Chapter 8: US–China economic relations
Often China’s global economic impact is approached with apprehension, as a question of ‘us’ (Europe and the United States, or China) and ‘them’ (China, or the United States and its allies), or as the ‘end of the beginning of the Chinese century’. In this chapter, I shift to an aspect that has been less debated, namely the governance of US–China economic relations in historical and contemporary terms. As the largest global trader, export-oriented manufacturer and foreign exchange reserves holder, China should be encouraged to do more for its Asian neighbors, the international economy and public goods. This is not going to thrust the United States’ nose out of joint in the global system. The United States would do no worse than share power and responsibility not only with China but also other countries around the world. In the economic sphere, China and the United States stand face to face like ambidextrous jugglers, articulating their differences while keeping business going. It is these very dynamic paradoxes that provide the kind of purpose and meaning to both countries’ continued search for order in their uneasy relationship. The United States and China, therefore, should and can see each other in a more relaxed way.
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