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auhsojsa's avatar

What will the world be like when the statistics show that China is the new super power of the world?

Asked by auhsojsa (2505 points ) January 31st, 2012

It’s no secret that their national goal is to become the worlds super power financially. I believe my source came from PBS doing a documentary on the modern world of China. If I remember correctly the goal was to be super power by 2018?

Anyhow it is inevitable, what would your perception on the world be like?

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26 Answers

FutureMemory's avatar

Well, I already love rice…

marinelife's avatar

China is already a superpower. Nothing will change.

tedd's avatar

China will never be a superpower. Allow me to explain.

In order to truly be a super power, they need to have a dominant economy. People can point to their constant growth numbers (which many economists think are rigged)... but here’s a simple fact, without a middle class that makes up a huge majority of their population, China will never ever ever surpass the United States on an economic scale. But the entire key to their economic growth over the last few decades has been the simple fact that the labor there is dirt cheap and has no safety regulations. In order to grow a middle class, those things would have to change, which would level out their economic growth. And this is all without even mentioning the fact they keep their money artificially “cheap” ... if they want their economy to surpass the US that definitely has to change.

Speaking with regards to resources, the US has more natural resources on just the western half of our mainland, than China does in it’s entire country. Their population is heavily focused into the eastern half of the country, and they have an increasingly limited ability to grow the food to feed themselves. Even militarily, they are but a shadow of the strength the US military has.

Their GDP is roughly ⅓ of the US GDP right now. Their quality of living is a joke. Their military isn’t even ¼ as powerful as ours. Their natural resources are less than half ours, and that includes their production capabilities. The only benefit that China has is sheer numbers that can be exploited for cheap labor. That, as the USSR could tell you, does not bode well for a “superpower.”

Coloma's avatar

It’ll be what it will be.

Jeruba's avatar

Fareed Zakaria, of Newsweek fame, answered this question (and several others) in a very interesting book published in 2009: The Post-American World.

His opening line: “This is a book not about the decline of America but rather about the rise of everyone else.”

I see on Amazon that there is now a ‘Release 2.0’ of this book. I’m almost tempted to pay for it again just to see the update. So much has changed in two years.

wundayatta's avatar

What statistics are we talking about?

auhsojsa's avatar

budget fiscal year 2012

fiscal year 2011

Those two links reveal data, that proves of every 1$ American, 42 cents is borrowed money from countries like China.
If anyone could pull up data and legitimate sources that prove China is borrowing nearly half of their equivalent to 1$ then I would love to believe China is not in position to becoming the number one economy in the world.

wundayatta's avatar

That data is about the US budget. Are you arguing that leveraged government spending is a sign of strength or weakness of an economy? If so, how does the leverage in the US compare to leverage in China?

But more importantly, what is the size of the government sector compared to the total economy in both nations? What are appropriate measures of strength of the private sector?

My guess is that the private sector in the US, as a per capita measure, is far larger than the Chinese private sector per capita. I would propose we look at cash flow, other measures of current activity, the net value of property and goods and services, the productivity of labor and a few other measures.

I’ll be you’ll find that the average American is worth far more than the average Chinese and is also a great deal more productive. In addition, I propose we develop measures of spirituality and fun and an overall quality of life measure. I doubt the Chinese are going to close the quality of life gap much in the next decade or so.

PhiNotPi's avatar

The main problem that China faces is that there are so many people that they require a lot of natural resource to sustain. As China urbanizes, people begin to use a lot more resources then they do when subsistence farming. Bringing China from rural to urban will be a very hard transition because there will simply not be enough resources. This would also almost certainly require an end to the dirt-cheap wages that are the main reason China is so popular as an outsourcing location.

Over 50% of the Chinese are rural farmers, while less than 2% of American are farmers. I am currently looking at a map that shows that America has “Below 25” farmers per square kilometer of arable land, while China has “100 and above”, whatever that means.

I once read an article in New Scientist that said that even though China has traditionally been an exporter of natural resources (in this case metals and rare earth elements), its own domestic demand will eventually become larger than its supply, turning China into an importer of those natural resources.

YARNLADY's avatar

As the population of China becomes more and more affluent, the communist rule will fall, and the rule of the people will rise. However, this will not be a good thing, because it will mean less population control, and will signal an ecological disaster of monumental proportions.

auhsojsa's avatar

@YARNLADY I’m curious to know when do you think it will collapse, a time frame if you will and also are there other societies in the past who have met this same fate which you are basing your presumptions on? Thanks!

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m giving it one more generation, the young now growing up have started it, and their children will finish it.

No, nowhere in the past history have there ever been 7 billion people on the planet, with a full 20 percent (1.3 billion) living in China, alone.

Ron_C's avatar

Most of the answer here appear to be from people that have never been to China. I am no expert but have been going there for the last 20 years. Every time I go there is something new. An airport modernized, new buildings in the towns, more people in the middle class.

