observers missed at the time, though, was China’s accumulation of substantial debt, largely due to bad loans and unprofitable investments. This made the economy more dependent on domestic credit to finance investment and on foreign consumption to buy the goods produced by over- and misallocated investment.
China’s new economic model of debt-financed overinvestment was worsened by the financial crisis of 2008. At the time, most U.S. observers believed that China was poised to overtake the U.S. But these policy makers missed how panicked China was during this crisis: Its global export markets dried up, so it turned to domestic credit to prime the pump. China accumulated even more debt through a massive stimulus package. The experience seems to have convinced China’s leaders that time was no longer on their side, and that they had to make some quick gains. From the financial crisis onward, China’s assertiveness reflected not a confidence in its destiny, but rather, a basic insecurity. China’s muscular assertion of territorial claims grew from its economic troubles, political fractiousness, and the implementation of the wide-ranging Stability Maintenance regime.
Xi not only inherited a weakening economy, but also a fractured political elite. As the succession from Hu Jintao was unfolding in 2012, the CCP faced one of its biggest political crises. The charismatic leader of Chongqing Province, Bo Xilai, made an independent bid for CCP leadership. The party moved fast to remove him and punish his wife for corruption and murder. In the process, it exposed to public view the extraordinary levels of corruption within the CCP’s top ranks.
Xi’s answer to the dual economic and political crisis was a ferocious anti-corruption campaign meant to purge cadres in a manner unseen since Mao Tse-Tung. The organization of this campaign strengthens the WeiWen. This mass securitization of the Chinese state began in the late 1990s and early 2000s, as the CCP became more concerned about the effects of regime change in the Caucasus, the Middle East, Serbia, Iraq, and Afghanistan on its own longevity. As the legal scholar Carl Minzner argues, WeiWen has included “the rise in the bureaucratic stature of the police, [and] the emergence of social stability as a core element of cadre evaluation mechanisms.”
Xi has turned his anti-corruption campaign into an additional tool of social and political control. He went far beyond just targeting corrupt cadre and businessmen and called for the “thorough cleanup of three undesirable work styles—formalism, bureaucratism, and extravagance.” This expanded which cadre could be “disciplined,” mostly through extrajudicial means. Now party and bureaucratic functionaries have every incentive to avoid the implementation of policies, as any action can be interpreted as falling afoul of “anti-corruption” rules.
The campaign is, by its nature, political, in that it is run by and accountable only to party organs. Xi has institutionalized this new politics by strengthening the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) and placing disciplinary cells throughout the party’s national and regional organs. The party then codified its mass purges with a new “National Supervision Law” appointing a commission that ranks above the Supreme People’s Court and oversees the conduct of the more than 90 million CCP members, as well as managers of state-owned enterprises, and a broad swath of institutions from hospitals to schools.
Xi has also enacted the National Security Law of 2015, to address what Xi called “the worst security environment China has ever faced.” This new law codified Xi’s extremely broad view of security, which includes everything from the seabed to the internet to space. It calls for the CCP’s “firm ideological dominance” and to continue “strengthening public opinion guidance” as well as “carrying forth the exceptional culture of Chinese nationality.” The CCP also enacted the “State Council Notice concerning Issuance of the Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System.” The Notice establishes a comprehensive database of all Chinese citizens through AI and other high-technology tools, and is grading them based on their loyalty to the CCP. The system will affect people’s applications to schools and jobs, and their access to housing and bank loans.
The new political and institutional arrangements make it very difficult for China to return to market-based reforms. Reforms require less control over the flow of information, ideas, people, and capital. Changes to the cadre-evaluation system are key as well; if cadres are evaluated on the basis of stability maintenance over hitting high-growth targets, there are fewer incentives for market reform.
These policies are not the work of a flourishing Chinese Communist Party. Quite the opposite. The party appears to feel more besieged and under threat than at any time since Tiananmen Square. And Xi has potentially further destabilized the system by crowning himself with ten titles, including head of state, head of military, general secretary of the CCP, and leader of the new “leading groups” to oversee Internet policy, national security, military reform, and Taiwan policy. He has effectively taken over the courts, the police, and all the secret internal para-military and other agencies of internal control. This means that all successes and failures are Xi’s alone. There is no doubt that he has made powerful enemies among the elites who stand at the ready to undermine him should the opportunity arise.
