Does It Matter That China Has Overtaken the US as the World’s Largest Trader?

By: | January 15th, 2014

A New League of Nations

The main principle of the League of Nations, founded in Paris at the end of World War I, was to maintain world peace amongst nations who were hell bent on gaining a foot up in a winner take all competition for economic and political supremacy.

Nearly 100 years later, with the economic growth of Japan, China, India, South Korea and others, a new “League of Nations” based on principles of freedom, opportunity, science and technology is emerging. Along with globalization, processes of integration and cooperation, led by the availability new forms of communication are bringing the world together, benefiting all people.

Peering Into a Dark Past

Historical movements such as eugenics, in which one race believed it was superior to another, or colonialism, in which whole countries or people’s were exploited for the benefit of rulers, have thankfully, in significant ways, been waning.

Of course, these ways of thinking and living sometimes “rear their ugly heads” as we see in cases of ethnic cleansing or religious persecution, among others. But with the empowerment of individuals through access to the Internet, smart phones and education, individuals everywhere are gaining the power and ability to protect themselves while those with the power to help them can learn about “outbreaks” sooner and be in a better position to help.

Opportunity and Education for All

It is now well established that anyone, anywhere on the earth, and from any cultural or religious background can become educated and participate in the world’s most advanced engineering and scientific fields as long as they have grown up with access to basic necessities needed for healthy physical, social and intellectual development.

The Rise of China Trade

Much has been made of the recent rise of China and its growing economic power. China is beginning to flex its military, technological and political muscle. In 2012, China overtook the US as the world’s biggest trading nation and over the next two decades is likely to over take it in terms of GDP.

But why the surprise? While living in Japan I watched many a sumo wrestling match and the largest sumo wrestlers didn’t always win and were seldom the most interesting and inventive wrestlers. Competition amongst countries will always be the same: sometimes the large countries will win just because they are large, but frequently smaller companies will win too.

China’s population is 1.4 billion, India’s 1.2 billion, Europe’s 739 million and the US’s 317 million. Comparing China and the US is like comparing a heavyweight to a middleweight in boxing. One would expect that, based on population alone, it is inevitable that 1.4 billion people can out produce 317 million people.

At issue, then, is not who is going to win in the competition among countries, but will the world’s countries be able to cooperate enough to put the world on a sustainable path so that it’s worth living in in the 22nd century?

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David Russell Schilling

David enjoys research and writing about cutting edge technologies that hold the promise of improving conditions for all life on planet earth.

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