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Implications of China as Number One
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A friend writes:

A few notes on the implications of China displacing the United States as the world’s number one country over the course of the 21st Century:

1. The Chinese business cycle will become the world’s business cycle (replacing the U.S.). It will be a huge shock the first time a recession hits the U.S. because China goes into a downturn. How might this work? A recession in China slashes Chinese demand for imports. Some of those imports are from the U.S. Others are from other countries, that in turn buy less from the U.S.

However, all of this is a bit indirect. The more likely (and powerful) mechanism is that a financial panic starts in China and spreads. There is plenty of history showing that financial panics typically don’t stop at national borders. The East Asian crash of 1997 was one example. The Great Recession was/is another. By contrast, the Argentine Great Depression of 2001-2003 was mostly limited to Argentina (Argentina is not a global economic power). Note that even in the 19th century, economic crises swiftly spread around the world.

2. China’s incessant demand for commodities drives global commodity prices up, and China’s exports drive the prices for manufactured goods down. Of course, this is already happening. Given that the U.S. is a net importer of commodities (by far) and an exporter of manufactured goods this is bad for U.S. terms of trade. Basically, China is a direct competitor to the U.S. in world trade and China’s growth tends to impoverish the U.S. Note that many economists already believe that the gains from cheap imports from China, have been more than offset by China’s impact on commodity prices (food and fuel).

Tangentially, does it seem like restaurant prices are going through the roof? A Cobb or chef salad at a diner now seems to start at $13.95. And how much am I supposed to be tipping these days?

3. At some point, China may become a political model for countries around the world. Given that China is a one-party state with a mixed economy, this will pain all sorts of folks on the left (and the right). Basically, the western political and economic model will lose credibility in favor of China’s. Of course, this is already happening. Notably, the ability of the West to influence the third-world, has substantially declined because of the willingness of China to provide political and economic support without the strings demanded by Europe and the U.S.A.

An NYT op-ed writer is already denouncing India’s new prime minister Modi for showing an interest in how things are done in China.

4. China may emerge as a dominant military power. History says that military power cannot be separated from real economic power. The dominant military power of each modern period has been the dominant manufacturing power. That meant the UK until around 1900 and the U.S. until around 2000. China is the leading manufacturing power of the world today. The gap separating China and the U.S. will only grow (much) larger over time. Manufacturing is crucial for war for two reasons. First, manufacturing provides the national wealth required to pay for war. Second, manufacturing (the manufacturing infrastructure) provides the means for actually producing the weapons needed for war. Note that services are not a substitute for manufacturing in this context. Services are not (typically) tradable and don’t provide the convertible currency income needed to fight international wars.

More specifically, the U.S. may end up fighting an aircraft carrier war with China at some point in the future. History suggests that the U.S. Navy could lose just quickly as Britain did in WWII. On December 10th, 1941 the Japanese sunk the Prince of Wales and Repulse in just a few hours ending British naval power in the Pacific. Conversely, the U.S. ended Japanese naval power with the destruction of Kito Budai (the main Japanese fleet) in the Battle of Midway. Like it or not, America’s carrier fleet could be destroyed just as quickly and just as decisively [and without nuclear weapons]. In one day (less), both the reality and perception of American global power could essentially evaporate.

5. China may become a dominant setter of technology standards. After all, if China is the dominant producer and consumer of some technology, why wouldn’t China’s standard(s) become the world standard(s). Of course, the dissemination of technology standards is never that simple. The rest of the world is metric, but that hasn’t driven metrification in the U.S. Conversely, the U.S. uses 120 volts, 60 cycle power. Most of the rest of the world does not. Even when the U.S. electric utility business dwarfed any other country, the ROW (Rest Of World) didn’t rush to embrace U.S. standards (120 volts is too low, 60 cycle is correct). All that having been said, China may become influential with respect to new technology standards even if the old ones don’t change much.

6. China may become a dominant source of technology innovations. That hasn’t happened so far. Only a handful of new technologies can be said to have been “invented in China”. However, this is to be expected. The early years of U.S. economic growth were mostly imitative. Indeed, the U.S. was notorious for violating foreign copyrights and patents and refusing to pay for the privilege (Dickens hated the U.S. for years). Japan was widely derided for years (decades) as a producer of cheap copies of American goods. When that stopped being the most profitable model for Japanese firms, they (Japanese manufacturers) invested heavily and successfully in innovative products and moved upscale. The same process can be observed in South Korea and Taiwan now. China will inevitably follow.

The notion that America has some inevitable advantage in “creativity” is popular, but I have a hard time even defining “creativity,” so I don’t put all that much faith in this theory of American dominance.

7. China will almost certainly become the dominant financial power in the world. China is already the world’s largest creditor and holder of foreign exchange reserves ($3.95 trillion). The U.S. is the world’s largest debtor. It’s obvious that creditors gain power and debtors decline. Sadly, the “supply-side” right is so obsessed with tax cuts for the rich and “free trade” (unlimited outsourcing) that they deny what’s self-evident to everyone else. Of course, the welfare-state left is just as unwilling to admit that debt and deficits aren’t free and hobble a nation over time.

8. More subtly, the Chinese language and culture may gain influence worldwide. At some point, Chinese authors, playwrights, movie producers, musicians, and artists may become highly influential globally. Chinese may become the mandatory second language for everyone (as English is now). In my view, the Chinese language is likely to gain global market share (for economic reasons) considerably faster than Chinese artists and musicians.

“Mandarin immersion” grade schools are popular among SWPLs since they act as NAM Repellents, but I haven’t seen much evidence that white people are actually learning to speak Chinese. For example, in 2013, only 520 high school students in America who say they didn’t grow up speaking Chinese got a 5 on the Chinese Language and Culture Advanced Placement test, which is higher than I would have thought, but still not much.

It remains to be seen if China can produce books, movies, songs, etc. that the rest of the world yearns for. Conversely, their no doubt at all about China’s ability to produce globally competitive goods.

A decade ago it looked like the Chinese would become competitive in movies. Zhang Yimou’s film “Hero” was spectacular, but the Chinese film industry hasn’t made much of an impression since.

Lately, Hollywood blockbusters have routinely included a segment filmed in China (with perhaps a shout-out to Russia in the plot), because China and Russia are developing American-style movie-going cultures where youths go to opening weekend movies. For example, Transformers: Age of Extinction opened this weekend with $100 million in America and $92 million in China (with $22 million in Russia). (Here’s my 2011 review of the previous Transformers movie.)

So, Hollywood’s strategy is simply to assimilate China into the Blockbuster Borg. So far, it seems like it’s working to head off the Chinese threat.

The American college admissions system is an important leverage point. The Chinese crave the status of American university degrees, which allows Americans to encourage the Chinese to learn to jump through the various SWPLifying hoops they choose to erect. Or they can just accept the Chinese money and test scores, no questions asked.

 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: China 
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  1. H says:

    Does China have that imperialistic/go-out-and-conquer-the-world spirit like Europe and the West did? China is famous for inventing things before the Europeans did, and East Asians have a higher mean IQ than White Europeans (and Americans), but it seems like it was the Europeans who put inventions or “creativity” into action and went out to conquer most of the world, up until the social justice era kicked in. My cursory knowledge of China, and East Asia at large, is that they were more interested in keeping outsiders out and isolating themselves from other cultures. Isn’t China also somewhat notorious for corruption, the type of which would undermine their ability to become as influential on a global scale as the United States was?