Americans place too much importance on the Chinese government. The citizens I’ve talked to mostly ignore it. The have their own work to the, their own family to care for. China was the first place that I seen where citizen reprimand the police when they don’t like the job he’s doing. Chinese also don’t stand in line like Americans. They don’t seem as afraid of their own government as do Americans. China is not as focused on building an empire as the U.S. Of course they want to protect their own and things will get ugly if the U.S. starts trying to order them around but mostly they have their own problems and their own population to take care of and they are not likely to interfere with other country’s internal affairs. The Chinese leadership is staying out of Syria and Iran and urge other countries to do the same. Personally, I’m glad they have a veto power at the U.N.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Maybe the USA and other countries will give the One Child policy a try for a few generations.

tedd's avatar

@auhsojsa Your statistic is actually false. The two links you provided tell us that for every dollar spent, 42 cents is borrowed. It does not specify where that money comes from, and in fact over half of our deficit is paid via bonds sold to US Citizens or the US government itself. China actually buys less than ¼ of the foreign portion of our national deficit. Also, roughly half of our national debt right now is owned by… dun dun dun… The United States Government (via intra-agency holdings).

@wundayatta For your viewing pleasure, GDP/Capita of the planets countries. The more red you are, the higher it is… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:BNP_perhoofd_2010.png

tedd's avatar

@Ron_C We place importance on the Chinese government because it’s corrupt and dictorial. Police get reprimanded here all the time, barely two years ago President Obama berated a specific police officer on national television. I take exceptional offense to the idea that the US is still interested in building an empire, and point to China’s continuous conflicts with Taiwan and it’s other neighbors over natural resource rich islands to suggest they are no better than the US. I also laugh at the idea of 1)the US trying to boss around China (they are mutually indebted nations), 2) it being a bad idea to start telling China to shape up (forcibly keeping it’s money down, it’s people down, ruining the environment, etc)... and 3) I find it reprehensible that China stands against sanctions and actions against nations such as Syria and Iran, who are killing their own people in droves for peacefully protesting the corruptions and abuses of their nations.

Their veto in the UN was a foolish choice, and frankly I dunno why the real allies bothered to give them (or France) a vote.

auhsojsa's avatar

@tedd The money comes from countries like, China and Japan. Those statistics are not false. Those are from the American public library hahahaha.

auhsojsa's avatar

@Ron_C I agree with you. My friend has lived in China, more specifiically Shanghai since he was 16. He is now 22 and going to college there. His father works for BIC (the pencil/pen company) and from what he tells me, socially, it sounds exactly like the American youth. There’s cliques, there’s going out, there’s government, free thinking but most of all there’s education. Yeah he’s majoring in history as well so I love hearing about his perspectives about what’s really going on over there. I’m an American with an open mind, to answer the question, I could care less if China became a world super power.

tedd's avatar

@auhsojsa It doesn’t list at all where the money comes from you genius, it just says how much there is. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt that will very plainly show you how the US national deficit is divided amongst it’s buyers (if you’ve ever bought a treasury bond, congrats you own part of the US debt).

This link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Federal_Debt.png Will show you how much Debt the public owns on a ratio to GDP (which right now is basically a 1:1 ratio).... You’ll notice it slightly above 40%.

This chart will show you pretty plainly that as of Sept. of 2008, the US government owned 47% of it’s own debt http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Estimated_ownership_of_treasury_securities_by_year.gif ... And at the same time foreign governments owned roughly 28%. Of that 28% that all foreign nations own (it’s roughly 30–32% today) China owned 27% as of 2010.

So I would very plainly show to you again.. that the US government and it’s citizens own well over half of their own debt.

I suggest next time you read the links before you give them.

Ron_C's avatar

I guess I’m just going to take shit for thinking that the Chinese may be freer than us Americans. I should also mention that deserving students get free or very low cost college education along with government health care. The rich can even go to private hospitals if they want.

China still has claims on Taiwan. Remember that Chiang Kai-shek was a dictator just like Mao. The reason he wasn’t villified was because he was friendly to American interests.

Notice how quickly Taiwan was thrown under the bus when Republicans realized how much money could be made dealing with the Mainland instead of the island?

YARNLADY's avatar

@Ron_C I have a friend who has been teaching in China for the past 8 years, and she says your are mistaken in your thinking.

Ron_C's avatar

@YARNLADY it seems that there is only a finite amount of prosperity to go around. When I started going to China. they were doing poorly and we were doing well. After the Bush changes went into effect, we had much less freedom so maybe the improvements in China seemed better. Since the Patriot Act was extended, the freedom level in this country is low and heading lower while freedom in China is getting greater. It is not inconceivable that the balance of freedom will be greater in China than the freedom in this country.

tedd's avatar

@Ron_C Some day maybe… but that day is nowhere near today. They are such polar opposites, with America most definitely being the far more free at the moment.. that it’s hard to even envision the world you just suggested.

Ron_C's avatar

@tedd I find more people here afraid of their government than in China. I suggest that you may not have been out of this country often enough.

tedd's avatar

@Ron_C More people are “afraid” of their government here because they’ve let faux news stations convince them black helicopters are coming.

If you took a poll and got peoples true feelings on how likely they think they are to be taken away in the middle of the night, or have their basic human rights violated… I’m willing to bet you’d get more takers in China than the US.. and I don’t think it would even be close.

Ron_C's avatar

@tedd I don’t know about proposed polls. All I can do is report my own experience over the last 20 years.

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