Tuesday, April 5, 2011

As China goes, so goes the world

By Judit Trunkos

Dr. Karl Gerth’s Presentation on China’s Consumerism

Dr. Karl Gerth will visit Columbia on April 7th to talk about his new book “As China Goes, So Goes the World” at the Learning Center for Sustainable Futures at USC. The former USC history professor will speak about his new study on China’s newly developed consumerism and its effects on the world concluded by a book signing.

Dr. Gerth is currently a lecturer in Modern Chinese History at Oxford University and Tutorial Fellow of Merton College. His main research interest is China’s impact on the world since the nineteenth century. Prior to teaching at Oxford, Dr.  Gerth was Associate Professor at University of South Carolina’s History Department and he was the director of the Asian Center in the Walker Institute of International and Area Studies.

In his new book Dr. Gerth points out China’s deep consumer impact on the rest of the world. While Americans and Europeans have become defensive about China’s competition for manufacturing jobs and energy resources, they are missing the real threat, which is according to Dr. Gerth; China’s rapid development of an American-style consumer culture, which is revolutionizing the lives of hundreds of millions of Chinese and has the potential to reshape the world.

Clear changes have been already occurring in China for the past decades. China has become the world’s largest consumer of automobiles and beer, just to mention a few, and begun to adopt American-style mass consumption and wasting habits. Even rural Chinese, long the laggards of consumerism, have been buying refrigerators, televisions, mobile phones, and larger houses in high numbers. Dr. Gerth will discuss these dramatic changes in consumer habits in China and how they impact the world.

To hear Dr. Gerth’s presentation about his study and book, visit to the Learning Center for Sustainable Futures at USC on April 7th at 7:00 p.m. Copies of “As China Goes, So Goes the World” will be available for purchasing at the site.


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