Despite China’s weakening economy and growing political problems, in 2012 Xi claimed the country was entering a “new horizon for the great renewal of the Chinese nation.” Xi’s speech placed the CCP firmly within the history of China’s 5,000-year-old civilization and established its purpose as continuing the struggle for China’s great renewal after the fall of the Qing Empire. The CCP had always struggled with how to address the imperial past of China, which was usually governed by a Confucian ethical and political order. Mao, for example, had led a revolution partly against the feudalism of this past order. While Xi has not abandoned Maoist tactics, he has thrown out this interpretation of history. Instead, he has presented the CCP not as revolutionary, but instead as a part of the long, continuous history of a China that has made “indelible contributions to the progress of human civilization.” Xi is thus more willing than his predecessors to highlight China’s natural geopolitical centrality.
Xi’s signature aspiration in this regard is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which Chinese leaders like Wang Yi tout as advancing China’s “international standing as never before,” as “the Chinese nation, with an entirely new posture now stands tall and firm in the East.” The main goal of the BRI is to expand Chinese global political and economic networks and to secure a more active position in “global governance” without waiting for the West to give China more roles and responsibilities in existing institutions.
Yet the actual monies associated with BRI are far below what was expected. The BRI may help China diversity its energy sources, and offer a more fulsome expression of a long-standing Chinese desire to avoid encirclement by buying influence in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Central Asia. However, the BRI will fall short of its grandiose goal of linking Asia with Europe, as China does not have the foreign-exchange reserves to invest in so many unprofitable deals. Even so, the scale with which China in coordination with its global propaganda machinery has indeed made China more central geopolitically.
As part of his effort to sell renewal, Xi has pushed to reclaim previous Qing-dynasty holdings and expand its maritime claims to secure key supply lines. Xi has built islets, militarized the South China Sea, and kept up the pressure on Japan in the East China Sea. Even as Xi oversees the mass securitization of Chinese domestic policy and directs the CCP to spend money on its continental neighbors through BRI, China has accelerated its maritime turn. Xi announced in 2012 that China is a “great maritime power” and conditioned its success in achieving the “China dream” on becoming a more global maritime power. China’s extensive maritime forces conduct daily missions to push Chinese interests in the South and East China Seas as well as around Taiwan.
Xi and Hu’s great geopolitical legacy will be that they directed China, a continental empire, whose current maps look very similar to those of the Qing, to turn to the sea. China has an area of 3,700,000 square miles and has 14 land borders more than any other country—including with Russia, India, Vietnam and Korea, all of whom have been military enemies in the 20th century. It now effectively claims the entirety of the South and East China Seas. If China were to consolidate control over these bodies of water, it would broaden its geographical expanse from the far west borders with Tajikistan to the northeast maritime reaches of Japan southward to the approaches to Indonesia. Given its continued troubles in its west and its horrifying responses to what it characterizes as Uighur and Tibetan unrest, and its continued rivalry with other states on its land borders, China’s turn to the sea may yet prove as devastating to the world as was Imperial Germany’s decision to enter into a naval competition with England. A decaying China could hasten this process for any number of reasons, including its desire to rebuild national legitimacy.
As China’s economy slows and its politics are consolidated around a new high-tech police state, the party cannot sustain all of these ambitions. WeiWen and anti-corruption efforts will exhaust the bureaucracy as the party eats its own. And Washington can make it very difficult for a continental empire to also succeed at sea. Moreover, while Xi’s political approach may have addressed the short-term crisis, it has compounded China’s political risks in the long term. Xi has done away with Deng’s institutional reforms, which maintained some stability in the CCP governance system.
China has seen many dynasties rise and fall in its history. The last empire fell for a complex set of reasons, including imperial overstretch, drawing the ire of the West, fighting back a succession of massive internal challenges including a civil war and Muslim uprising, its failure to deal with a worsening economy, foreign-policy humiliations, and the belief that the emperors had lost the “mandate of heaven” (what, in today’s terms, we would call ideological vacuity).
As policy makers and scholars stand in awe of what China has accomplished since 1978, they must also continue to examine the internal workings of the system for signs of trouble ahead. In 1993, in a special National Interest edition entitled “The Strange Death of Soviet Communism,” the scholar Charles Fairbanks warned that many had missed the Soviet Union’s long decay because they had not focused on the Soviet Union’s loss of ideological legitimacy among the Communist Party’s elite.
China today is making up for the absence of attractive political principles or ideologies by creating a new empire of fear, and offering increasingly strident appeals to an imperialist nationalism. That is not to say that China will collapse, but Xi has changed the nation’s internal dynamics. The result is a far less predictable course for the Middle Kingdom than materialist political-science theories might predict.

