CHINA - AN
May 20, 2007
China story is one of the most amazing tales of our time. From the
incredible turmoil of civil war and war with Japan arose a Marxist State
that bemused boomers like myself as we pondered the “Great Leap Forward”
and the famine that followed, the happy smiles of contented workers on
model farms and iconic images of millions of Chinese waiving the “little
red book” on the television.
Real GDP per
capita grew 17% in the Sixties, 70% in the Seventies, 63% in the turbulent
Eighties and 175% in the Nineties. While this development has been
concentrated in the coastal and southern provinces, efforts have been made
in recent years to expand the prosperity to the inner provinces and the
industrial North East.
Since the start
of the “China story” we often hear how it will all end badly in civil
disorder or economic collapse, whereas,
Jim Rogers, the commodity guru has argued that the next big correction
in China will be a massive buying opportunity, for both commodities and
what’s the real deal on China?
Perhaps it might be
useful to consult an historian and I found a strong opinion was held by a
great one, a man who was awarded the
for literature and the highest award granted by the United States
government to civilians, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (President
Ford in 1977).
James Durant (November 5, 1885–November 7, 1981) was an American
philosopher, historian, and writer. He is best known for his authorship
(and co-authorship with his wife Ariel Durant in the later volumes) of
“The Story of Civilization”.
Will Durant received his
doctorate in 1917 and worked as an instructor at Columbia University.
The Story of Philosophy
was published in 1926 by Simon & Schuster and became a bestseller, giving
the Durant’s the means to travel the world several times and allowing Will
Durant to spend four decades writing the eleven volume opus “The Story of
This is what Durant wrote
sometime in the 1920’s as he concluded his history of China and reflected
on its future. (the emphasis is mine).
This nation, after
three thousand years of grandeur and decay, of repeated deaths and
resurrections exhibits today all the physical and mental vitality that we
find in its most creative periods.
There are no people in
the world more vigorous or more intelligent. No other people so adaptable
to circumstance, so resistant to disease, so resilient after disaster and
suffering, so trained by history to calm endurance and patient recovery.
Imagination cannot describe the possibilities of a civilization
mingling the physical, labor and mental resources of such a people with
the technological equipment of modern industry. Very probably such
wealth will be produced in China as even American has never known and once
again, as so often in the past,
China will lead the world in luxury and the art of life.
No victory of arms
or tyranny of alien finance can long suppress a nation so rich in
resources and vitality……
Within a century China will have absorbed and civilised
its conquerors and will have learnt all the techniques of … industry..
communications will give her unity, economy and thrift will give her funds
and a strong government will give her order and peace.
Every chaos is a transition. In the end disorder cures and balances itself
with dictatorship. Old obstacles are roughly cleared away and fresh growth
is freed. Revolution, like death and style, is the removal of rubbish, the
surgery of the superfluous; it comes only when there are many things ready
to die. China has died many times before and many times she has been
History of Civilisation: Our Oriental Heritage Volume One Will Durant
conclude, therefore, that only a fool would bet against China at this
point and we can therefore surmise that Rogers is correct, driven by huge
structural change in the global economy – in this case the strong growth
and industrialisation of China, the current boom is part of a supercycle
that will last for years to come.
unconditionally recommend Will Durant’s work to readers and await the next
major China correction to establish a position.