Tuesday, February 24, 2009

China & India: Catching Up With the West?China & India: Catching Up With the West?

India and China are the world's fastest growing economies. The multinationals of the developing world are challenging the dominance of Western firms.

China's oil companies and mining firms are spreading throughout the developing world, while India's hi-tech firms are more than a match for many in the developed world. The world's tallest buildings, largest airports, fastest trains, and biggest dams are now all to be found in the developing world.

Despite the rapid growth of the emerging economies, however, all reasonable projections point to a continued gap for decades to come between the West and the rest. China and India may soon become the world’s largest economies, but it is not certain they will ever be the richest. Does this matter?

'Good enough' technology such as Tata's Nano, only a tenth the price of a Mercedes Smart Car, may allow people to enjoy some of the benefits of development without having to catch up in dollar terms. Similarly, the rapid adoption of mobile telephony seems to have bypassed the need for landlines.

But without roads, an electricity grid and the provision of water and sewage systems to the majority of the population, how developed can a country really become?

Can the emerging economies jump a stage in development to become fully modern, or is their growth limited to dynamic pockets that lack the economic might to transform whole countries?

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Dr. Nicholas C. Hope: Economic Trends In 2009

Nicholas Hope uses his twenty-three years at the World Bank to translate economic data in today's trends that will create tomorrow's reality.

Will China and India be the economic engines that revive world trade? Will economic reforms from Washington cure Wall Street's failures, or corporate America's misfortunes?

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Revalorizing Gendered Self-Worth in China (Berkeley)

Elvera Kwang Siam Lim Memorial Lecture in Chinese Studies

"Revalorizing Gendered Self-Worth in China's New Age of Private Property."

Professor Li Zhang, UC Davis

November 11, 2008

This lecture explores how the privatization of home ownership and a rising material culture of consumerism reconfigure the intimate realm of self-worth, love, and marriage in urban China. Through several ethnographic cases, my research shows how owning a private house has gradually become the decisive factor in considering marriage and a focal point of contention in dissolving that relationship. In this context, I suggest that self-worth has become more and more individualized and materialized through the idiom of property possession. After thirty years of economic reform, the socially embedded nature of the self that was once at the heart of a moral economy is being eclipsed by an individual-centered, materialistic determinism nurtured by a market economy. This social reconfiguration however is a gendered process. While the meanings of masculinities have shifted toward ones ability to make money, possess desirable material goods, or gain political power, the construction of self-worth among women tends to focus on the body and physical appearance, which serve as the material foundation for constructing femininities.

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Explore the City of Macau (WSJ)

A Portugese colony until late 1999, China's gambling mecca of Macau remains as vibrant as ever. WSJ's Deborah Kan reports.

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