What the U.S. Can Learn From China

What the U.S. Can Learn From China

January 11, 2012

While America is still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, a high unemployment rate, and a surge in government debt, China’s economy is the second largest in the world and many predict will surpass the U.S. by 2020. President Obama called China’s rise “a Sputnik moment”—will America seize this moment or continue to treat China as its scapegoat?

Mainstream media and the U.S. government regularly target China as a threat. Rather than viewing China’s power, influence, and contributions to the global economy in a negative light, Ann Lee asks: What can America learn from its competition? Why did China suffer so little from the global economic meltdown? What accounts for China’s extraordinary growth, despite one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world? How does the Chinese political system avoid partisan rancor but achieve genuine public accountability? From education to governance to foreign aid, Lee details the policies and practices that have made China a global power and then isolates the ways the U.S. can use China’s enduring principles to foster much-needed change at home.

This is no whitewash. Lee is fully aware of China’s shortcomings, particularly in the area of human rights, She has relatives who suffered during the Cultural Revolution. But by overemphasizing our differences with China, the U.S. stands to miss a vital opportunity. Filled with sharp insights and thorough research, What the U.S. Can Learn from China is Lee’s rallying cry for a new approach at a time when learning from one another is the key to surviving and thriving.

• Lays out what America can gain by studying China’s approach to politics, economics, finance, education, foreign policy and more

•Author Ann Lee, a self-proclaimed “tiger mother for the U.S. economy,” has experience on both sides of the Pacific—she has taught in China and worked on Wall Street

• Counters the trend of demonizing China by offering a rare nuanced view of how Chinese society actually works

Ann Lee shows how lessons from China can bring Americans full circle, back to the values and aspirations that made the United States a great country in the first place. Her book adds much needed nuance to the debates over China’s role in the global economy and as a rising world power. 

—Michele Wucker, President, World Policy Institute