Eurozone leaders have brought their begging bowl to China, looking for help in boosting their bailout fund. So what does this say about the shift in the global balance of power?
In October 1911, China rose up in revolution. Four months later the last emperor had fallen and European moneymen were flocking to Beijing, eager to finance the bankrupt new republic.
In October 2011, another European moneyman headed for Beijing. But Klaus Regling, head of the European Financial Stability Facility, did not go there to lend to China. He was there to borrow, asking China to save Europe from economic disaster.
In just one century, China has gone from financial basketcase to the world’s banker, and Europe has made the same trip in the other direction. It is one of the biggest turnarounds in history. How did it happen? And, more to the point, what does it mean?
The turnaround is part of a much longer story.