Fall 2015 Scholarship Award Winner – Carson Mulligan
Details about the scholarship and how to apply can be found at the Chuan Ai Lu Engstrom Memorial Scholarship page.
Each year PCB Solutions sells thousands of rigid & rigid-flex circuit boards, wire harnesses, cable assemblies and other critical components for electronics manufacturing and while custom fabricated parts and components are our specialties, giving back is our duty. That is why it is our pleasure to announce the Fall 2015 Scholarship Award Winner.
Our first scholarship award comes later in the year than expected, however, we are excited to award $1000 to a very deserving Carson Mulligan. Carson’s entry was one of the first entries we received dating back to May 2015, just shortly after the scholarship program was introduced. Not only was Carson on the ball getting us an early application, his essay, video and personal summary stood out as the winner in a field of over 50 very well written submissions. His essay was well researched, sited & noted showing a great amount of effort.
Congratulations to Carson Mulligan of Oklahoma State University for a job well done. It is our absolute honor to post his essay here and to send one thousand dollars to OSU on his behalf. Congratulations!
HOW YOU ENVISON THE GLOBAL ECONOMY IN THE FUTURE
As citizens of the world, innovators of the millennial generation, and aspiring professionals, the acquisition of a unique, fresh, and informed perspective of the global economy is vital to our success. Free trade in an increasingly unified global economy can be the saving grace for an international businessman or woman; however, one must understand the particular geopolitical shifts that are shaping the global economy of the future. Traditional regional economic roles of hegemony are shifting in pivotal areas. China is seeking to expand trade routes eastward. Russia is undergoing early signs of fragmentation. The Eurozone is continuing to accrue large amounts of debt. The United States is experiencing a historically large trade deficit due to the increasing value of the dollar. All the while the world price of oil is plummeting. As time moves on I predict that the global economy will become increasingly Sino-centered; as a result, and as an international businessman with the required influence, I would seek out investment opportunities in China, attempt to take advantage of incipient east-west trade routes, and target the new Chinese consumers on the world market.
In the news today we hear about the fall in world oil prices, Greece defaulting on it’s loans, and Russia experiencing massive amounts of Capital Flight. Events such as these coupled with research on Chinese economic power paint a picture for a different kind of global economy in the future; one that is not balanced between Russia, the European Union, the United States, and China; but rather a global economy run by two economic hegemons, China and the United States.
Chinese global economic hegemony
China’s GDP has grown at double-digit rates for over three decades, save the recent, yet still exorbitant annual rate of 7% for 2014. This rapid amount of growth on such a grand scale is creating a thirst for natural resources, and as a result, an increasingly large investment in infrastructure in Central Asia. In 2012 the Jianxi Copper Corporation (JCCL) invested over $4 billion in copper mines in northeastern Afghanistan. The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) also invested over $400 million in northern Afghanistan on gas reserves. At the Heart of Asia conference on Afghanistan and Central Asia in Beijing in 2014, President Xi Jinping announced his “New Silk Road Initiative”, later deemed the “Belt and Road Initiative”.  This plan lays out an economic initiative with ostentatious blueprints for roads, rails, buildings, and headquarters to be built from Aleppo to Karachi and From Madrid to Urumqi, costing about $40 billion.
With respect to the future of the global economy, I see this as a way to combat the U.S. Navy’s ability to project power upon the productive western coast of China. In other words, in the event that the Chinese were unable to export their goods by sea, they could now transport them by land; and transport them to the market China and the United States are currently fighting over—Europe. This size and scale of regional economic dominance can be magnified to a global scale. The late British Geographer in his masterpiece, “The Geographical Pivot of History” explains that the ‘Heartland’ consists of Central Asia and the caucuses, and “he who controls the heartland, controls the world island.” If China’s plans are carried out in full, their regional hegemony will send ripples throughout the global economy and likely end up in global primacy.
Mr. Xi’s ambitious economic campaign would also lay the groundwork for a connection between eastern and western markets, and everything in between. Then, China would have economic influence in pivotal states that would otherwise align with Russia, such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, to name a few. The Kazakhstan-China pipeline, initially barred by Russian directives, was eventually built and now supplies China with natural gas all the way from Ankara. Examples such as these illustrate the far-reaching power Beijing is beginning to enjoy. However, there is something in it for the international businessman like myself.
