Year 13 Business and Economics students study globalisation, particularly the emergence of China as a global economic power. We were very fortunate to welcome Dr Shaowei He, Senior Lecturer at the University of Northampton’s China and Emerging Economies Centre, this week. Dr He gave students an overview of Chinese economic history; China has been a one party state, ruled by the Communists since 1949. If you wanted to marry or change jobs, or even have more than one child, you had to gain permission from the State! Did you know that as recently as the 1960s and 70s there were no free markets in China? Private enterprise was all but non existent, thriving only on the black market. China now has the second largest economy in the world and is predicted to overtake the USA by 2050, although there are some who believe that China has already attained the status of being the largest economy in the work.
Dr He explained how the opening up of China’s borders had given businesses the opportunity to trade, with many Chinese organisations now owning a share in British businesses, such as Weetabix and Thames Water. China has also welcomed many organisations from overseas, with much foreign direct investment taking place. Despite this, however, students were shocked to learn that over 100 million people still live in poverty, earning less than $1 per day.
Our students asked probing and interesting questions regarding, for example, the impact of high, sustained growth on inflation, demonstrating that they are truly thinking like economists. Dr He even took the time to demonstrate his skills in Tai Chi!
Dr He was recently appointed Ambassador for international exchange by China's Hunan Provincial Government and we will be exploring the possibility of creating links with a school in the province with the potential to participate in an exchange programme or visit. Watch this space for further details!