There is no need to reevaluate world economic might and clout. China still manufactures the lion’s share of the more inexpensive goods. And growth rates are still good for that country. By my title for the article I mean that small “c” china is broke. As often happens with a good so fragile. For centuries the west has been able to abuse the capital “C” China because of this almost identical name.
It was probably an accident that china became known as such. Undoubtedly the nation of China was the only place that the west could get such fine eating ware. So the eating ware became known as just china.
But centuries ago, a journey of thousands of miles added much cost to any good. So Europe worked at it and could eventually manufacture china without the need for extreme shipping. The name stuck, I think for propaganda reasons.
English speakers could say “China is weak,” “China is fragile,” and “China is easy to smash”. Eventually China almost lived up to this billing as the west ascended to higher heights than that isolated Asian power.
But china was also praised as a commodity. There was such a thing as fine china, which most households tried to have as well as the ordinary china.
The nation of China fought against class differences in the communist revolution. The elevation of fine China over the rest of China was halted at long last in the 20th century.
Economic revolution in the late 20th century all the way to our time has led to China manufacturing many inexpensive goods – including china. So once again, china is labeled more honestly and has less of a propaganda tone.
Indeed the ball is now in powerhouse China’s court. Perhaps they can make china impervious to breakage. Perhaps this will take a different strategy like using smooth metal. If many advances happen, perhaps diamond or other very strong materials could be used for eating ware.
Then it remains to be seen if and when the Chinese label some innocuous product “North America”, “Europe” or “Oceania”. Perhaps they’ll tack one of these names onto old style china. Perhaps it will be something else weak and disposable. After centuries of lagging, China is back on almost equal footing, including in the propaganda wars.