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The Codependency of America and China

Stephen Roach

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Read a Q & A with Stephen Roach on the Yale Press Log.

Stephen Roach discusses the key issues at stake in the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) on the Yale Press Log.

An original and insightful analysis of the U.S.–China economic relationship 

"Lucid and accessible. . . . One of the most important books on the relationship between the United States and China to be published in at least a decade."—Huffington Post

The Chinese and U.S. economies have been locked in an uncomfortable embrace since the late 1970s. Although the relationship initially arose out of mutual benefits, in recent years it has taken on the trappings of an unstable codependence, with the two largest economies in the world losing their sense of self, increasing the risk of their turning on one another in a destructive fashion.  
In Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China Stephen Roach, senior fellow at Yale University and former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia, lays bare the pitfalls of the current China-U.S. economic relationship. He highlights the conflicts at the center of current tensions, including disputes over trade policies and intellectual property rights, sharp contrasts in leadership styles, the role of the Internet, the recent dispute over cyberhacking, and more.
A firsthand witness to the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s, Roach likely knows more about the U.S.-China economic relationship than any other Westerner. Here he discusses: 
  • Why America saving too little and China saving too much creates mounting problems for both
  • How China is planning to re-boot its economic growth model by moving from an external export-led model to one of internal consumerism with a new focus on service industries
  • How America, shows a disturbing lack of strategy, preferring a short-term reactive approach over a more coherent Chinese-style planning framework
  • The way out: what America could do to turn its own economic fate around and position itself for a healthy economic and political relationship with China

 In the wake of the 2008 crisis, both unbalanced economies face urgent and mutually beneficial rebalancings. Unbalanced concludes with a recipe for resolving the escalating tensions of codependence. Roach argues that the Next China offers much for the Next America—and vice versa.

Stephen Roach is senior fellow, Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and School of Management, Yale University, and the former chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia. He lives in New Canaan, CT.

“Lucid and accessible, immensely informative and insightful. . . . One of the most important books on the relationship between the United States and China to be published in at least a decade.”—Huffington Post

“An important and fascinating book about the structural changes and evolving codependency of the world’s two largest and most dynamic economies. Unbalanced is an education in growth, stability, and postwar globalization, full of deep insights and colorful personalities on both sides, and wonderfully well written. Very few people have the breadth of knowledge and experience to write such a book.”—A. Michael Spence, Nobel laureate in economics

“How the United States and China will transit from precarious codependency to stable coexistence is one of the most crucial questions for the twenty-first century. Stephen Roach, with his profound grasp of the economic and political systems in the United States and China, describes the challenges, opportunities, and necessary adjustments for both countries. This is a timely must read book for anyone concerned about the future of the world.”—Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist, the World Bank

Unbalanced is a compelling analysis of China’s transition to a new model of economic growth and the challenges this transition will create for the United States.”—Nicholas Lardy, Anthony M. Solomon Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

“Stephen Roach provides an insightful and critical account of the economic relationship between China and America. His policy warning is clear: the future of U.S. China relations depends on significant changes in the growth strategies of both countries.”—Laura D. Tyson, University of California, Berkeley

“[An] eye opening look at a condition that wanders from the boardroom to the psychiatrist’s couch: financial codependency, which enables the worst qualities of two powerful economies. . . .Full of implication, well written and of much interest.”—Kirkus Reviews

"Stephen Roach combines scholarly expertise and long practical experience in this thought-provoking critique of economic policy. His insights and arguments will influence the debate on both sides of the Pacific."—Henry A. Kissinger

"An evenhanded, thorough response to the anti-China potshots from Democrats and Republicans alike. . . . The root problem, Roach says repeatedly, is America’s inability to save enough at home to finance its growth—a situation that is hardly China’s fault. And a day of reckoning is coming [for the United States and China]. . . . ‘The endgame provides enormous opportunity for each,' he writes. ‘The challenge is for both to see it.’"—Fred Andrews, New York Times

‘“I learned much from Stephen Roach’s book Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China. . . . His book is a lucid and accessible primer on each country’s strengths, weaknesses, and prospects, highly recommendable to specialists and lay people alike.”—Ian Johnson, The New York Review of Books

“[T]he most interesting part of the book is a barely disguised morality play. Roach sees Chinese leaders as clever, purposeful and far-thinking. He sees Americans as undisciplined and led by people who undervalue investment and economic planning. . . . His fervour is persuasive.”—Edward Hadas, Reuters Breakingviews

“[A] thorough overview of the economics behind the 21st century’s defining relationship. Roach approaches it with academic rigour and a knack for explaining complex ideas in simple terms.”—David Bartram, South China Morning Post

“Lucid insights into the rise of China. Roach’s assessment of America’s trade relationship with China is well worth the read.”—Matthew Partridge, Money World (UK)

“In a world flooded with books on the China ‘threat,’ Roach’s analysis is refreshingly factual, informative, and insightful.”—Shada Islam, Europe’s World

“[Roach] is emphatic that China-bashing by U.S. politicians will not help, and brings out a wealth of statistics to support his case.”—John Derbyshire, The American Spectator

“Getting those points across to the two countries will take a major effort. So far there are no answers. Reading Roach’s book would be a good place to at least lean how to pose the questions.”—John Berthelsen, Asia Sentinel
ISBN: 9780300212655
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
344 pages, 6-1/8 x 9-1/4
Accidental Conflict

America, China, and the Clash of False Narratives

Stephen Roach

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