    This is not to say that China isn’t a superpower or can’t be a superpower, but that historically they have been very strong before, and they always seem to find a way of imploding. Someone who knows more about Chinese history please correct me if I’m wrong.

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  2. gdpbull says:

    “It remains to be seen if China can produce books, movies, songs, etc. that the rest of the world yearns for. Conversely, their no doubt at all about China’s ability to produce globally competitive goods.”

    They are hampered in this by their obsession with anti-Japanese TV series and movies. The Chinese censors approved 69 anti-Japanese TV series and about 100 anti-Japanese movies last year.

    http://www.interaksyon.com/entertainment/propaganda-war–why-chinese-filmmakers-love-to-hate-japan/

    And we think its bad here with our never ending movies of the WWII European theater. Imagine 100 a year. Its no wonder the Chinese population Hates, with a capital H, the Japanese.

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  3. Hepp says:

    “It remains to be seen if China can produce books, movies, songs, etc. that the rest of the world yearns for. Conversely, their no doubt at all about China’s ability to produce globally competitive goods.”

    Is this an HBD blog or a blank slate convention? The main reason that Chinese movies, music, etc. won’t take over the world is that Asian men are completely unattractive to women, not to mention lacking in creativity or the spunk necessary to succeed in the cultural realm. So forget about Chinese James Bonds, or Backstreet Boys, or whatever girls happen to like in a particular era. Even if China’s GDP is double that of the United States, the whole country will still collectively have less cultural influence than American blacks.

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  4. countenance says: • Website

    As someone who is old enough to have lived through the “Japan is going to take over the world” mania in the 1980s, I find something deja vu about it.

    One thing I will give China is that the world’s politically incorrect scientific discoveries about genetics and race will come almost entirely from there for the foreseeable future.

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  5. Luke Lea says:

    “A recession in China slashes Chinese demand for imports.”

    I think it might be just the opposite. Right now, because all the big banks are owned by the state (the Party), the mis-allocations of capital investment are guargantuan. In effect they are squandering the life savings of the Chinese working classes. Thus if, or rather when, there is a crash, the authorities may be compelled to spend all of their accumulate foreign exchange just to keep the society together. That translated into exports from the US. We finally start exporting more than we consume, and take another big hit in our standard of living.

    Maybe I’m wrong but it seems logical to me.

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  6. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Corrected version:

    “A recession in China slashes Chinese demand for imports.”

    I think it might be just the opposite. Right now, because all the big banks are owned by the state (the Party), the mis-allocations of capital investment are guargantuan. In effect they are squandering the life savings of the Chinese working classes. Thus if, or rather when, there is a crash, the authorities may be compelled to spend all of their accumulate foreign exchange just to keep the society together. That translate into exports from the US. We finally start exporting more than we produce, and take another big hit in our standard of living.

    Maybe I’m wrong but it seems logical to me.

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  7. Chris says:

    I will dispute the assertion that Japanese or British naval power in the Pacific ended in one battle. Midway took the initiative away from the Japanese and did serious harm to their navy, but take a look at the battles around Guadalcanal and one can see the Japanese navy wasn’t whipped. Had the British not been tied up with the Germans in the European theater, they would have had a better opportunity to deploy their naval power. The battleships weren’t going to be decisive even if they hadn’t been sunk.

    My prediction is the Chinese flex their muscles for the next 40-50 years, maybe beat the US in a naval conflict, and then decline back into their standard stupor. Chinese history seems to be a repetition of sudden jumps that don’t seem to follow through, mainly because they are all centrally driven. The US is going to be a Balkanized Brazil.

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  8. George says:

    To rephrase a line from WWII about Germans: They might have more Chinese, but we have better Chinese. Yauza Yauza Yazua!!!!!!

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  9. Jefferson says:

    ” Asian men are completely unattractive to women,”

    Yes on average Asian men are seen as unattractive to women because of their beta male status. Bruce Lee was the exception to the rule when it comes to Asian male celebrities who are seen as bad ass alpha males.

    But Asian male celebrities like Bobby Lee from Mad TV and Leslie Chow from The Hangover films for example are seen as complete jokes.

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  10. Luke Lea says:

    If the Western democracies (OECD countries) would work together to leverage their combined economic, trade, industrial, commercial, technological, financial, and military (on sea, in the air, and in space) power ,the way they have sort of been doing with Iran, then I think they might be able to coerced even a country as big and important as China to abide by international norms. That possibility may not last forever however. We need a new Democratic League. Third time is charmed.

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  11. Big Bill says:

    Interesting take on anti-Japanese movies. I just saw the 2014 Chinese movie “Iceman”, and it had bunches of scenes showing groping, fondling, drunken young white guys hitting on cute Chinese girls. No Japanese, interestingly enough. Good movie.

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  12. iSteveFan says:

    China should have the largest economy given their population. So long as they are not run like they were under Mao, it doesn’t surprise me that their GDP will be the highest. But the main advantage China has over the US, and even Europe, is that the latter two are undergoing a self-inflicted demographic change.

    I would love to hear what the Chinese really think about the West importing the dregs of the third world. In fact we already have a clue how their fellow NE Asians feel about this from the scandals that surrounded the remarks of famous Japanese academics over this issue twenty years ago. The NE Asians have no problems taking from the West what they deem is good, but curiously, they seem to have passed on the immivasion.

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  13. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “Chinese may become the mandatory second language for everyone (as English is now). In my view, the Chinese language is likely to gain global market share (for economic reasons) considerably faster than Chinese artists and musicians.”

    Only if they switch to writing their language in Roman characters. (Hey, the Turks did it!) While Chinese could well become more common as a second language than it is today, it will take a long time to clear out 2000 years of dominance by languages that use the Roman alphabet.

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  14. Horseball says:

    Agree with countenance. Maybe there is some reason why China has been an awful place to live since time immemorial? And maybe those reasons are deep-seated and intractable? I don’t think they snapped a millennium long losing streak in 30 years.

    Also, my prediction is that long before any of this happens, the Japanese will get back on their horse.

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    • Replies: @Patrick
    But Japan is in a demographic death spiral - I don't know how it recovers from it, much less get back on their horse.
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  15. All good points. It does seem rather likely that however the 21st century turns out, the huge number of Han Chinese will have some influence on it. However, I do wonder about extrapolating current trends in China to some inevitable future state.

    Given China’s huge population, even mediocre growth will get them on top globally and keep them there. Absent some huge disaster, which would be good for no one, this seems pretty likely. However, contra iSteveFan, I would note that the Chinese are also undergoing a self-inflicted demographic change. In their case, there is a race to see whether they can get rich before they get old.

    To take a geographically and culturally close example, the Japanese managed to get rich before they got old, and now that their population is shrinking their absolute share of global wealth is at best staying even, but pace Eamon Fingleton, Japan isn’t a bad place to be Japanese, statistics be damned. Will the Chinese follow suit? I don’t know, but there are contrary mechanisms that aren’t hard to find.

