India and China: An Advanced Technology Race and How the US Should Respond, by Ernest Preeg

I’m shocked that I am the first person to post a review for this book, which has a most alarming message. Americans really ought to read this book, and try to do something about the problems it uncovers.

Ambassador Preeg makes a convincing case that China will soon become an economic, technological, and military superpower, ending the brief period since 1991 when the US enjoyed that status alone. (India is also coming up strong, but it will be many years until it achieves superpower status.) Moreover, many of the stunning gains made by China, such as world market share of high technology products, come at the expense of the US, so that they represent a double whammy. He identifies the distorted exchange rate between the US dollar and the Chinese yuan, artificially supported by purchases of up to a half trillion in dollars per year by the PRC central bank, as being the single most important cause of much of the gains of China.

The author also lays out a long list of international and domestic actions that the US could take to better compete with China, whose merchantilistic trade policies are in no way consistent with free trade. The Obama Administration seems to be somewhat more likely to take action than the Bush Administration was, but there is a long way to go, and the US public seems to be oblivious to the danger it faces. Also important vested interests in the US have a stake in China’s continued advance at our expense. Preeg believes our actions will be aided by China being soon be forced to revalue its currency, and that they will also soon introduce the promised (one party) “democracy.” I hope so, but I’m more skeptical. I do have one more remedy to add: Americans might decide that cheap Chinese products are a danger to their economic and military security, as well as to their health.

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