Alberto Forchielli, explosive economist, lists the fears of the United States and the European Union, and the Celestial Empire’s strategies. “They’re numerous, they have money, and they don’t wast time with a Parliament.”
“After years of experience in China and the US, I can confidently confirm that America’s soft power makes you love it, while China doesn’t.”
It’s one of the numerous maxims, blunt phrases, and trenchant concepts that enrich Power is Boring (Bandini & Castoldi), the latest book written by Alberto Forchielli and Michele Mengoli. Italy’s most sensational economist, and managing partner of Mandarin Capital Partners, has a personal calendar that divides the globalize world in two: before and after China’s entry to the World Trade Organization.
Why are you always crying that the world will become Chinese?
“The world is already Chinese,” Forchielli fires back, “because they work harder, study harder, and they are more numerous. Every year seven million Chinese graduate from university. They have the critical mass, a market capacity, to impose their conditions on anyone. They stop intellectuals and companies, cutountries and multinationals, they deprive businesses of patents, and no one reacts.”
Are the EU and US too timid towards China?
“The Chinese market is too appetizing to let it slip away. Large American companies depend on the Chinese market for about one third of their profits. It’s very hard for the US and Europe to enact a policy of containment toward China, because they’ll void billion dollar investments in minutes. They’re holding the world’s large organizations hostage, a large part of American agriculture, and three quarters of developing countries that depend on selling their raw materials: all they have to do is stop buying Zambia’s copper, and the country will collapse.”
More than power, this seems like blackmail…
“The Chinese are awake. They move in large numbers, without a real Parliament, a rigorous constitution, or a central bank independent of the government. On the contrary, their central bank is their financial arm.”
Do you think Xi Jinping is dangerous?
“I believe that China is basically peaceful, but that’s because they understood something fundamental: it’s more expensive to conquer a country by war than to buy it. The US spent
5 trillion dollars on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, suffered 10,000 casualties, and ended up with two wrecked countries full of terrorists. China lent 60 billion dollars to Venezuela, which was in default, but you never hear them protesting for their money. They know that Venezuela is in China’s hands.”
Is money worth more than aircraft carriers?
“It’s the power of the market. China is the most important customer in the world, they have the world’s primosory notes in the bank. No one is crazy enough to fight with his creditor and best client.”
The EU has responded with duties and by blowing negotiations: the TTIP, Brexit, sanctions on Russia…
“They’re insignificant compared to the biggest mistake: China’s acceptance into the WTO in 2001. And Italy has paid the highest price. We had the industry with the lowest added value, we were the world’s Chinese. The real Chinese destroyed our furniture, textile, clothing, and shoe industries as well as a portion of our ceramics and bicycles. Now that they’re produced so much, they don’t know who to sell to cheaply anymore. For this reason, we’re facing a decade of stagnation. We’ll become the Mexico of Europe.”
Alberto Forchielli interviewed by Pino Di Blasio