A Stanford economist challenges claims about China’s unstoppable ascendance, arguing that the nation’s past failure to invest in its rural population may lead to economic stagnation
China’s future seems certain. Marveling at its stratospheric growth, observers have christened it “the inevitable superpower.” But as Stanford economist Scott Rozelle and writer Natalie Johnson reveal, China faces a massive crisis invisible to outside observers, and to the Chinese themselves.
China’s future will be decided in the countryside, where over two-thirds of Chinese children are growing up. It is not a pretty picture. For decades, rural Chinese received poor nutrition and education. Now, as wages rise, manufacturing flees, and automation progresses, many of those left behind are ill-equipped for jobs in a new knowledge economy. As China’s Invisible Crisis shows, hundreds of millions of people could soon be without work, with grave potential costs in China and around the world.