At a China Economic Forum Monday night, two University of Wisconsin professors spoke to a group of interested attendees regarding whether or not China should remain an export-oriented economy or shift inward to meet the domestic demands of their country.
Vice President of the forum series Dongchen Xu said the China Economic Forum provides a platform for other students to learn about the Chinese economy and economic developments between China and the rest of the world.
“I continue to be amazed at how little Americans know about China, how much better the Chinese know us than we know them,” said Jeremi Suri, UW professor of history.
Suri said he believes China has no choice but to remain an export-oriented economy.
China is the largest holder of U.S. dollars in the world today, giving them leverage over America but making them dependent on the value of the dollar, which creates a mutual dependency between America and China. According to Suri, there is no evidence that China’s currency — the renminbi or yuan — will replace the dollar, partially due to China’s lack of transparency in their economy.
China will also attempt to be more involved in international security in-stitutions and to establish itself as a legitimate player within them, Suri said.
Both Suri and Edward Friedman, UW professor of political science, debated the difficulty of China’s position and took opposing stances on the issue.
“China’s economy is the most dynamic economy in the world today,” Friedman said.
He added, however, that China’s problem lies in the undervaluation of its currency. Because they have such high trade advantages, if their currency is not more valued, the countries of the world will not accept this unfair advantage, Friedman said.
China must rely more on consumption and less on exports — otherwise, it will be the target of the countries of the world, Friedman said.
In response to the title of the event, “China’s Economy at a Crossroad,” Friedman acknowledged the future of China’s leadership as unforeseeable, though he did say it would continue in a similar way.
What happens to China is a vital issue in today’s world, but due to the volatility of the times, China’s actions cannot be predicted, Friedman said.