    I’m also curious to see how China’s lack of financial probity turns out in the long run. Gordon Chang keeps being wrong about an implosion in Chinese finance, but their current system does not seem resilient.

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  16. The film “Hero” is mentioned in this article as being very, very good. I want to second that. To the cinephile Steve-o-Sphere fans, “Hero” is *well* worth your time

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  17. IANAL says:

    The similarities to Japan in the 80s are extremely apt. China is a demographic disaster, far more than any of the Western countries in the world. They will not be able to sustain economic growth without demographic growth.

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  18. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “Tangentially, does it seem like restaurant prices are going through the roof? A Cobb or chef salad at a diner now seems to start at $13.95.”

    What? A bigass full course meal doesn’t cost that much in Kentucky and Tennessee.

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  19. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “History says that military power cannot be separated from real economic power.”

    History says it can. Sparta and Soviet Union quickly despite military might.

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  20. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “At some point, China may become a political model for countries around the world. Given that China is a one-party state with a mixed economy, this will pain all sorts of folks on the left (and the right). ”

    Missing the point.

    More likely, China will remain an oligarchy but sprout off two political parties that serve the same interests.

    US has two parties but both serve the oligarchy.

    So, I see convergence.

    Oligarchic rule in China, Russia, US, and EU but the semblance of choice via multi-party politicians who suck up to the same bosses.

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  21. George says:

    How did 520 students score 5 on Chinese AP exam?
    I have some guesses.
    Perhaps, as children, they moved to China with their parents, learned there, and then returned.
    Or, they falsely stated they did not speak Chinese at home.

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  22. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “First, manufacturing provides the national wealth required to pay for war. Second, manufacturing (the manufacturing infrastructure) provides the means for actually producing the weapons needed for war. Note that services are not a substitute for manufacturing in this context. Services are not (typically) tradable and don’t provide the convertible currency income needed to fight international wars. More specifically, the U.S. may end up fighting an aircraft carrier war with China at some point in the future. History suggests that the U.S. Navy could lose just quickly as Britain did in WWII.”

    US manufacturing largely depended on US consumers.

    Chinese manufacturing depends on foreign, mainly US, consumers. If US imposes sanctions, Chinese economy is over.
    Also, US can freeze huge Chinese assets and reserves in the US.

    As for the military, high-tech will decide, and no nation is even close to US.

    Chinese economy is body without the mind. It serves as the ox to American brains that come up with innovations.

    The real threat to the West comes from massive migrations from Africa and Muslim world and Mexico. Also, the huge black population in the US. And Jewish control of elite institutions.

    In the worst case scenario, even if US loses a naval war to China, Chinese will never threaten western lands.

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    • Replies: @Rocky
    Cloudcastler.

    How on earth could the US impose China sanctions? Do you think Americans will stand idly by with no Xbox, PlayStation, TV, Video/ Music players?

    As has been said, it is the Chinese who hold American assets "in China". Best of luck freezing them. The Chinese call in American debts and America tanks. (no one like a debt-dodger)

    "As for the military, high-tech will decide". Er, no. Iraq? Afghanistan? All the Wests' might has failed utterly to quell the "stone age" Al-Qaeda. Are you saying the Russians had better Tech in WWII than the West? They took and held/hold more than half of Europe.

    "Chinese will never threaten western lands". Er, they don't want/need them. They have over 1/2 the worlds resources of, well, Everything.

    Rocky
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  23. Orthodox says:

    China is already influencing Hollywood. Plot lines are changed, projects are chosen because they do not offend Chinese censors. Why do you think they make so many superhero movies these days?

    China’s financial crisis might already be underway, and yes it will be large enough to take down the U.S. Some Chinese critics even say that 2008 was caused by China’s tight monetary policy. China’s stock market started crashing in early 2008; the U.S. didn’t go down hard until the fall.

    China is no longer driving down manufacturing prices. Manufacturing is returning to the U.S. due to higher wages in China and higher oil prices (transportation costs). Chinese are even opening factories in the U.S. Long-term U.S. standards of living will fall (relatively, maybe absolutely) as the country must export more to pay for imports. The U.S. will again be competitive, but workers will have to compete with Chinese consumers.

    The U.S. remains one of the most free economies. The trend does not look good, but Wall Street has probably peaked. The growing military threat of China (or actual threat of carriers being sunk) will shift power away from Wall Street and the Treasury and towards the Pentagon and the National Association of Manufacturers.

    Even if you imagine some pro-growth scenario for the U.S., oil prices are never going down. The holy grail for the future is cheap energy. The U.S. is wasting all of its time and energy on expensive energy, or sucking out the remaining drops of cheap fossil fuels. A disaster for the next generation.

    Culture is harder to predict. Modern China is lacking in the Chinese culture the West likes. The collapse of the British Empire hasn’t dulled the attractiveness of British culture and how about Italy? Korea is also dominant in China. Influence from China, at least for the foreseeable future, will come from how its tastes and preferences shape content in foreign countries. America will probably remain on top.

    Chinese is dominating Asia. It probably will displace English there, but it won’t have global reach.

    China is already the most important economy in the world for growth. China may or may not surpass the U.S., but if India grows like people think it could, then the U.S. will be the third most important economy in the world.

    China is aging and the population pyramid is already shrinking. The urbanization drive will only lower fertility.

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  24. nano says:

    China’s future like the West’s past is dependent on figuring out the flaws in the banking mafia’s banking model.

    I think the idea of the future balkanized America fighting a carrier war is very far-fetched.

    I can imagine the US selling their carriers to China to pay off debts.

    I think a taller future version of Jackie Chan or Chow Yun Fat will do fine as a Chinese James Bond.

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  25. anon says: • Disclaimer

    pretty different perspective on how far China may have come

    http://www.prudentbear.com/2014/06/the-bears-lair-china-may-soon-take.html

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  26. Dahlia says:

    Ron Unz has been expecting China to dominate any day now, and who knows, may be they will.

    I want to explore item #6 a bit, technological innovations. I’m curious about America’s reputation for stealing ideas or whatever one chooses to call it, particularly what time period is he talking about. I’ve always viewed America as not terribly intellectual, but extremely creative.

    The creativity of Americans in the 19th century is phenomenal and when you consider England and America together, it is awe-inspiring. The Bessemer process for steel, the sewing machine, and on and on, but my favorite thing that represented a great leap forward was the invention of pressed glass in the 1820s. The only time period I’m aware of when America was copying on a notable scale were the colonial and newly independent eras. They were making things for themselves that were crude imitations of imported European goods, exactly what one would expect from a fledgling nation.

    It is not true that a nation is first a manufacturer of cheap items and then moves on to higher quality things. Both can be done simultaneously. The modern day German nations were the manufacturers of cheap porcelain knock-offs of higher end goods at the end of the 19th century (as well as an array of other items) for the U.S. They were, however, the European “inventors”* of porcelain around 1710 and Meissen, the first European porcelain manufacturer is still one of the preeminent porcelain companies.

    Japan picked up the mantle of being the mass manufacturer of cheap toys, porcelain, goods, etc. from Germany. For some reason, their toys tended to be lesser quality, but I believe that is part of a century’s plus demand for cheaper, lesser quality. Japan, btw, was huge into robots even in the early 20th century while they were in the role of providing cheap trinkets and toys.