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A invenção da moeda-papel pelos chineses - Tim Harford (BBC)

Os chineses inventaram tudo o que existe de prático no mundo de hoje, em versões primitivas, ainda que seja. Quando os "ocidentais" ainda se digladiavam em lutas tribais na Europa, a China já possuía uma civilização sofisticadíssima.
Paulo Roberto de Almeida

A invenção chinesa que mais surpreendeu Marco Polo


Pintura que retrata a partida da expedição de Marco Polo e seus tiosGetty Images
Marco Polo esteve na China entre 1271 e 1295

Há quase 750 anos, um jovem explorador de Veneza chamado Marco Polo escreveu crônicas sobre suas viagens pela China - O Livro das Maravilhas do Mundo está repleto de episódios que ele jura ter presenciado.

BBC, 8 agosto 2017

Uma cena teve importância especial: o momento em que o veneziano se tornou um dos primeiros europeus a conhecer uma invenção que ainda é um dos fundamentos da economia moderna: o dinheiro de papel.
Não importa a particularidade de que as cédulas modernas não são feitas de papel, em sim a partir de fibras de algodão ou plástico - mesmo o dinheiro chinês que tanto fascinou Marco Polo era assim.

Ele era feito de casca de amoreiras e continha a assinatura de diversas pessoas. Mas sua autenticação era um selo vermelho brilhante proveniente do imperador Kublai Khan, que estava no poder durante as viagens do explorador.
No livro de Marco Polo, suas observações sobre o dinheiro de papel estão em um capítulo chamado "Como o grande Kahn faz com que a casca de árvores, convertida em algo similar a papel, passe como dinheiro em todo o país".
A novidade era mais do que o material: o valor dessas notas não vinha do objeto, ao contrário de moedas de ouro e prata, mas sim da chancela das autoridades do governo.
Bastava a ordem de Khan de que as cascas com o carimbo oficial eram dinheiro. "E que assim seja."

Até a invenção do papel-moeda, forma de pagamento mais comum eram moedas de ouro e prata

Por sinal, o papel-moeda também era chamado de dinheiro fiat - em latim, fiat significa "assim seja".

Cadê o ouro?

O explorador veneziano ficou fascinado com a genialidade que do sistema. Perguntava-se onde ficava o ouro que não estava circulando.
A resposta? Sob rigoroso controle do imperador.

O dinheiro de papel não era novo quando Marco Polo o conheceu. Tinha surgido por volta do ano 1000 na província chinesa Sichuan, mais conhecida hoje por sua culinária.
Naquela época, Sichuan fazia fronteira com Estados estrangeiros por vezes hostis. As autoridades chinesas não queriam que ouro e prata fossem parar no exterior.

Dinheiro em papel foi criado em Sichuan como forma de evitar fuga de divisas

Daí, impuseram a lei de que Sichuan usaria apenas moedas de ferro. O problema era a disparidade de valores: um punhado de moedas de prata, por exemplo, era convertido em mais que o peso do interessado se convertido para ferro.
Isso criava problemas para os comerciantes de Sichuan e seus clientes. Era ilegal usar moedas de ouro e prata, mas nada prático trabalhar com ferro. Nenhuma surpresa, então, que tenham surgido como alternativa os jiaozi - ou bilhetes de intercâmbio.
Tratava-se simplesmente de notas promissórias. Em vez de carregar toneladas de moedas de ferro, um mercador conhecido e de boa reputação fazia uma promessa de que pagaria as contas em outro momento, quando a transação fosse mais conveniente para todos.
A ideia fazia sentido, mas logo ocorreu algo inesperado - os jiaozi começaram a ser comercializados livremente.
Um exemplo? Suponhamos que, depois de uma transação com o respeitável senhor Zhang, você recebe em troca uma promissória. Em uma transação com outro comerciante, você poderia emitir uma nota, mas por que não fazer algo mais simples e passar a promissória de Zhang?
Afinal, sabemos que ele é de confiança.

Os jiaozi eram feitos de casca de amoreira

Títulos oficiais

A partir daí, cria-se uma versão primitiva do dinheiro de papel: uma promessa de reembolso que tem valor de mercado em si mesma e que pode ser transferida de uma pessoa para outra sem ser cobrada.
O negócio é ainda mais interessante para o senhor Zhang. Se sua promissória continuar passando de pessoa para pessoa, ele jamais terá que carregar moedas de ferro.
É como se desfrutasse de um empréstimo sem juros durante todo o tempo em que a promissória circular. Melhor ainda: um empréstimo que talvez nunca tenha que pagar.
Sendo assim, as autoridades chinesas perceberam que podiam ser as beneficiárias do sistema. Regulamentaram a emissão de jiaozi e seu uso. 
Pouco depois, proibiriam jiaozi privados. O título oficial foi um sucesso - circulava por várias regiões e até fora do país e tinha mais valor que moedas de ferro, pois era mais simples de transportar.
Inicialmente, o jiaozi emitido pelo governo chinês podia ser cobrado livremente, assim como os privados.
O sistema era bastante lógico, pois assumia que as notas representavam algo de valor real. Mas o governo modificou o sistema mais tarde, criando um esquema fiat, abandonando a prática de pagar em metal pelos jiaozi. 
Se chegava ao Tesouro para cobrar um jiaozi velho, você sairia com outro mais novo. Um passo bastante moderno.

A efígie de Marco Polo apareceu em nota de lira, a antiga moeda italiana

Afinal, o dinheiro que usamos hoje é criado por bancos centrais e não está respaldado por muito mais que a promessa de troca de notas velhas por novas.
Saímos da situação em que a promissória do senhor Zhang circulava sem ser cobrada para a bizarra situação em que, apesar de nunca poderem ser liquidadas, notas do governo circulam.

Estabilidade

O dinheiro fiat é uma tentação para os governos: uma gestão com muitas contas para pagar pode simplesmente imprimir mais dinheiro. Porém, quando há mais dinheiro para pagar pela mesma quantidade de bens e serviços, os preços tendem a subir.

