The Financial Times and The Economist are reporting that, based on new data, the Chinese economy (total, not per capita) is slanted to become the biggest in the world by the end of the year. Cue absolute panic on American talk/news shows.
The actual repercussions of the eclipse itself will be nil (there are, for example, many ways of measuring GDP, and by some measures, China is already biggest, and by others it’s still lagging behind) but Oh Boy the Chinese and American media are going to have a ball with this one. Instead of just rearranging a few tables on the World Bank website, this inevitable and predictable result of China’s growth will probably be sold as an utter game-changer.
Having the biggest economy in the world kind of makes sense for a country that has, you know, the most people. Regardless of the coming National GDP singularity, China’s per capita income still has a very long ways to go before matching that of the US, and the Americans aren’t Number 1 in that category anyways (looking at you, Luxembourg).
Still, if recent Hardball blogs are any indicator, the American media doesn’t have the most nuanced view of China or international economics, and will probably not handle this statistical eventuality with restraint.