LORD COPPER: Is China the new Japan?

May 02, 2012 | 09:00 PM |

I am getting more concerned about the well-publicised conviction that China is the answer to all the world’s economic woes. We are to believe that its industrialisation is poised to drive the global economy out of its downturn and be the engine for the future (not least, apparently, metal brokers). I just wonder. I can recall a generation ago that the same role was predicted for Japan: economic leadership created by the strength of manufacturing ingenuity. What happened? Well, “Made in Japan” undoubtedly became the symbol of the highest quality in manufacturing, particularly of high-tech products, but ultimately the Japanese economy wallowed in a more-than-decade-long slump of mediocrity. Lots of professional economists, with more claim to academic excellence than I, have attempted to explain what happened. But frankly, to anyone who remembers the heady heights of the period when, it was said, one block in Tokyo city....

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