Hiperinflação fez Zimbábue lançar notas de altíssima denominação em 2008

Essa tentação logo se tornou irresistível na China: a dinastia Song emitiu jiaozi demais, e falsificações se tornaram um problema. Apenas décadas após sua invenção, o jiaozi estava desvalorizado e desacreditado. Era negociado a apenas 10% de seu valor original.
Em tempos bem mais modernos, as coisas foram ainda piores para outros países. A Alemanha no período entreguerras e o Zimbábue do século 21 são dois exemplos de países que sofreram um colapso econômico quando o excesso de impressão de dinheiro fez com que os preços disparassem.
Na Hungria, a hiperinflação fez com que, em 1946, os preços triplicassem diariamente. Quem entrava em um bar de Budapeste, por exemplo, ficava em mais vantagem se pagasse a conta quando chegasse do que quando saísse.
Tais exemplos convenceram alguns economistas mais radicais que o dinheiro fiat jamais pode ser estável.

Há uma minoria de economistas que defendem volta ao padrão-ouro

Eles defendem uma volta do padrão-ouro, o sistema monetário que vigorou até a Primeira Guerra Mundial e no qual o papel-moeda tinha que ser garantido por valor igual de metal precioso.
No entanto, economistas tradicionais rejeitam a ideia e consideram que uma inflação baixa e previsível pode servir com uma espécie de lubrificante para a atividade econômica.
E, apesar de que nem sempre podemos confiar que os bancos centrais vão imprimir a quantidade correta de dinheiro novo, talvez a ideia faça mais sentido do que confiar que a quantidade correta de ouro será escavada.
Imprimir dinheiro é especialmente útil em tempos de crise. Em 2007, por exemplo, o governo americano injetou bilhões de dólares na economia sem criar inflação.
Nem precisou usar impressoras: esses bilhões foram, na verdade, dígitos que computadores injetaram no sistema bancário global.

Depois da crise de 2007, governo dos Estados Unidos sequer precisou imprimir notas, mas sim usou computadores para injetar dinheiro virtual no sistema bancário

Nos dias de hoje, é capaz de Marco Polo ter escolhido um outro título para seu capítulo sobre dinheiro.
"Como o Grande Banco Central faz com que dígitos sejam inseridos por um computador e convertidos em algo similar a uma folha de cálculo, que são usados como dinheiro."
A tecnologia mudou, mas o que serve como dinheiro não deixar de assombrar.
Este artigo é uma adaptação de um episódio do podcast "50 Coisas que Criaram a Economia Moderna", do Serviço Mundial da BBC (em inglês), apresentado pelo economista Tim Harford.

quinta-feira, 31 de janeiro de 2019

J.P. Morgan Perspectives: Made in China 2025: A New World Order?

This report is neither intended to be distributed to Mainland China investors nor to provide securities investment consultancy services within the territory of Mainland China. This report or any portion hereof may not be reprinted, sold or redistributed without the written consent of J.P. Morgan. 
This report is the latest from in our thematic and strategic research series, J.P. Morgan Perspectives, which brings together views and analysis from across the broad scope of J.P. Morgan’s Global Research franchise. This series features in-depth analysis of critical global issues impacting economics and markets across all disciplines. In this report, we examine the dynamics shaping U.S.-China relations and explore the implications of Made in China 2025 for China and the global economy. We hope this series will both inform and foster public debate on evolving economic, investment, and social trends.
Joyce Chang, Global Chair of Research 

J.P. Morgan Perspectives

Made in China 2025: A New World Order?

Will Made in China 2025 reshape the global economy?

  • China’s supercycle is winding down with the old growth drivers—export and investments— slowing, debt remaining disconcertingly high; the work force having peaked; and US-China trade frictions intensifying. 
  • China aspires to reshape its economy through Made in China 2025—a 10-year plan—to usher in the fourth industrial revolution and secure dominance in global technology while expanding its global influence via the Belt and Road Initiative. 
  • China is well-placed to achieve self-sufficiency if not world leadership in tech, telecommunications, AI, Fintech, internet, NEVs, high-speed rail, and clean energy by 2030.
  • But as the rise in US-China trade frictions indicate, these aspirations will be challenged if they continue to be implemented through extant industrial policies and controls on market access. 

What are the global implications of a slowdown in China’s growth?

  • Made in China 2025 does not make China’s inexorable rise inevitable as deleveraging and public sector restructuring are needed to keep China from slowing below 4.5% over the next decade. 
  • China’s high debt level remains its Achilles heel, requiring both financial-sector and SOE restructuring, with the risk that policy mistakes could trigger a “man-made financial crisis.”
  • China's medium-term growth could slow by 2%-points to 4.5% by the end of the next decade, reducing global growth by 0.4%-points, with a risk that base metals prices fall 40% to 60% from current levels. 

How will the reshaping of US-China strategic relations impact the world?

  • Markets are focused on the risk for a “great power competition” between the US and China with implications for technology leadership, supply chain and end product makers reorganizing along security alliances.
  • Cybersecurity is the new frontier with a persistent state of conflict due to the lack of effective deterrence structures. We think both sides will seek self-sufficiency rather than global domination in technology, but China’s large internet players may take global leadership in AI. 
  • China is rising to global leadership in clean energy across autos, solar and wind power, and green bonds. 
  • US-China tensions can potentially trigger the existing manufacturing supply chain to permanently shift out of China to ASEAN countries and others. 

How quickly will China open its financial markets?

