Essential Pittsburgh
2:55 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

In Line Behind A Billion People: What Scarcity in China Means For Pittsburgh

Where can Pittsburgh fit in when it comes to the world's fastest growing economy?
Credit Lim CK / Flickr

China has one of the world's fastest growing economies. But, how do changes in China affect people in Pittsburgh?

PNC Vice President and Senior International Economist Bill Adams is co-author of the new book, In Line Behind A Billion People: How Scarcity Will Define China’s Ascent in the Next Decade.

Looking at the state of its current economy, and projections for the future, Adams is concerned about what happens if China runs out of the things it needs to keep growing.

"Building that economy has been very resource intensive. It's used a lot of energy, a lot of basic materials like steel and cement, and a lot of the commodity inputs. The iron ore and other things used to create this industrial economy are imported. Because China's grown so rapidly and used so much of them, there's not enough to support the country."

Adams also writes about the importance of building a metaphorical bridge between Pittsburgh and China, which can lead to job creation and be mutually beneficial.

"If you look back on what's happened in the Chinese economy since when the U.S. and China normalized relations in the 1980s, it's mostly been a story of trade and investment in industry and manufacturing. I think over the next 10 years it's going to be much more in the way of activity, of opportunities for U.S. businesses in the service sector and especially in healthcare and education."

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