    With China, to what extent does their output reflect what they’re capable of keeping in mind what the buying public demands? Are they producing anything at the high end like Germany did?
    Personally, the only goods I see them excel at are the ones they’ve had mastered since antiquity: silk floss and pottery.

    *The Europeans were in a race with each other to be the first nation to recreate porcelain aka china with the kings offering huge sums of money and in the case of Saxony, the winner, possibly imprisonment. France came along soon after with Sevres.

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  27. Geezer says:

    The dominant military power of each modern period has been the dominant manufacturing power. That meant the UK until around 1900 and the U.S. until around 2000.

    Don’t think its ever quite that simple. Britain was the dominant naval power but never the dominant military power overall.

    On December 10th, 1941 the Japanese sunk the Prince of Wales and Repulse in just a few hours ending British naval power in the Pacific

    Thats also about context. If Britain hadnt already been fighting Germany a Japanese attempt to push the RN out of the Pacific would have been a very different prospect.

    The Japanese expansion in 1941 was a massive gamble that could only be tried because the French & Dutch were out of the game and Britain had its hands full.

    (Its one of those ‘what if’ games. If Britain had made peace with Germany in 1940 would Japan have risked Pearl Harbor etc at all? Fighting the combined USN & RN would have been way too much to try)

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  28. Lurker says:

    As someone who is old enough to have lived through the “Japan is going to take over the world” mania in the 1980s, I find something deja vu about it.

    I remember that too. It was never really on though, there just arent enough Japanese to go round for one thing.

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  29. Whiskey says: • Website

    Asias lack of pushing native tech like firearms was a function of rigid society hostile to innovation that reshapes social class. Japan only after WWII destroyed the influence of the Samurai class got Honda and Sony and thing like cds, video recorders for consumers, the Walkman.

    The West so far has been more adopt things like firearms, dump feudal armies, to gain advantage while keeping the Greek, Roman, Celtic, German core values intact. Firearm Europe was still Christian even if Knights and Chivalry were gone. China kept the mass oeasant feudal army.

    China is horrifically fragile. FT had a review of a book on modern China today. About 2,500 people rule the place based on rising prosperity with roiling social hatred just below the surface. Old Cultural Revolution scores have yet to be sttled and grudges continue into next generations.

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  30. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Chinese may become the mandatory second language for everyone (as English is now).

    Is that Steve Hsu writing? Maybe that’s just me but his obsessive sinophilia is quite unsettling. The guy was born in Iowa, for Christ’s sake! He owes his entire well-being to genetics and USA – if people like him cannot fully assimilate, what are the prospects for the rest???

    In any case, that’s just a delusion. “Chinese” will never become lingua franca for the simple reason that it is too difficult to learn.

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  31. Priss Factor [AKA "Welcome to the fruitkin world."] says:
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  32. “It remains to be seen if China can produce books, movies, songs, etc. that the rest of the world yearns for. ”

    By 2025, it will be possible to create photorealistic GCI. By 2050, this could be done very cheaply and completely replace actors, even voice actors. China will certainly dominate culturally at that point. They don’t need attractive men when they can just use a computer to tailor their films to particular markets with photorealistic computer graphics.

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  33. old salt says:

    PLA(N) can never challenge the USN in both of their current forms. A conscript force was kind of okay for massive attritional battles a century ago but it’s completely unworkable for something as technical and free form as a modern networked battle at sea. Both the US and the Chinese acknowledge that the biggest factor in a conflict inside the third island chain is which will run out first, their ships or our submarines torpedoes? The USN historically has been able to take a shellacking and still come back to bury the enemy. The USN can psychologically handle losing a carrier and the 4700 sailors onboard and remain in the fight. A couple Chinese flotillas get sunk by SSNs and I predict a total meltdown of discipline in the remaining forces

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  34. “With China, to what extent does their output reflect what they’re capable of keeping in mind what the buying public demands? Are they producing anything at the high end like Germany did?”

    Did Japan in the 1950s? Don’t kid yourself with the notion that this country, whose tech industry is already heavily dependent on Asian (Chinese) immigrants, will dominate forever because “we’re Western…or something.”

    “Personally, the only goods I see them excel at are the ones they’ve had mastered since antiquity: silk floss and pottery”

    Well, then you need to look harder because they’ve easily mastered the art of making computers like the one you are typing on now (and everything else). Considering their large population and higher average IQ (which will only increase with higher nutritional standards), it doesn’t take much to believe that some of the companies that will sell you a computer in the future will be Chinese.

    “I think the idea of the future balkanized America fighting a carrier war is very far-fetched.”

    Agreed. It’s crazy to think that whites (future minorities in a nation that hates them) will run gangbusters to get killed and chopped up in a future imperial war against China. China is not just rising the way many believe. America is concomitantly falling, or will sooner than people think.

    Many Westerners delude themselves with the notion that China’s government is unstable, that at any moment it will come apart and, somehow, ‘Merica will rule the world forever. I would posit that the Chinese governmental system is not only far superior to the American model but will far outlive it. Already, the US is about to descend into a one-party tyranny as whites are overwhelmed at the voting booth – all the result of giving every rube a vote. Emboldened, the radical left has been salivating at curbing freedoms that they don’t like (Hobby Lobby) while their president ignores laws he doesn’t care to enforce.

    “History says that military power cannot be separated from real economic power.”

    “History says it can. Sparta and Soviet Union quickly despite military might.”

    History says it can’t. The Soviet military machine extracted disproportionate wealth from the economy; it was never really representative of Soviet economic strength. When their economy finally crashed, so did the Soviet Union and its military. Russia remained very weak for decades afterward. China, on the other hand, has been rapidly modernizing its military. Don’t believe anyone when they tell you we could easily defeat them. By 2020, they’ll have a fully modern navy with some of the world’s most high-tech weapons, Chinese and Russian. The could easily sink a few carriers at that point, perhaps even now. The growing Chinese military is representative of growing Chinese economic strength in a way that the Soviet military was not.

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  35. “The creativity of Americans in the 19th century is phenomenal and when you consider England and America together, it is awe-inspiring.”

    American “creativity” is becoming increasingly irrelevant in a world where is takes dozens of scientists years or decades to come up with the next revolutionary new thing. Think about it. When was the last time something truly awe-inspiring was invented out of a basement in the US, besides the Snuggie or the Shamwow? In fact, I think that is used as a bit of a cop out for those who desperately want to believe ‘Merica will dominate forever.

    In the 1960s and 70s, people could create computer companies out of stuff in their garage. To some extent, you can still innovate like that (Facebook) but not technologically, not in the same way. You don’t design computers on the back of an envelope. It takes years and teams of individuals – teamwork.

    Due to increasingly sophisticated technology and the monumental efforts required to advance it, the era of individualism is going to be replaced in short order by the era of collectivism, which Asians excel at. Nations that best work together and pool their intellectually efforts and social trust will dominate. Which nations do you think could do that? Certainly not the Balkanized West.

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  36. “PLA(N) can never challenge the USN in both of their current forms.”

    Based on what? Your word? Never say never. The PLA (N) could certainly challenge the USN in the near future, especially considering Chinese home filed advantage and the growing resources put into its navy.

