Why China can’t take over the world

China News Stories

China is preparing to surpass the United States as the world’s largest economy, in purchasing power parity terms (using China’s grossly exaggerated economic figures). Already its economy is supposedly 80% the size of the US, and if current growth rate differentials persist, it could possibly take China only about four more years to surpass the US .

At market exchange rates, China’s GDP is much smaller, and is expected to remain less than the US until 2028. This is hardly surprising. After all, China has four times as many people as the US; if every Chinese worker were to earn the US minimum wage, its GDP would be larger than the US. That is not a very high bar. With that economic size comes military power and global cultural clout.

China’s awe-inspiring rise is often framed as the return to a historical norm. A common belief is that…

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