  • The global reach of China’s financial markets and currency will proceed gradually even as China enters mainstream equity and fixed income indices.
  • Successful execution of the Made in China 2025 agenda likely makes MSCI China a structural overweight, though without corresponding strength in the currency. 


sexta-feira, 25 de janeiro de 2019

A China em Davos: discurso do vice-presidente - Wang Qishan

Full text of Chinese vice president's speech at 2019 WEF annual meeting

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan on Wednesday delivered a speech at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.
An English translated version of the speech is as follows:

Stay Confident and Work Together for A Shared Future
Speech by H.E. Wang Qishan
Vice President of the People's Republic of China
At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
Davos, 23 January 2019

Dear Dr. Klaus Schwab,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to attend the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the relations between China and the WEF. Over the past four decades, Davos, this lovely small town with its unique appeal, has become an important platform for China to learn about the world, exchange views, state its position and seek common understanding.
This year 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The past seven decades have witnessed remarkable achievements in China's development. Our nation has made historical transformation in terms of social productivity and composite national strength and delivered initial prosperity to its people who were once struggling to meet their basic living needs. China's status and influence have risen as never before. Indeed, China has increasingly become an important force for upholding world peace and promoting common development.
Many foreign friends have often put this question to me: What has made it possible for China to achieve so much in development and progress? And how will a stronger China engage the rest of the world? Well, these questions can be answered from historical, cultural and philosophical perspectives. Given the close linkage between the past, the present and the future, one needs to learn about China's past in order to understand its present and forecast its future.
China has an uninterrupted civilization of more than 5,000 years, and the Chinese nation has both gone through sufferings and made splendid achievements. When the West embarked upon industrialization and embraced the oceans, China fell behind because its emperors chose to shut China's door to the world, and this made China a victim of foreign aggression. Since modern times began, China was beset by crises at home and abroad, and ravaged by wars and chaos, which inflicted untold sufferings to its people. However, in a century of darkness, the Chinese people, rising one upon another in an unyielding spirit, never stopped searching for a way towards national renewal and prosperity.
Seventy years ago, the Communist Party of China, rallying the Chinese people around itself, engaged in an indomitable struggle and succeeded in establishing a New China in the ruins of an old semi-colonial and semi-feudal society, thus achieving national independence and liberation of the Chinese people. Since then, the Chinese nation has gained rebirth and entered a new era of development.
We will stay true to the founding mission of the Communist Party of China, uphold its leadership and China's fundamental socialist political and economic systems and be guided by a people-centered development philosophy. From the founding and building of the People's Republic to the launching of the reform and opening-up program and the shifting of focus to economic development, we have moved away from revolution to reform, from a planned economy to a market economy and from isolation to all-round opening-up. In this process, we have broken free from the fetters of dogma and Utopian thinking, freed our minds and taken a realistic and pragmatic approach, and applied Marxism's basic tenets in the context of China's realities. Four to five generations of us Chinese have, going through twists and turns, probed a way forward. Through trials and errors, with many lessons learned and heavy prices paid along the way, we have made great accomplishments and embarked upon a path of building socialism with distinctive Chinese features. Thanks to 70 years of hard work and dedication, we have turned a weak and impoverished agrarian country with backward productivity into the world's second largest economy, the largest industrial manufacturer, and the largest trader of goods, creating bright prospects for the great renewal of the Chinese nation.
This is what history has told us:
-- The Chinese nation, long among the leading civilizations in the world history, has made unique and significant contribution to human progress. The profound historical and cultural heritage of the Chinese nation is in the genes of its people. What we long for is to see China once again gain its rightful place among the nations of the world and achieve great rejuvenation.
-- The Chinese nation as we know today originates from a number of nationalities that embraced and integrated into one another throughout history. We are a peace-loving, open and inclusive nation that keeps abreast of the times. While keeping the fine Chinese culture alive and strong, we also respect other civilizations and values, and draw inspirations from other cultures. As we continue to follow the socialist path with distinctive Chinese features, we will respect other peoples' independent choices of paths and systems.
-- The Chinese culture values the teachings that one should help others to succeed while seeking one's own success, create a world for all, treat others with respect and pursue win-win cooperation. We reject the practices of the strong bullying the weak and self-claimed supremacy. Today, China's interests and future are closely linked to those of the world. While developing itself, China also wishes to work with all countries for common development and a community with a shared future for mankind.
-- The advances in China in the past 70 years are not a godsend, nor a gift from others. Rather, they are made by the Chinese people through vision, hard work, courage, reform and innovation. By striving to meet people's aspirations for a better life, we can surely win their support. United as one, we Chinese can surely overcome various risks and challenges.
-- A land of over 9.6 million square kilometers, a people of nearly 1.4 billion, and a history of over 5,000 years: These are the underlying features of China, and they are the source from which China derives confidence in its path, theory, system and culture. We have embarked on a right path that fits China's conditions and is in keeping with the trend of the times. And we will further improve and enrich socialism with distinctive Chinese features through reform and opening-up. This is a path we believe in, and we will steadily forge ahead along this path.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In recent years, problems in the global economy such as lack of new growth drivers, unbalanced development and uneven income distribution have intensified. New challenges brought by new technologies, new industries and new forms of business have mounted. Many countries are increasingly looking inward when making policies; barriers to international trade and investment are increasing; and unilateralism, protectionism and populism are spreading in the world. All these are posing serious challenges to the international order. Will economic globalization move forward or reverse course?
