May 20th, 2010
01:47 AM GMT
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I love visiting the U.S., but while traveling there I sometimes get a little concerned about its future.  I find myself managing down my expectations - preparing for long lines at the airport, overpriced fares for flights and train rides, and spotty mobile phone service.  Meanwhile, travel in China gets more efficient and affordable by the day. And I can talk on my cell on the subway uninterrupted.

On a recent subway ride in Hong Kong I kept my phone in my pocket as my traveling companion was U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.  Secretary Locke is in China for several days with a delegation of American executives from the clean energy sector.  He's here to promote U.S. technologies, hoping the Chinese will adopt American wind turbines and solar panels.

China is throwing a mountain of money into sectors like green energy in the belief that it is laying the groundwork for superpower status.  Beijing has already overtaken the U.S. in renewable energy investments.  It's earmarked billions on new airports, rail lines and highways – an ambitious investment in infrastructure that’s an order of magnitude more than anything being committed to rebuild the U.S. Sure, China is starting from a lower base, but it's moving ahead faster than a speeding bullet train to become a more efficient, competitive rival to America.

In a decade, which country will be the better bet - the U.S. or China?



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