Adopting a soothing bedside-manner tone tinged with touches of optimistic jingoism, the folks over at BloombergView have finally decided to debunk the myth that America’s economy will soon be surpassed by China. Don’t worry, they tell their assumedly anxious readers, China can’t touch ‘murica,’ and here’s why:
According to Bloomberg, the story of the U.S. economy of the past 60+ years goes a little something like those Energizer Bunny commercials: Despite what the naysayers may say, it just keeps going, and going, and going: “If ‘America, the Has-Been’ were a TV series,” they say, “it would be in its fifth season.” First comes the Soviet/Sputnik challenge, which of course ended with the Soviet Union “no more, dying peacefully on Christmas Day 1991 and leaving behind 15 orphan republics.” Season Two surrounds the pessimism associated with the Vietnam War, but that too ended with the U.S. successfully “corralling Hanoi as a quasi-ally against China” (although China’s wonderfully entertaining Global Times would beg to differ on this issue…).
Season 3 opens up with Wimpy President Guy Jimmy Carter crying about the U.S. and its “crisis of confidence…that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our nation.” Well, we all know what happens next: Tough guy Reagan comes in and arms-wrestles the Soviet Union into submission, and everybody on “Morning in America” proceeds to chest-bump each other. The threat in Season 4 is the rise of Japan, but it bursts in 1988 as America begins its long expansionary period that lasts until about 2007.
“Now its Decline 5.0, starring China as the master of the universe,” Bloomberg writes. Yet they’re confident that this season will also end in America’s favor, attacking the argument that the RMB’s Purchasing Power Parity will allow China to overtake the U.S. economy at some point in the 2020’s. To this argument, Bloomberg says:
“Nice game, but it doesn’t reflect real economic power. When China imports technology from the U.S. or high-tech weaponry from Israel, it has to pay in dollars. Ditto when it gobbles up African mines or buys the loyalty of developing countries with foreign aid. Tuition for Chinese students at Stanford University is also billed in dollars. Same with Beemers and Porsches.” At the end of the day, Bloomberg reminds everybody that the U.S. economy is eight times the size of China’s, which is “just a shade higher than Peru’s” (yeah, screw you too, Peru!).
After that, the author jumps to the classic argument about China’s aging population destroying its productivity potential at around 2050: “By midcentury,” they write, “one Chinese worker will have to support two dependents, a ratio worse than anywhere in the West. If ample labor is the food of growth, China is looking at starvation.”
Despite the fact that a lot of what the article states is actually true, one can’t help but shake the feeling that the article is tinged with a lot of remorse possibly stemming from the publication’s recent falling out with the PRC. The Bloomberg news site was blocked in 2012, and former editor Ben Richardson quit a few months ago over the alleged self-censoring of an article on high-level corruption in China. But then again, perhaps it has nothing to do with any of this.
Regardless, as an American, this article sure has got me pumped UP. Truthfully, I really think the cherry on top for this article would have been if Mr. Joffe and his editors attached this little guy to the last line:
TLDR: USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!
By Alex Stevens
[Image via themiddlefinger.com]