The economic globalization, which gained rapid ground in the last century, was started by Western developed countries, or the Mediterranean civilization. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, technological advances have significantly reduced the geographical distance and other barriers to exchanges among countries and accelerated the economic globalization process. The BRICS countries, Vietnam, Indonesia and other emerging economies have risen. As a result, economic globalization has reached a new stage as we now know. Western multinational corporations and financial institutions are the main drivers of economic globalization. As they seek maximum profit in their operations, they allocate resources to countries and regions with low-cost production factors and sound business environment when building global industrial chains. In this process, China has moved up from the low end to the medium and high end of the global industrial chain. The nearly 1.4 billion Chinese who are enjoying greater prosperity have unleashed huge demand backed by purchasing power. And this has unlocked enormous market potential that no one can afford to ignore.
Economic globalization represents an inevitable trend of history given the enormous potential that derives from harnessing the comparative advantages of countries and enhancing economic connectivity. In response to the problems and challenges in the world today, the international community need to make serious and deep-going analysis, and more importantly, take collective actions in line with the trend proactively.
Under market economy conditions, too much emphasis on efficiency often comes at the cost of equity. While there are both internal and external factors that cause a problem, the internal one plays the key role. Therefore we must take a targeted approach to address the problems that have emerged in the process of economic globalization. Development imbalances need to be resolved through further development. Countries need to press ahead with structural reform, strike a right balance between equity and efficiency, adopt effective policy measures to prevent the worsening of income inequality and fend off the impact on some regions and industries caused by new technologies and market competition, so that all people stand to gain from continued development. What we need to do is make the pie bigger while looking for ways to share it in a more equitable way. The last thing we should do is to stop making the pie and just engage in a futile debate on how to divide it. Shifting blame for one's own problems onto others will not resolve the problems.
To address its problem, China's choice is to focus on managing our own affairs well. Socialism with distinctive Chinese features has entered a new era, yet China also faces the problem of imbalances in development. The principal issue confronting the Chinese society is that unbalanced and inadequate development cannot meet our people's ever-growing needs for a better life. We will pursue development as the top priority, promote coordinated economic, political, cultural, social and ecological advancement, and move steadily towards making China a moderately prosperous society in all respects.
We in China have continued to carry out reform across the board, resolving many tough issues and navigating dangerous rapids. Major headway has been made in supply-side structural reform, digital economy and other emerging industries are flourishing, and an innovation-driven China is taking shape. Decisive progress has been made in key battles of poverty alleviation, with the number of rural people living in poverty cut by over 80 million since 2013. Thanks to stronger measures taken, China's environment has been further improved. The Communist Party of China, the governing party in China, has strengthened itself by strictly enforcing party discipline, and a crushing victory has been secured in fighting corruption.
We in China have continued to promote opening-up across the board, advance international cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, upgrade an open world economy, and work for a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, equity, justice and win-win cooperation under the principle of consultation and cooperation for shared benefit. China remains committed to building world peace, promoting global growth and upholding the international order.
Ladies and gentlemen,
New technologies bring opportunities, but they also create risks and challenges. Every major breakthrough in scientific discovery and technological innovation has greatly boosted human development and progress; but it has also led to the restructuring of value chains, industrial chains and supply chains, and disrupted the balance in the economy and society and between countries and regions. Indeed, such breakthrough challenges the existing rules and order. As a result, adjustments need to be made to both the economic and social governance of countries and global economic governance.
We are meeting here under the theme "Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution", which is highly relevant. The fourth industrial revolution, with its speed, scale and complexity and the way it shapes human society, represents a significant evolution of the globalization process. We must work together to shape the global architecture in the age of the fourth industrial revolution with the vision to create a better future for all mankind.
We need to uphold the security of all mankind. We need to explore the adoption of relevant rules and standards in a phased way, while leaving broad space for the dissemination and application of scientific discovery and technological innovation. We need to accommodate in a balanced manner the interests of all countries, especially those of emerging markets and developing countries. One should not ask the whole world to address only the security concern and comply only with the standards of developed countries or individual countries.
It is imperative to respect national sovereignty and refrain from seeking technological hegemony, interfering in other countries' domestic affairs, and conducting, shielding or protecting technology-enabled activities that undermine other countries' national security. We need to respect the independent choices of model of technology management and of public policies made by countries, and their right to participating in the global technological governance system as equals.
We need to uphold multilateralism, engage in extensive dialogue and cooperation based on mutual respect and mutual trust, and jointly build a system of rules for technology and new international cooperation framework featuring peace, security, democracy, transparency, inclusiveness and mutual benefit, so that all people can gain from technological innovation.
We need to uphold social equity and justice, and ensure technological innovations are made in compliance with the rule of law and internationally recognized norms and that they are guided by us humans, meet our needs and be compatible with our values. We need to prevent technological advances from being turned into tools of committing terrorism and crimes or violating individual rights.
We need to improve policy environment and promote social prosperity and stability. We should both respect and protect the rights and interests of innovators. At the same time, we should provide necessary education and training to enable the public to adapt to the fast advancement of technology and ensure that such advancement helps raise living standards, create jobs, protect the environment, and promote the long-term interests of mankind.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In this changing world, making advance is like climbing a mountain. It is commitment, conviction and confidence that drive us forward. In this era of unfolding economic globalization, all of us mankind share a common stake. As a Swiss proverb goes, "Torches light up each other." Let us illuminate the path ahead, progress together, ascend to the summit and jointly create a great future for all mankind.

