To an increasing degree, bureaucrats in Beijing aren't just guiding their own economy, but the world's as well. In coming days, China's stockpile of foreign currency reserves, the fruits of fast-growing exports, will reach the unprecedented sum of $1 trillion. What's important isn't the level—a nation's foreign reserves are rarely big news—it's what it represents.
China is growing so fast that it could, less than two decades from now, rival the United States as a key driver of the world economy, economists say.
"If our simulations are anywhere close to the mark, the world has a grace period of about five years before it really begins to feel the heat of China's emergence," Stephen Roach, global economist at the investment bank Morgan Stanley in New York, wrote in a report earlier this year. "How the world then copes with China may well be the biggest what-if of all."
Already, China is the focal point in a worldwide debate about the virtues of the headlong pace of globalization. Workers in many nations have lost manufacturing jobs to lower-cost laborers in provinces near Shanghai and Hong Kong.
[Excerpt of an article by Mark Trumbull, The Christian Science Monitor]