    “A conscript force was kind of okay for massive attritional battles a century ago but it’s completely unworkable for something as technical and free form as a modern networked battle at sea”

    Completely irrelevant in an era where technology rules. Furthermore, the Chinese have made great progress getting away from that model. It’s only a matter of time, which some apparently cannot comprehend, before the Chinese are stronger. In any case, a conscript army is basically what the US has.

    “Both the US and the Chinese acknowledge that the biggest factor in a conflict inside the third island chain”

    …is time. Don’t think that the Chinese military of 2030 will be the same as the Chinese military of 2014 or that the Chinese military 2014 is the same as even 2000′s military. By 2020, the Chinese will have enough strength to do real damage. By 2030, they likely will be far more powerful than the US militarily.

    “The USN historically has been able to take a shellacking and still come back to bury the enemy.”

    In 1941….against an economically weaker country with a smaller population dependent on American oil supplies. You might want to check up on current demographics and economics. The Chinese just signed a big gas deal with Russia thanks to American belligerence and incompetence. That will help shield them from US energy sanctions in the event of a war.

    “The USN can psychologically handle losing a carrier and the 4700 sailors onboard and remain in the fight”

    Probably not. Some of those carriers have up to 6000 people on board. That’s more than all the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in 10 years. Multiply that by two, three, or four in the current (and future) environment of public hostility to military intervention, and I think the country could break and sue for peace after just a few major losses.

    “A couple Chinese flotillas get sunk by SSNs and I predict a total meltdown of discipline in the remaining forces”

    Here’s my prediction: the Chinese inflict heavy losses and the US sues for peace as soon as the public starts to go wild in the streets with hatred for the US government for killing so many. The Chinese, very nationalistic, are more likely to fight to the death the way the Japanese did than suffer humiliation at the hands of the Americans – far more likely than the multicultural US armed forces which are overwhelmingly made up of minimum wage mercenaries who only joined up for the paycheck or to pay for college.

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  37. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “China’s ability to produce globally competitive goods.”

    Steve, what do your connections tell you about where the irons used by Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson are forged? The consumer versions of those sticks are made in China, but what about the tour versions?

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  38. “Its one of those ‘what if’ games. If Britain had made peace with Germany in 1940 would Japan have risked Pearl Harbor etc at all? Fighting the combined USN & RN would have been way too much to try”

    Would Britain have been obligated to go to war for the US in that event? Probably not. I doubt they would have anyway. In any case, I think Japan did well for itself, despite losing. The RN wouldn’t have made as much of a difference in any case.

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  39. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    So the price of a salad has gone through the roof. Evidently mass uncontrolled hispanic immigration counts for very very little as far as US economic output concerned even something as trivial and worthless as a lettuce.

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  40. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Actually the USA is a net importer of manufactured goods and a net exporter of primary products particularly farm products.

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  41. old salt says:

    I can’t format as well as you on my android, I’m sorry in advance.

    Average Chinese sailor has either 1 or 0 work ups and deployments under his belt. That’s pathetic. There are two big operational cycles for them every year that the DIA and ONI can set their watch too. By the end of the calender year they have to release those now slightly less raw conscripts and start with an entire new batch. By contrast, take a FC in the USN. Two years of training, more than most Chinese officers. Usually a six year commitment after that. So on an AEGIS shooter, the guy at the very rock bottom of the kill chain has got more sea time and more simulated engagements than all but the most senior Chinese officers. You can’t drop a draftee in front of a fusion suite of phased array radars and EA and get a good result.

    Time is the absolute enemy for the Chinese tactically and strategically. They are looking down the barrel of demographic collapse while militarily they bring zero near future game changers to the table. DF 21? There is a reason the Russians never tried killing CVNs with ballistic missiles. Suffice to say a carrier at flank speed can get out of the way of nearly anything in 45 minutes. Their most innovative stuff are updates of 40 year old Russian SSMs. How does the PLA(N) deal with the upcoming deployment of all electric, rail gun armed cruisers and battleships? It’s got nothing now or in the future to deal with that. And that technology is only 8 or 10 years from full up sea trials. They can’t take the USN in the next 8 years even at their current rate of buildup and they have a snowball’s chance after BBNs and fractal recognition hypersonic cruise missiles and a half dozen other nasty DARPA stories reach maturity in about a decade.

    USN battle reliance has been demonstrated more recently than 1941. If you want a carrier, look at the CVN 72 back in, I think 2009. Any other navy has a big deck with a mass conflagration on multiple points of the main deck and they are abandoning ship. Obviously that didn’t happen in our case. Or look at the USS Cole. The ships the British lost in the Falklands took a fraction of the beating the Cole endured. Yet the Cole is still in commissioned service and all those British ships are at the bottom of the sea. Look at pictures of the battle damage to both, you’ll see what I mean. Any other navy and the Cole would be a reef.

    The Chinese have no way to inflict a crippling loss on the US 7th fleet. The CAW can strike with impunity from beyond the range of their most capable weapons and our submarines are so dominant that the PLA(N) doesn’t even invest in ASW because they know they can’t cover the spread. I think you don’t appreciate how deadly our SSNs, DCA AEGIS and datalinks are. We’re talking about a single AEGIS action group and battle group deleting the majority of the PLA(AF) within four to six days. And we have eleven of those. And an air force of our own.

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  42. ….

    Carrier wars.

    Han population aging.

    Chinese language speculation.

    China movie powerhouse.

    Peking party politics.

    Heh.

    None of those matter. No matter what China becomes or does, it will mean nothing for so long as our Dear Rulers insist on maintaining and ramping up their present Import the Third World Open Borders/Legal Immigration/Refugee Resettlement/Compulsory Diversity/Quantitative Easing/Department of Offense Interventionist Wars/Bloated Welfare Rolls/Bail Out Wall Street Oligarchs/Free Trade/Widening Inequality Gap policies, because the U.S. will have become a rotten place in which to have to endure living. It’ll have become like ‘Idiocracy.’

    But. Not. One. Bit. Funny.

    In fact the U.S. has already become a lot less comfortable, a lot less pleasant, a lot less recognizable as The Bulwark of Western Civilization than it was for us to live in up to about 1975. Does anyone here honestly expect that our Dear Rulers will change their course and abruptly remove us from their Bend Over Heavily Lubed slide to National Suicide?

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  43. Priss Factor [AKA "cinco"] says:
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  44. “Tangentially, does it seem like restaurant prices are going through the roof? A Cobb or chef salad at a diner now seems to start at $13.95. And how much am I supposed to be tipping these days?”

    If food commodity prices are noticeably driving up restaurant prices, it’s because the restaurants are using a fixed multiplier of their ingredient costs to price their dishes. In the UK it’s x6, per Jamie Oliver – a £12 meal cost the restaurant £2 in ingredients. The UK final list price includes VAT, overheads are higher here, and UK staff are not paid mostly from tips AFAIK, so the multiplier may be lower in the US.

    Tipping – I saw a US restauranteur, in California I believe, boast about his 18% compulsory service charge & tipping ban as saving customers money. He said the average tip was 22%. When I was in south-east USA I was told the expected tip was 15%, but I’ve not been back in a few years. In the UK expected tip is 10% and probably averages around 12%; places with a 12% service charge tend to meet resistance.

