It posts a comparison of economic growth between the two countries and points out that at the current rate of economic growth, China will overtake the United States in 2019. They then suggest you plug-in your estimates of growth for the Chinese and Americans and arrive at your own figure.
Okay, here’s my prediction of when the Chinese are going to overtake the United States.
It’s all nonsense. Chinese corruption is endemic. Their real estate market crashed two years ago. They had to do an economic stimulus of 400 billion dollars two and a half years ago. They have foreign policy disputes with almost every bordering country and a large number of those that are not. They are building a fleet to challenge the American Seventh fleet in the South China Sea. The difference in economic development between the coastal and interior provinces borders on the incredible. There are rumors (probably true) of gathering Muslim unrest in the far West. I could go on.
It seems likely to me that the estimates of economic growth put out by the Chinese government bear a strange similarity to East Germany’s constant high economic growth before the country disintegrated in 1989.
And watching the Chinese lurch from one foreign police misstep after another hardly gives one any confidence in the nation’s future. If you’re willing to force the Philippines to take your lead painted toy imports by threatening economic retaliation, you have only the vaguest concept of a) right and wrong and b) how you appear to the rest of the world. If one of your ship captains decides to deliberately ram a Japanese naval vessel and you get him out of it by threats, that might not have long term positive results. If a dissident gets a Nobel Peace Prize and you demonize the award rather than keeping a discrete silence and resort to every measure short of blackmail to discourage other countries from attending, you’re not demonstrating balanced judgment. If when faced with a dissident receiving a Nobel Peace Prize, you create, fairly instantly,a bogus “Confucius” prize which you then present to the former President of Taiwan who admits he doesn’t know what it is and fails to appear for the ceremony, you don’t impress anybody.
This is all just part of the policy narrative from the media beltway. As always, they only ask hard questions of ideas they oppose. This isn’t one of them. The terror of Chinese competition, of their eventual success, is a reproach to criticism of free trade and authortarianism. It calls the very importance of democracy for economic success into question. It makes the idea of open society with rights of privacy seem unnecesary to a nation’s future.
When China has failed to become number one, it will have outlived its usefulness, their will be a new narrative of America losing out. Will it be India, Islamic nations, South Asia or even a resurgent Japan? Who knows? But its’ necessary. It’s a club against policies you don’t like and it works.