How China and America Became One Economy
and Why the World's Prosperity Depends on It
THE EMERGENCE OF CHINA as an economic superpower is now widely recognized, but as Zachary Karabell reveals, that is only one aspect of the story. Over the past decade, the Chinese and U.S. economies have fused to become one integrated system. How China and the United States manage their relationship will determine whether the coming decades witness increased global prosperity or greater instability.
Karabell traces the twenty-year history that began with the suppression of the protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. The Chinese leadership adopted a policy of aggressive economic reform and courted U.S. companies and expertise. Karabell charts how integral those companies — including Federal Express, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Avon, and Wal-Mart — have been to China's success and how integral China has been to their growth. Though accelerated by the admission of China to the World Trade Organization in 2001, the economies began to fuse without attracting much notice. Preoccupied with the threat of terrorism and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States soon found itself deeply in debt to China while also reaping the rewards of China's growth.
Now both countries find themselves in an unfamiliar and challenging position. After years of seeking closer integration with the United States, China has begun to question the wisdom of that embrace. The United States, buoyed by China's loans, faces a level of dependency that has generated considerable anxiety. The intertwinement has enhanced the global economy but undermined the sovereignty that governments so crave.
Yet, as Karabell argues, the fusion has advanced too far for either to extricate itself without severe harm. The challenge for the United States is to embrace this new world even with some loss of relative power in order to ensure its prosperity in the future; the challenge for China is to recognize that it is now a major player on the world stage with all the risks and responsibilities that entails. We need them and they need us, but the jury is still out on whether either can fully accept that new paradigm.
In a book rich in individual stories, Karabell, informed by his considerable experience, not only provides the first comprehensive account of how these two countries became one economy but also makes a compelling case for why its continuation in the future is a vital element of a stable, prosperous world.
Reviews and Press
Book Review: Superfusion
— USC US-China Institute
Look who's come to dinner
— Asia Times
Chi-America: Is This The New Global Order?
— National Journal
The emergence of China as an economic superpower is now widely recognized, but as Zachary Karabell reveals in his new book Superfusion, that is only one aspect of the story.
— New America Foundation
Mutual interests bind Chinese, U.S. economies.
— Los Angeles Times
Chimerica: A Marriage on the Rocks?
— The New York Times
With the economies of the U.S. and China going ever-deeper into each other's pockets, the rest of the world can only look on nervously and ponder the long-term ramifications...
— Los Angeles Times
Scholar details new world economy merging U.S., China
— St. Petersburg Times
"...the question at the heart of "Superfusion" is a pressing one: What will happen next?"
— The Wall Street Journal
"Karabell (A Visionary Nation) delivers a compelling brief on the unlikely convergence of the U.S. and Chinese economies..."
— Publishers Weekly
"In this provocative new essay, Zachary Karabell lucidly sketches out the tectonic shifts that now compel us to redefine how we relate to China. Karabell's is an urgent call for Americans to shake off their torpor and complacency before it is too late and recognize how China has changed the global equation."
— Orville Schell, Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at the Asia Society
"Zachary Karabell provides a vividly written and timely reminder of the risk of mutually assured economic destruction that binds America and China and the importance of this relationship for the future of the global economy. The financial crisis has made this interdependence only more obvious — and the need to think through its implications more urgent."
— Ian Bremmer, author of The J Curve: A New Way to Understand Why Nations Rise and Fall
"Few countries will have more impact on the world in the coming decades than China. How the United States manages its relationship with China will profoundly affect the shape of this century. In this provocative book, Zachary Karabell suggests ways to manage that future. His argument might be debated, but it is one that should be engaged."
— Joseph S. Nye Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor at Harvard University and author of The Powers to Lead