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  45. “The notion that America has some inevitable advantage in “creativity” is popular, but I have a hard time even defining “creativity,” so I don’t put all that much faith in this theory of American dominance.”

    I would expect that the USA will retain a dominant cultural influence (movies, entertainment, political ideas), as Greece did in the Roman Empire. Probably the US will remain more culturally dominant than Greece re Rome; Roman Law and political ideas were more influential than Greek, whereas China is very un-universalist.

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  46. Mr. Blank says:

    Biggest reason I doubt the “China will rule the world” thesis: They are not an expansionist culture and never have been. Can anybody imagine China undertaking massive wars for no good reason other than to evangelize foreigners to adopt the Chinese way? For better or worse, Western nations have routinely engaged in this sort of thing for their whole recorded history. I don’t think the Chinese have ever done this beyond their immediate geographic region, and even then it has mostly been to secure the rights of other ethnic Chinese.

    My reading about Chinese history is somewhat limited, but to the best of my knowledge, there is not and never has been a strong missionary impulse in Chinese culture. This doesn’t preclude the possibility that China could eventually play a much larger role on the world stage, but I find it hard to envision a world that revolves around China, simply because they seem powerfully uninterested in adopting the in-your-face bossiness that comes so naturally to Westerners. Try and picture Beijing blithely announcing that henceforth, all governments in — Africa, let’s say — shall adopt the Chinese model lock, stock and barrel (at least for appearance’s sake) or else be regarded as illegitimate. Western societies have never had any qualms about pushing people around like that, but I’ve never noticed it from the Chinese. As long as their ethnic compatriots are well-treated, the issue doesn’t register with them.

    Raw economic power is related to, but not perfectly identical with political power. (Italy and Greece continue to exercise political muscle that is completely out of proportion to their actual economic or military strength, and they’ve both been out of the running for centuries.) Until I start seeing Chinese leaders and thinkers routinely arguing that the rest of the world has some kind of moral duty to adopt the Chinese way — a line of thinking which comes naturally to Westerners and which has played a big role in the West’s dominance — I’ll be doubtful about the predictions of the coming “Age of China.”

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  47. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Who wants to be like China? I guess India might look wistfully across the border at China’s superior infrastructure and consistently higher economic growth, but wouldn’t most countries aspire to be more like, say, Germany?

    I think a lot of this is moot. It’s no secret that current American policies such as importing poverty are… ungood. Even India gets that, which is why it’s vigilant about illegal immigration from Bangladesh. And I’m sure Indian leaders also grok the benefits of better infrastructure. But they can’t become China, because they don’t have China’s homogeneity, it’s long history of autocratic order, etc. So I don’t think there are any useful lessons India or others can draw from America’s relative decline.

    It’s also worth remembering the challenges of extrapolating from current trends. It’s possible America will right its ship. It’s also possible China will fizzle out.

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  48. dearieme says:

    The idea of the US as especially creative in the 19th and early 20th century seems to me to be wrong, and to miss the point of what the US was outstandingly good at, which was production on a large scale, pursued with great energy.

    For example, Ford didn’t, as far as I know, make any significant advance in motor-car design, nor did he invent mass production. But by golly he combined mass production with product-simplification to produce decent vehicles at low cost in huge volumes, in a way that added up to a real, and rapid, step forward. In fact, I wonder whether the software decades are the first time that you could plausibly point to the US as the leading source of creativity. That they should coincide with the US having the air of an empire in decline would then be one of histories ironies.

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  49. FWIW says:

    It’s not just GDP but also GDP per capita. China has 1.3 billion people. 4 times the US. Once they get rich enough they will start having all the problems that mature Western economies have.

    The Chinese have a top 5% of 65 million people who are roughly as wealthy as upper middle class Americans. Yes, this stuff is simple, obvious arithmetic. But they may soon get to a point where they a subset of their population roughly the size of the United States and equally wealthy. Don’t forget that 50% of Chinese are below average. We just don’t see the peasants and slackers in the US.

    The wealthy Chinese want what Americans want. Some of it they have. Like Western luxury goods that can simply be purchased. Other stuff can’t be easily bought, like freedom of speech. Or basic environmental regulation. They have to move out of China to get it in their lifetime. They also want to learn English — someone said that there will be more English speakers in China than in the USA in a decade. Elite Chinese are happy to migrate to a much greater extent than comparable Americans.

    If you haven’t seen it, look at the various ghost cities and developments in China. They had a dysfunctional economy since before WW II. So they had nothing 20-30 years ago and anything they built was a huge improvement and likely a good investment. Capital allocation was easy and could be done with a heavy hand by centralized government. Build airports — sure. High speed rail, check. The first couple of hundred million apartments — people were lined up to buy.

    Future growth will be more difficult. Not to say it won’t happen — but not at anything like the same rate as the recent past.

    As far as manufacturing, the US is still a world giant. The problems in the US seem more serious than they are due to the visibility of the loss of US manufacturing jobs and the visibility of consumer goods that are low tech commodities. China didn’t surpass the US until sometime between 2010 and 2012 (roughly), and isn’t much larger than the US now. And, manufacturing jobs in the US are disappearing much faster than manufacturing output. The US has much more invested capital per worker than China. So any idea that America can’t produce enough stuff doesn’t hold up to close analysis.

    It is too easy for Americans to fully appreciate its advantages compared to the rest of the world. The relative position of the US was unprecedented and unsustainable after WW II. The fact that its wealth is declining relative to the rest of the world is inevitable — but we still produce a huge chunk of the world’s GDP (over 20%), with a much smaller fraction of the world’s population.

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  50. dearieme says:

    Oops, “history’s”.

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  51. Mr. Blank says:

    Even if a Chinese-centric world does come to pass, I’m still pretty sanguine about it.

    Accumulated cultural capital is nothing to sneeze at. Watching “Game of Thrones” a few weeks back, it occurred to me how so many Europeans have built spectacularly lucrative careers in the entertainment world by essentially becoming Professional European Foreigners, trading on the cultural capital of white European civilization.

    When you really think about it, there is no logical reason that a completely imaginary realm like Tolkien’s Middle Earth shouldn’t be populated entirely by blacks sporting gold chains and speaking with ghetto accents. But you could never make a successful movie based on that simply because of the overwhelming historic cultural assumption that any reasonably civilized, non-psychotic world will have a white, European, vaguely Christian character.

    Hell, American audiences would revolt at a “Game of Thrones” world with a single recognizably American character.

    In turn, America’s current global cultural influence is so massive that even in a Chinese-dominated world, it seems probable that Americans — white and black Americans, anyway — will be able to coast on America’s fumes for centuries. (Americans of other ethnicities … not so much.) They’d probably hate to hear this over at The Root, but I’ll bet you dollars to doughnuts that 100 years from now, in the hypothetical Chinese-dominated future, black Americans will still be able to amass huge fortunes by flashing gold teeth, adopting a gangsta swagger, and threatnin’ to put a cap in yo ass.

    And Italian Americans will still be able to make bank by putting on sharkskin suits and pretending to be in the Mafia. And Southerners will still be able to finance retirement villas by putting on Stetson hats and six-shooters and pretending to lay down the righteous law in some dusty frontier outpost. And Midwesterners will still be able to purchase yachts by donning leather jackets and sunglasses and pretending to be divorced, lone-wolf cops unafraid to break a few rules in order to clean up the streets.

