When Exactly Will China Rule the Economic World?

It may already. Here's why you shouldn't care.

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China Stringer Network / Reuters

An investor looks at an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Huaibei, China September 9, 2013.

The American political and chattering classes are obsessed with the rise of China and America’s “economic competition” with the world’s most populous nation.

President Obama himself often uses the language of competition to describe the reasons for his policy proposals, like education initiatives that will help us fend off countries like China and India hoping to “out-educate and out-compete” us. And if economics is a competition, then the best measure of success must be GDP, which economists use to measure the total value of goods and services a country produces.

In coming years, we’ll hear a lot about the size of China’s economy surpassing that of the United States. The latest prediction is out from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, which says that the Chinese economy will grow larger than America’s in 2028.

This is actually much later than some forecasts predict. The OECD for instance argues that China’s economy will be bigger than America’s by 2016. And other economists like Peterson Institute for International Economics’ Arvind Subramanian predict that China’s economy is already bigger than the United States’.

How can these estimates be so far apart? The main reason is that it’s difficult to compare different country’s economies when they use different currencies and when the citizens of those countries have much different purchasing power.

For instance, 1 U.S. dollar is worth 6.05 yuan. So a simplistic way of comparing U.S. and Chinese GDP would be to divide Chinese GDP in Yuan by 6.05. But in reality, prices in the U.S. are somewhat higher than those in China, so 6.05 in Yuan isn’t going to buy the same amount of goods in the U.S. as it would in China. This is why economists try to estimate exchange rates adjusted for purchasing power. And it’s through this process of estimating differences in purchasing power that you get such different estimates of GDP.

The upshot is that the Chinese economy could already be bigger than our own. Does this knowledge make you feel any different? No? Well, it shouldn’t. That’s because, fortunately, economics isn’t about competition. It’s about collaboration.  Americans should hope for the Chinese economy to grow because that means there will be a larger market for the goods and services we create here in the U.S.

And in terms of economic output per capita, the U.S. is way ahead of China by a factor of more than 8. That’s because there are far fewer Americans than Chinese, so even if Chinese output equals America’s, there’s a lot fewer people here that must share in it. In other words, the average American is far wealthier than the average Chinese, and will be for many years to come.






















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ان مشاكل تسربات المياه أصبحت من الامور الشائعه التى تواجه الكثيروالعديد من الناس فى جميع انحاء المملكة العربية السعودية وحيث ان مشاكل كشف تسربات المياه تحتاج الى نخبة من الخبراء المتخصصون فى شركة كشف تسربات المياة بالدماموالعزل الحرارى والعزل المائى فمن الأن لاداعى للقلق بشأن تسربات المياهفلا تقلق عميلنا العزيز فنحن هنا لخدمتك ولتقديم لك الراحة والأمان فلا تشغل بالك بشأن تسربات المياه فشركتنا شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام تقدم لكم افضل خدمات كشف تسربات المياه على ايدى مجموعة نخبة من الخبراء المتخصصون فى كشف تسربات المياه بالدماموالعزل الحرارى والعزل المائى بأحدث الطرق والاساليب الحديثة ولدينا مجالات كثيرة لكى تستفيد منها عميلنا العذيذ وهى كالاتى ,,,,,,,

شركة تخزين اثاث بالرياض

شركة نقل اثاث الى دبى

نقل اثاث | شركة نقل عفش بالرياض

شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام | رش مبيدات

كشف تسربات المياه | شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام

شركة تنظيف | شركة نظافة بالدمام


نقل اثاث | افضل شركة نقل عفش بالرياض

شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض

كشف تسربات المياه

شركة تنظيف


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America and the west will only really get in trouble if or better said when Chinese products are no longer the rubbish low end products we have seen from them but become a real competition when it comes to Quality as well as quantity and price. I would say they need at least another 15 to 20 years or so to get there. 

I remember Japanese cars from 70's and early 80's being simply crap but once they got going, there was no stopping them. There are no reasons why the Chinese can not do the same. Soon Chinese products will achieve that standard and together with their innovative and managerial skills improving we will see a real shift of power.

At the same time do not underestimate pure GDP power either, money is power and a country like China with low government social security and less government expenses in general has a lot of financial power in the world. Africa has already become their playground and they have a lot of push in many parts of the world these days and that financial weight is just increasing. They can simply dictate their will on different parts of the world using their financial weight.

This is a war the US just cant win. Unless they manage to create instability in China with possible civil war or a revolution. 


Amazing...for most of my long(ish) life the greatness of America was defined by the size of it's economy.

Nobody ever said Luxembourg or the UAE  were "greater" because they were richer per capita. 

Now that China is about to overtake the US in terms of sheer size of it's economy, in terms of it's control of global resources and in terms of it's ability to spend more than the US on military and other measures of power...size no longer matters!


>That’s because, fortunately, economics isn’t about competition.




The basic answer is never.  The per capita real income of an economy without the rule of law can not get past the lower middle range of countries.  And it can only get there 1) if their inefficient public and private employers copy the employers of the advanced economies; and 2) only so long as the advanced countries continue to import from china more finished goods than they export. 

All that, of course, will change after the revolution and per capita real income in china may be able to grow past the lower middle  - if the revolutionaries adopt the rule of law when they take over - as they inevitably do in countries without the rule of law.  (just ask the Russian, etc al).