At the Start of its fifth Decade of (re-)Development, where is China Heading?
The First Economic Super-Power
The second element to keep in mind, is China’s historic position in the world and particularly Asia. While the Communist Party gave back to the Chinese the basic dignity of independence and self-rule, in 1949 China’s position in the world was very far from what it had been only 150 years before. In 1800, as the industrial revolution was just gaining steam in England, China was, by far, the largest economy in the world. It amounted easily to 30% of world GDP!
Today, as shown on the chart above (adjusted for the cost of living (in purchasing power parity – PPP), China is economically larger than the USA and close to the EU. (In todays’ dollar terms, however, the USA’s GDP is still 50% higher than China’s.). But it is still far from the position that China held traditionally and its population is well aware of that. In almost every Chinese person’s mind (90% of them, according to polls realized by a US institution, the Pew Research), the day will unavoidably come when China is, again, the biggest economic power in the world. Xi Jinping, the Chinese President, made it clear again 3 months ago when he said on the 70th anniversary of the People’s Republic: “No force can stop the Chinese people and the Chinese nation from forging ahead.”
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