    Wasn’t it Adam Smith who said “there is a great deal of ruin in a nation?” France still rakes in a ton of dough for doing nothing more than “being France” and producing French people. You can market any old crap in the U.S. by droning on about its “British heritage.” (I think Americans buy more crappy British cars than any nation other than Britain.) If I had any talent for entrepreneurship, I’d be out there trying to build a business based on somehow providing Chinese consumers with an “authentic” American experience. (Isn’t that basically Buick’s Chinese marketing approach?) Hey, it’s paid off pretty well for Europe…

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  52. Since at least 1800, history has been primarily linear, not cyclical

    - and declining innovation rates (especially in key areas) (due to declining intelligence in European populations, who provided most of the geniuses – amongst other things) means that we have been since c1970 on our way out of the industrial revolution and back towards some kind of agrarian economy.

    (After which history will eventually become cyclical again – but that ‘eventually’ may take a looong time. Or, may be terrifyingly rapid…)

    So, if/ when China becomes the dominant world power, there will NOT be many parallels with the rise of the UK or the USA.

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  53. Anonym says:

    Geezer, that’s a really interesting take. My thoughts were that Japan gambled on the war because they needed the oil (e.g. because of the impacts of the McCollum memo policy) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCollum_memo.

    I did not realize that they seized an opportunity with Britain having its hands full with Germany, but it makes sense.

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  54. @Anonymous
    Chinese may become the mandatory second language for everyone (as English is now).

    Is that Steve Hsu writing? Maybe that's just me but his obsessive sinophilia is quite unsettling. The guy was born in Iowa, for Christ's sake! He owes his entire well-being to genetics and USA - if people like him cannot fully assimilate, what are the prospects for the rest???

    In any case, that's just a delusion. "Chinese" will never become lingua franca for the simple reason that it is too difficult to learn.

    No, it’s not by Steve Hsu.

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  55. Sunbeam says:

    Divine Right wrote:

    “By 2025, it will be possible to create photorealistic GCI. By 2050, this could be done very cheaply and completely replace actors, even voice actors. China will certainly dominate culturally at that point.”

    It will happen a lot faster than that. Check out some of the recent games.

    At that point though, I’m not sure anyone will dominate “movie making.” A lot of of it is the infrastructure and the “street cred” you have to have to get a movie made (capital up front).

    I’m always struck by how creative and clever people are on youtube. I really don’t think there is some kind of … mad skill or something you need to write for movies. Most of the scripts seem pretty stupid.

    Actually if you read the synopsis of a lot of movies on a site like IMDB, they seem really simplistic without a lot happening. If you compare movies to a book, or some of the things I’ve seen pulled off with comic books, they seem horribly limited as a medium for storytelling.

    Then again with computer technology like you are describing, movies will be able to bust through the 2+ hour limit imposed by the way we watch them. You’ll finally be able to tell a complicated story because you aren’t limited by having to appeal to a wide audience, and having everything self-contained in one movie. (for the most part, there are some multi-part movies like Lord of the Rings, but they are uncommon)

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  56. Sunbeam says:

    Just for the heck of it, I’m putting a link here from the last Metal Gear Solid game.

    Senator Armstrong had a better speech than anything I’ve seen in a Hollywood movie.

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  57. Xavier R says:

    Has anyone read comparisons of China vs USA military spending? While USA spends ~48% of total military expenditures worldwide, I’ve read high level stuff suggesting when you adjust for our higher personnel expenses, Chinese and American hardware expenditures are comparable. Ive never seen a detailed analysis of this point so take it fwiw ….

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  58. yulva says:

    Robert Kaplan’s Asia’s Cauldron: The South China Sea and the End of a Stable Pacific…

    Quotes…

    Over the last decade, the center of world power has been quietly shifting from Europe to Asia. With oil reserves of several billion barrels, an estimated nine hundred trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and several centuries’ worth of competing territorial claims, the South China Sea in particular is a simmering pot of potential conflict. The underreported military buildup in the area where the Western Pacific meets the Indian Ocean means that it will likely be a hinge point for global war and peace for the foreseeable future.

    In Asia’s Cauldron, Robert D. Kaplan offers up a vivid snapshot of the nations surrounding the South China Sea, the conflicts brewing in the region at the dawn of the twenty-first century, and their implications for global peace and stability. One of the world’s most perceptive foreign policy experts, Kaplan interprets America’s interests in Asia in the context of an increasingly assertive China. He explains how the region’s unique geography fosters the growth of navies but also impedes aggression. And he draws a striking parallel between China’s quest for hegemony in the South China Sea and the United States’ imperial adventure in the Caribbean more than a century ago.

    To understand the future of conflict in East Asia, Kaplan argues, one must understand the goals and motivations of its leaders and its people. Part travelogue, part geopolitical primer, Asia’s Cauldron takes us on a journey through the region’s boom cities and ramshackle slums: from Vietnam, where the superfueled capitalism of the erstwhile colonial capital, Saigon, inspires the geostrategic pretensions of the official seat of government in Hanoi, to Malaysia, where a unique mix of authoritarian Islam and Western-style consumerism creates quite possibly the ultimate postmodern society; and from Singapore, whose “benevolent autocracy” helped foster an economic miracle, to the Philippines, where a different brand of authoritarianism under Ferdinand Marcos led not to economic growth but to decades of corruption and crime.

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  59. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    - ‘creativity’ isn’t really a national/regional advantage today that it would have been in, say, the 1800s or earlier. If you make a discovery now, it’s for a globalised megacorp which will quickly bundle the idea off to China (or wherever) for implementation. Or it will be otherwise copied since images, ideas etc can spread globally and instantly now (it took no time at all for Russia or China to make clones patterned on US stealth fighters, for instance). Compared to the 1km a year or whatever it took for agriculture to spread supposedly. I also agree that, being less ‘vibrant’, there’s a knack for working together, industriousness, & making continuous iterative improvements to tech in the east, that will serve them very well in the future.

    - It’s definitely a good thing that China’s political system will gain credibility, it will shake up the ‘freedom, democracy, diversity’ BS that has already caused so much damage in the West. I don’t doubt that soon ppl here will be looking with envy on the more homogeneous countries in the east as they continue to succeed & this discussion will penetrate mainstream media & discussion, IMO. Already some good books about the ‘Beijing consensus’ out there.

    - re. culture & movies, & I’m not sure that, say, Japan didn’t already have quite a big effect with its animation, comics, video game industries. Just look at all the western ‘Otakus’ (it’s even widespread in eastern europe now). Or the obsessions with stuff like ninjas, samurai, katanas. Probably video games are more important than movies in the future, at least as far as culture goes, there isn’t much ‘cultural’ about dumb people flocking to watch the latest light-and-noise show (Transformers) IMO anyway… (note anyway the original transformers were animated in Japan & as an idea were a western import of the japanese ‘big robot’ cartoons/toys…). So I’d expect China to have a greater impact (given its size).

