By M.S. Shah Jahan
“When China wakes, it will shake the world.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte
Yes he warned this 200 years ago. Truer words were never spoken. Chinese dragon has awakened now and it is about to shake the world – starting with the United States.
Everybody knows that China is on the move. Despite the global slowdown and what many say China’s economic explosion is over, the country’s economy is still growing more than seven times faster than that of the US.
But what most Americans do not know – what the American media steadfastly refuses to admit is – that China is already so rich that it can now dictate economic policies to the world; even to the United States of America. This fact may be hard to believe.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has just dropped a bombshell that by 2016 the United States will no longer be the world’s number one economic power. That means China will be richer than America in less than four years. For the first time, the IMF has set a date when the ‘Age of America’ will come to an end and the US economy will be overtaken by China.
Not everyone accepts this view. The prestigious Peterson Institute and the University of Pennsylvania said the IMF is wrong and the Chinese economy will not surpass America’s by 2016, nor will it happen in 2017 or even in 2020 for that matter. Instead, they say that China is already the world’s #1 economic power.
In 2010, the US economy produced goods and services valued at $14.6 trillion. But China’s gross domestic product (GDP) soared to $14.8 trillion. China’s economy is already larger than America’s. And what is worse is, the United States is falling farther behind every day.
The US has about 160 million workers. China has 810 million workers — 5 times than its Western counterpart. Around 97% of all Chinese workers are employed. But 14 million US workers are either unemployed or underemployed. Wages rose 7.6% in 2011 in China’s urban areas — and the increase was about double that in rural areas. Meanwhile, inflation-adjusted wages for US workers dropped 1.7%.
China’s military is state-of-the-art: It just unveiled the J-20 — its first stealth fighter. It also has spy satellites, modern battle tanks, aircraft carriers, nuclear attack submarines, cruise missiles, and more. China has the largest army in the world with 2.2 million active-duty military personnel — 600,000 more than America has.
China’s nuclear arsenal is especially worrying: while Washington has been steadily reducing its stockpiles for nearly 30 years, Beijing continues to build up its forces and refuses to even begin talks on nuclear arms reduction. While the US is cutting its military expenditures, China has increased military spending every year for more than 20 years…and is still boosting it by an average of 11.8% per year. And while the US is winding down its space programme, China is preparing to put a man on the moon.
China’s Tianhe-1A super computer is the fastest in the world, capable of processing more than 2.5 thousand trillion calculations per second. American technicians have been trying to fathom how that kind of speed could be possible…
Furthermore, China’s burgeoning economic power becomes even more unsettling. Because of the fact that Beijing has become so powerful; it can now dictate economic policy to the US. According to the official figures from both Washington and Beijing, US economy grew about 1.7% in 2011. But China’s economy grew 9.2%.That’s more than seven and a half times faster; fast enough to nearly double the size of China’s already-massive economy each decade. While Washington’s tax revenues are dramatically down due to the sluggish US economy, China’s total tax revenues are up nearly 30% from a year ago.
China is now the world’s number one:
- mine operator
- car maker
Its insatiable hunger controls vast mineral and food resources from all around the world. Even resource rich Canada is turning to China for growth after decades of reliance on the US. China consumes 41% of the world’s copper resources, 41% nickel, 43% steel, 45% tin, 46% lead, nearly 47% of its zinc and huge amounts of most other natural resources.
The investment figures are even more startling. Securities valued at more than $6 trillion trade on Chinese exchanges every day and that number is growing by leaps and bounds. China enjoys the largest foreign capital inflows of any nation on earth, surpassing the United States as the world’s favourite place to invest.
The size of its economy and economic growth – in science and technology, scholarship of its students, growth of its military – in every conceivable area, China is already the world’s most dominant nation. A study by The Program for International Student Assessment ranked Chinese students number 1 in the world. American students were ranked fourteenth.
When it comes to high-end shopping, Nanjing Road shopping district in Shanghai puts 5th Avenue or Beverly Hills to shame. So does the New Shanghai Shopping City in the Pudong financial district. These are only two of eight massive, world-class, state-of-the-art shopping districts in this city alone.
Macau has become gamblers’ heaven recently. Las Vegas topped the world with its luxury hotels and entertainment. But today even Vegas’ biggest and best are finding it hard to compete with the world’s largest hotels and casinos in Macau. Of course most of them are owned or run by the Americans.
Because of China’s newfound status as the world’s #1 super power, it is now ready, willing and able to dictate economic policies to the rest of the world including America. China is already the nation on the way up. While sadly, the US is the nation on the decline.
The “official” US national debt is over $15 trillion —nearly three times more than the most indebted nations in Europe combined. But after adding the debts Washington owes to veterans, seniors and government pensioners, the total amount stands at a staggering $145 trillion – nearly ten times the total value of the goods and services the US economy produces.
The Beijing government has almost no debt. It has $3.2 trillion in cash and its cash reserves are growing ever larger, month after month. But Washington has almost no cash on hand and has to borrow nearly half of every dollar it spends — much of it from China. Without this loan the entire US government would go bust. Washington would become a virtual ghost town. Millions of Americans who count on government checks would be financially destroyed.
Make no mistake: the Chinese know they are in the driver’s seat. People’s Liberation Army Senior Colonel Liu Mingfu recently said: “To save itself, to save the world, China must prepare to become the world’s helmsman.” There is compelling evidence that China is not satisfied with merely surpassing the US economy; it has already began a campaign to dominate the US economy. So, the entire world — including the United States — must bow to China’s superior economic power — the greatest the world has ever seen.
How could such a magical turn around, within four decades was possible for a poverty stricken, famine-prone nation that had one of the lowest GDP until half a century ago? It is chiefly America that dug her own grave. As the cost of manufacturing was spiralling, Western companies turned to low-cost labour in China, ruining their own industries but amassing huge profits. As Napoleon said the Chinese dragon has now awaken and breathing fire all over. Can’t help it.
Finally, I recall a cartoon published decades ago in a Sri Lankan newspaper. Mr. Silva, who was reading a Sunday paper on an easy chair, turned toward his wife and said: “You know, Gamini, our domestic worker who went to the Middle East has come back. He says he has bought our house”. This is world!