Communist China's drive for major power status-an urge to narrow the gap between herself and the two superpowers-has been the central objective of her campaign for economic development. In pursuit of this goal, Chinese planners have concentrated on expanding as rapidly as possible the country's capacity to produce capital goods and military matériel. For this purpose, a mechanism for institutionalizing a high rate of involuntary saving and for channeling it into the desired lines of investment had to be fashioned.
Nixon was not the only one who went to China; Ronald McDonald is there now, too. McDonald's triumphed -- in a cultural zone where many adults think fried beef patties taste bizarre -- by catering to China's pampered only children, the so-called little emperors and empresses. The "Golden Arches" have become part of the landscape of Beijing and Hong Kong. But is McDonald's trampling local culture in the name of a bland, homogeneous world order? Not really. Global capitalism pushes one way, and local consumers push right back. Herewith, a parable of globalization.