As China grows, their people will become more privileged, their middle class will grow, and dollar signs will appear in the eyes of American investors as a new generation of consumers are born. YUM brands, the owners of Kentucky Fried Chicken, have grossed more money in China than all other leading food companies in China in 2013 and are a perfect example of the exponential success international investors can achieve by finding something that 1.2 billion people want to buy. As these newly privileged members of the Chinese middle class lead their lives, they will begin to buy more cars, buy bigger houses, start more businesses, and in turn, increase the amount of natural resources they need to live. As an international businessman I would first push to legalize the export of natural gas; then urge the Chinese to build facilities on the coast to receive, convert, and sell American Natural Gas being brought by ship. I would argue that it is a much more environmentally safe way of transporting Natural Gas, stable means of import due to the strength of the US economy, and as opposed to transporting the resources by train across all of Eurasia, and, the historically unstable, eastern portion of China, a demonstrably more cost efficient method.
China and The United States
While it seems apparent that China is on the rise, that does not mean that the United States will suffer, nor does it mean the Chinese would attempt to sabotage our economy. In the future I predict that Moscow will become economically irrelevant due to increasing sanctions, while a bi-polar world economy is run from Beijing and Washington, or shall I say from Shanghai and New York City. The Chinese will continue to sell to the American consumer base, and the Americans will continue to provide China with a vast market for exports. However, as living conditions in China begin to improve I predict a movement in the trade relationship to come closer to the middle. American businesses will be more apt to sell goods to Chinese consumers as YUM brands are currently doing. From a business perspective I see this as beneficial to the American investor. As the trade relationship begins to become more even, I could begin selling products to people in China, making products in China and selling them elsewhere, and continuing to import goods from abroad.
The global economy I envision for the future is increasingly controlled by the PRC and I fully intend on taking advantage of the resulting opportunities. Economic players such as Russia and the European Union will begin to work closer with either the United States or the PRC in a bi-polar struggle for economic hegemony. Investment in Mackinder’s ‘Heartland’ will give the Chinese an upper hand; however, as an international businessman, I plan on benefiting from the proliferation of free trade in these respective regions. I foresee the exportation of American energies and plan on effectively targeting the large Chinese market for natural gas. Nevertheless, as time moves on, the economy will become evermore intertwined; and as a result I look forward to becoming successful in the future on a global scale.
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Wright, Brian D. “The Economics of Incentives.” American Economic Association 73, no. 4 (2013): 691-707.
 Michael Clarke, “China’s Internal Security Dilemma and the “Great Western Development”: The Dynamics of Integration, Ethnic Nationalism and Terrorism in Xinjiang,” Asian Studies Review 31, no. 3 (2007).
 Gerard Roland, “The Russian Economy in the Year 2005,” UC Berkely, (2005).
 Mert Bilgin, “Geopolitics of European Natural Gas Demand: Supplies from Russia, Caspian and the Middle East,” Energy Policy 37, no. 11 (2009).
 Brian D. Wright, “The Economics of Incentives,” American Economic Association 73, no. 4 (2013).
 Madjid Tavana, “A Promethee-Gdss for Oil and Gas Pipeline Planning in the Caspian Sea Basin,” Energy Economics 36, no. 3 (2013).
 Kevin Sheives, “China Turns West: Beijing’s Contemporary Strategy Towards Central Asia,” Pacific Affairs 79, no. 2 (2006).
 G. Hall and T. Grant, “Russia, China, and the Energy-Security Politics of the Caspian Sea Region after the Cold War,” Mediterranean Quarterly 20, no. 2 (2009).
 Kan Ji, Jan R. Magnus, and Wendun Wang, “Natural Resources, Institutional Quality, and Economic Growth in China,” Environmental and Resource Economics 57, no. 3 (2013).
 Salahuddin Rabbani, “China-Afghanistan Joint Statement on Deepening Strategic and Cooperative Partnership “, ed. Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Islamic Republic of Afghanistan: 2014).
 Erica Downs, “China Buys into Afghanistan,” SAIS Review 32, no. 2 (2012).
 James R. Holmes and Toshi Yoshihara, “The Influence of Mahan Upon China’s Maritime Strategy,” Comparative Strategy 24, no. 1 (2005).
 H.J. Mackinder, “The Geographical Pivot of History (1904),” The Geographical Journal 170, no. 4 (2004).
 Ariel Cohen, “Caspian Pipeline Construction Efforts Move Forward | Eurasianet.Org,” (2002).
 Alexander Cooley, Great Games Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia, vol. Print (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012).
 Michael Clarke, “China, Xinjiang and the Internationalisation of the Uyghur Issue,” Global Change, Peace & Security 22, no. 2 (2010).
 Stefan Halper, The Beijing Consensus (New York: Basic Books, 2010).