domingo, 20 de janeiro de 2019

Redescobrindo inéditos (7): o problema da China (2014) - Paulo Roberto de Almeida

O problema da China

Paulo Roberto de Almeida
Hartford, 12 de agosto de 2014

Jean-Paul Sartre, numa de suas peças, disse que “o inferno são os outros”. Pois bem, o inferno do Brasil, nas suas relações com a China, não são os chineses; são os petistas. A partir da visita de Lula, como pré-candidato, à China, em 2001, consolidou-se e reforçou-se, nos companheiros, a impressão, totalmente equivocada obviamente, de que a China, por ser supostamente socialista e alegadamente anti-hegemônica, seria um aliado natural do grande projeto mundial dos companheiros, de construir uma “nova relação de forças” e inaugurar uma “nova geografia do comércio internacional”. Ambas suposições eram totalmente ilusórias, mas isso não impediu os companheiros de, desde 2002, assim que ganharam as eleições, terem escolhido a China, preventivamente e unilateralmente, como “parceiro estratégico”, essa outra condição usada e abusada não só pelos companheiros, mas também por diplomatas e candidatos a estadistas, em geral.
A China, como é de seu estilo, continuou a cuidar de sua vida, seus negócios, e seus interesses estratégicos, aceitando de bom grado todos os apoios dos deslumbrados e ingênuos que existem pelo mundo. Ela nunca se dobrou a nenhum interesse especial do Brasil – seja em matéria de investimentos, seja em aspirações ainda mais cobiçadas – mas os companheiros continuaram privilegiando a China em todos os temas de interesse nacional da China, contemplando o Brasil com uma ou outra palavra complacente nos comunicados bilaterais ou do grupo Brics. Nunca antes na diplomacia brasileira se havia visto tamanha unilateralidade de propósitos, com tão poucos retornos efetivos. Na primeira visita que fez à China, em meados de 2003, Lula comprometeu-se a reconhecê-la como “economia de mercado” e chegou a aventar uma hipótese de um acordo de livre comércio entre o Mercosul e o grande país asiático. Nem uma nem outra iniciativa foram confirmadas, mas por oposição de outros parceiros, não por falta de vontade dos companheiros, que estavam inclusive dispostos a fazer comércio em “moedas locais”, num inacreditável retrocesso em relação aos sistemas de Bretton Woods e do Gatt, potencialmente prejudicial ao Brasil. A não concretização dessas promessas ingênuas não impediu a China de converter-se no primeiro parceiro comercial do Brasil desde 2009, mas segundo padrões totalmente desequilibrados, remetendo ao perfil colonial de mais de um século atrás.

A China é um problema, mas não só para o Brasil; para o mundo. Mas ela é também uma oportunidade, e um elemento positivo no cenário mundial, sob vários aspectos. Na interface com o Brasil não existem os mesmos problemas de segurança ou de equilíbrio geopolítico enfrentados pelas grandes potências ou pelos países vizinhos. A relação é basicamente econômico-comercial, e aí estão as ameaças, ou desafios, e as bondades que isso possa representar. A China forneceu, de graça para o Brasil, pelo menos um terço do crescimento do PIB registrado nos anos gloriosos do lulo-petismo, e de certa forma continuou sustentando, pela voracidade de sua máquina produtiva: 600 dólares a tonelada de soja, 180 dólares a de minério, níveis nunca antes vistos nas bolsas de mercadorias. Aparentemente, a bonança vai continuar, ainda que em escala moderada.
Na outra vertente, a da oferta de bens manufaturados, a destruição de empregos industriais em favor da China também vai continuar, e isso se aplica tanto aos países desenvolvidos quanto ao Brasil, os primeiros deslocando para lá a produção ou a assemblagem dos seus produtos de marca, e o Brasil sofrendo a concorrência de produtos mais baratos fabricados na China em ramos tradicionais de sua indústria, sobretudo nas de mão-de-obra intensiva, mas crescentemente também em equipamentos e bens de capital. Nessa área não é culpa da China e não há nada que ela possa fazer, pois se trata de decisões de nível microeconômico, que obedecem aos interesses das empresas, sem muita interferência dos governos (a não ser para medidas protecionistas).
A China presta três favores ao mundo, ou pelo menos à maior parte dos países que se inserem na economia mundial: sendo oficina do mundo, ela contribui para que demanda e crescimento ocorram sem grandes pressões inflacionárias; ela também “acolheu” boa parte da poluição industrial que de outra forma teria permanecido nos países criadores das marcas e tecnologias por ela processadas; finalmente, ela “obriga” todos os demais países a se reposicionarem na escala de upgrade tecnológico, uma vez que sua máquina industrial avança celeremente sobre o know how existente. Mais um pouco, ela também será, como já é, inovadora tecnológica e criadora de marcas próprias, e os “problemas” para os demais países vão se intensificar.
Para o Brasil, no entanto, se não fosse a China, seriam outros países a cumprir o seu papel; ela tampouco vai escapar das leis econômicas básicas (valorização de sua mão-de-obra e de sua moeda), e os desafios permanecem os mesmos, porque eles estão no Brasil, e são de nossa inteira responsabilidade. Ou seja, a China não representa nenhum problema diplomático, ou político, ou estratégico, para o Brasil, porque nossos problemas são “made in Brazil”. Os companheiros criaram um problema adicional ao vincular nossa agenda diplomática aos interesses da China (no G20 comercial, no Brics, nas instâncias bilaterais, nos foros de meio ambiente, etc.), sem qualquer contrapartida.

