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World Geography

  • Date Submitted: 05/13/2011 12:05 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 35.6 
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Discuss China in terms of being the “Middle Kingdom,” population growth issues, and industrialization.

China, in Mandarin Chinese is called Zhangguo, which means “Middle Kingdom” when translated into English. (1) The term Zhangguo originated from the Zhou dynasty’s belief that China was the center of civilization. They were unaware of civilization in the west and until well into the 1900’s believed that their empire was the center of the world and surround by barbarians. (2) China’s “middle kingdom” beliefs, as well as their other beliefs that define how people work together have contributed much to their modern attitude towards the global economy. (3)

Most would agree that China achieved industrialization much later than it could have. Eventually all developed nations shift from agriculture to skilled manufacturing facilities, but for much longer than they needed to, Chinese economic policies favored agriculture. Many historians credit the different belief systems in China and Europe with dictating China’s late arrival into industrialization, versus that of Britain and other European countries. The family unit was more important than the individual for the majority of Chinese history, and traditionally you find families working together while farming which could have played a large part in why agriculture remained the focus of China’s economy for as long as it did. (4)

Industrialization of China did occur on a significant scale in the 1950’s during the Great Leap Forward, the plan used from 1958-1961 to transform China from it agriculturally led economy that relied heavily on peasant farmers and variables beyond human control (like the weather), into a modern communist society through the process of industrialization. (5)

One major hurdle that China is still trying to overcome, one that could possibly impact their goal of fully achieving industrialization, is population growth. (6) By the late 2010’s China’s population is expected to reach 1.4...

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