Good evening. Eric Schmidt, the billionaire former CEO of Google, is on a mission to help America in its tech competition with China. But is that a good thing? Our cover story this week explores Schmidt’s influence on U.S. China policy. Elsewhere, we have infographics on what it’s like to be unemployed in China; an interview with Graham Allison on the U.S., China and the ‘greatest collision of all time’; an op-ed about the warning signs from Chinese labor market distress; and an op-ed about how to think of war and peace after China’s great transformation. If you’re not already a paid subscriber to The Wire, please sign up here.
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As the U.S. government doubles down on its tech competition with China, it needs people like Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, to help inform policy. But what happens when someone like Schmidt, a private individual armed with billions of dollars and extensive government contacts, is the main force driving policy? Katrina Northrop reports.
That’s a question that a near-record high number of people faced last month, amid the Covid-induced lockdowns across parts of China. This week, our infographics by Eliot Chen look at one aspect of China’s social security system — unemployment insurance: who it covers, how it compares to the rest of the world, and what it means for China’s economic prosperity.
Graham Allison is a longtime Harvard University professor where he studies national security with special interests in nuclear proliferation, China and Russia. He is the author of the 2017 book Destined For War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? and co-author of the series, The Great Rivalry: China vs. the U.S. in the 21st Century. In this week’s Q&A with Garrett O’Brien, he talks about the state of the Thucydides’s trap for the U.S. and China; why things will get worse before they get better; and the unfortunate constraints in American policymaking.
Illustration by Lauren Crow
The first thing they teach you in China-watcher school, says Stephen S. Roach, is that social stability is everything. And against a backdrop of deteriorating global growth prospects amid worrisome inflation and interest rate risks, Chinese policymakers have sounded the alarm more vocally than at any point in the past 25 years. But, as Roach argues in this week’s op-ed, social stability imperatives aren’t what they used to be in China.
In recent years, China’s “great transformation” into the world’s largest economy (based on purchasing power parity) has become enmeshed in a deepening confrontation with the U.S. and the wider West. But this dynamic, argues Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng in this week’s op-ed, reflects an outdated Cold War mindset on both sides that is utterly unsuited to today’s global challenges.
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