Se estratégia houve, no caso da diplomacia companheira em relação à China, ela foi inteiramente equivocada, desde o início, e até hoje. A “parceria estratégica”, como dito, foi estabelecida unilateralmente, um apoio completo que só pode ter contentado os mais contidos diplomatas chineses. Depois das promessas da primeira viagem, a inclusão da China no G20 comercial, em Cancún, foi outro erro simplório e custoso, que aliás retira qualquer coerência da diplomacia comercial do Brasil, ao colocar em categoria à parte os “subvencionistas autorizados” (com a Índia e vários outros), quando o país buscava justamente coibir, ou eliminar todas as formas de subsídios internos e de subvenções às exportações afetando o comércio agrícola (isso quando se espera que a demanda venha a aumentar substancialmente a partir dos mesmos países).
A busca frenética por uma “nova geografia comercial” – equivocada conceitualmente e na prática – levou a um perfil do comércio bilateral totalmente desequilibrado, e não adiante reclamar com os dirigentes chineses, pois quem está exportando são os seu capitalistas industriais, não os mandarins do governo. A suprema ingenuidade dos companheiros se manifestou diversas vezes, quando eles propunham comércio em moedas locais, o que levaria o nosso saldo superavitário no comércio bilateral a ser liquidado na compra de produtos chineses. Não bastasse o Bric, que foi outro equívoco deliberado, fruto da obsessão megalomaníaca do guia genial e seu chanceler, o Brasil teve de engolir o Brics, pois a África do Sul só foi incluída para contemplar os muitos interesses chineses na África subsaariana. Nem no plano bilateral, o Brasil atendeu seus interesses próprios, pois são os chineses que determinam a agenda, não os brasileiros.
O Brasil tampouco recebeu os investimentos nos montantes e nos setores esperados, inclusive porque não consegue atender às demandas chinesas por um padrão africano de regulação laboral, nos projetos que poderiam ser financiados, inclusive porque se exige que, do cozinheiro ao engenheiro-chefe, toda a mão-de-obra seja inteiramente chinesa. Por outro lado, o esquizofrênico nacionalismo econômico dos nossos legisladores se opôs a que os chineses adquirissem terras ou minas em volumes significativos, sob o pretexto de que não se poderia perder o controle sobre esses preciosos bens primários, que seriam “100% exportados para a China”, numa nova demonstração de como podem ser ridículos certos argumentos nacionais.
Tudo o que se fez, em doze anos de ilusões e desilusões, foi acumular declarações, trocar visitas, constituir uma grande comissão, se fazer fotografar nos encontros bilaterais e plurilaterais, e deixar que os chineses continuem impondo a sua agenda. O fato de a China ser um grande ator internacional supre qualquer carência diplomática.

Não há muito o que se possa a fazer com a China, ou mesmo sem a China: ela continuará comprando o que bem lhe aprouver, dos fornecedores mais fiáveis e mais compreensivos, e continuará vendendo tudo o que os seus capitalistas produzirem, ao passo que os mandarins continuarão a negociar declarações e mais declarações, em especial aquelas que os comprometam menos. Mas assim acontece com todos.
O Brasil já é grande o suficiente para marchar com suas próprias pernas no cenário internacional, e não precisa ter a companhia da China para defender seus interesses. Se ele pretender continuar num papel secundário e acessório, pode deixar tudo como está. O Banco dos Brics – que não é um banco do Brics –, por exemplo, vai atender projetos nacionais, mas provavelmente as empresas chinesas ganharão qualquer concorrência. O Acordo de Reservas Continentes é ridículo paras as necessidades brasileiras, e só serve para congelar reservas (aliás em excesso). No plano comercial e no dos foros sobre meio ambiente, o Brasil pode começar a defender seus interesses, não os dos chineses.
Todos gostam de vender para a China, que é de fato um grande mercado. Em todas as cidades chinesas, por exemplo, é possível encontrar vinhos chilenos, e biscoitos da Alemanha. Pode-se fazer o mesmo com acordos de livre comércio, ou então sendo competitivo. O Brasil precisa escolher o que quer ser quando crescer...

Hartford, 12 de agosto de 2014