Book: Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China

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Unbalanced: The Codependency of America and China

Stephen Roach, senior research fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs and senior lecturer at the Yale School of Management

(Yale University Press)

According to Stephen Roach, 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, he contends, 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,” Roach illustrates 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, and the recent dispute over “cyberhacking.”


Among the issues Roach explores are: 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; and how America shows a lack of strategy, preferring a short-term reactive approach over a more coherent Chinese-style planning framework.

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