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  60. What’s up with this unexamined “demographic collapse” BS on this post? How has overpopulation benefited India, for example? I know a lot of Steve’s readers have a reflexive bias against anything that smacks of an environmental argument, but the reality is that China neither needs nor can sustain 1.2 billion + people. Even taking over control of chunks of Africa’s resources is not a solution. The US at its most powerful did not have a population density that China does by a long shot. Continuous growth works only if you are going to start imperial adventures. If that’s what China has on tap, we’re talking another conversation. Perhaps the Africa arrangement, where China colonizes economically but physically, might be that conversation, but an internal population matter that some of the posters here imply is being tossed out without any real grounds.

    If China plays its cards right and doesn’t turn too much of its economy into a consumer growth model like the US has, it will be fine.

    I don’t see a parallel with Spenglerian/David P Goldmanian demographic disasters like Iran and Russia. China isn’t in the midst of some existential/spiritual crisis.

    This idea that the only way a mature country sustains itself is by creating exponentially more consumers is hogwash.

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  61. Skeptic says:

    I realize that isteve is mostly secular, but one wonders if the real future of china will not be determined by the fact that they aren’t Christian, don’t seem like they want to become Christian, and thus lack the high social trust and relative altruism thAt Christianity imparts? How much of western democracy and mixed economies are based upon this trust? My gut tells me that when china has to drive the bus, rather than just be a rambunctious passenger, they will find out quickly that they forgot to learn and master a couple of important lessons.

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  62. Dahlia says:

    Dearime, I think, captured what the Americans excelled at: efficiency with great energy.

    Divineright, calm down, I was not putting down China. When I write of silk floss and pottery, I was thinking of their contributions as the Rolls-Royces in those areas, especially in silk. With those particular items, pride comes through showing that they got *it* and that potential has been there a long time. As I asked in looking at their output, what is “China” and what is acquiescence to declining demand for higher quality?

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  63. Anonym says:

    I think some putting down of the crack pipe is in order here. There is no way that the US and China are going to have a war that does not involve nukes, ergo, no war will take place.

    And yes, the China hype seems seriously reminiscent of the Japan hype of the 1980s. China has a major real estate bubble. Wage growth keeps growing – doubling every 5 years it seems. That can’t keep going forever. And the USD is still needed to purchase most oil AFAIK. As long as that is maintained, other countries will need to still produce something that US consumers want, and the Fed can continue to create dollars out of thin air.

    Solar power is going to start seriously cutting into that though. As cost/watt keeps dropping and efficiency keeps increasing, energy is going to get cheaper and cheaper. This revolution is going to have the sort of impacts that computers have had over the last 30 years. Gasoline will only be used for long trips, daily commutes will be achieved with rooftop solar.

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  64. bossel says:

    @ Mr. Blank: “They are not an expansionist culture and never have been.”

    China didn’t get so big by peaceful means (cultural diffusion or whatever). Many of the later conquests – eg. Tibet & Xinjiang – were under Manchu rule, but still. Just because they didn’t have colonies similar to some European countries doesn’t mean they didn’t conquer.

    “because they seem powerfully uninterested in adopting the in-your-face bossiness that comes so naturally to Westerners”
    Hmm, ask the Vietnamese & Filipinos (among others) about that.

    Whether China will “rule” the world is largely unrelated to that, anyway. This “ruling” is more about cultural & economic domination.
    For that to become reality the Chinese have to overcome some major obstacles. The biggest one might be a rapidly aging society.
    No one knows the future…

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  65. Matt says:

    What’s up with this unexamined “demographic collapse” BS on this post? How has overpopulation benefited India, for example? I know a lot of Steve’s readers have a reflexive bias against anything that smacks of an environmental argument, but the reality is that China neither needs nor can sustain 1.2 billion + people.

    The issue is not the number of people. The issue is the number of old people. China might well benefit from being smaller, but fertility rates falling off a cliff doesn’t just shrink the population in place, it inverts the population pyramid. Over the medium-term, China’s TFR of 1.58 is going to result in a population which is still too large and in the billions, and to boot they’ll mostly be geriatrics.

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  66. Anonymn:
    “I think some putting down of the crack pipe is in order here….

    …Solar power is going to start seriously cutting into that though. As cost/watt keeps dropping and efficiency keeps increasing, energy is going to get cheaper and cheaper. ”

    Hmm. >:)

    While I don’t think much of the prospects for solar power replacing fossil fuels, I do agree that a direct China/US war is probably unlikely; the US has never attacked a nuclear power and China won’t directly attack the US. There is a small chance that a Chinese conflict with Taiwan, Japan, or other US ally could pull in the US though. Historically nuclear powers don’t attack other nuclear powers, but they may be attacked by non-nuclear powers, eg the Argentine invasion of Britain’s Falkland Islands. As long as it is not an existential threat to the nuclear power, the non-nuclear power can bet that there won’t be a nuclear response.

    But China knows that China won’t win a symmetrical conventional war with the US; Chinese forces are geared to defending against the US in a Korean War type scenario, they are not geared to force projection vs the US like Japan in WW2.

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  67. Dahlia says:

    I think Unz and the writer are probably correct. In the near term, I don’t know, but I suspect the mantle will be passed from the West to China, or Asia at any rate.

    Porcelain, silk, and, as I alluded to in a thread about Darwin, roses, all of which the Chinese invented or greatly innovated, exemplify a deeply intelligent and strongly conservative impulse. For example, they invented porcelain and it was the standard practice for the slip to be aged over generations for whiteness and translucency.

    As a conservative’s conservative, I have great respect. As the West’s liberalism has turned malignant, I can’t think of a better prescription than the wise conservatism Asia offered a millenium ago.

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  68. Jay says:

    This post is comment bait, but I’ll bite, as someone who lives in Hong Kong, has a large family of Chinese in-laws, goes to China, etc.

    China’s demographics are more dire and more deeply dysgenic than America’s; its political system is unable to allow efficient allocation of resources in the long term; its government spends more resources on suppressing internal dissent than on military power projection.

    Most cruciall,y China;s culture and history are limited by the habits of obedience to authority and distortions thereof. If the West is disadvantaged by rancid Christianity (the impulse to pity strangers) this nevertheless seems to me more productive than the deeply ingrained habits of obedience in East Asia. (There is a lot of soul-searching in Korea these days, following the recent ferry disaster, in which most of the students died because they obeyed the captain against their own instincts; China is not even at this stage yet.)

    I dislike what America has become as much as anyone here, but that dislike leads some people here to cheer too readily and even blindly for cultures and countries (Japan, China, Russia) of which they know nothing. There is no antidote for the US, and there is no escape (because you will not be able to become Chinese or Japanese). Cultural decadence began and blossomed during the height of the Cold War. A conflict with China, or China’s success, will not be exemplary to the US. No one can fix American culture but us.

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  69. Mr. Anon says:

    “Anonym says:
    July 1, 2014 at 9:25 am

    I think some putting down of the crack pipe is in order here. There is no way that the US and China are going to have a war that does not involve nukes, ergo, no war will take place.”

    Don’t count on it. There were those prior to 1914 who claimed that war between the European powers had become impossible – unthinkable. They were spectacularly and disastrously wrong. Weapons eventually get used. This will be no different with nuclear weapons.

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  70. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    Simon in London wrote:

    “While I don’t think much of the prospects for solar power replacing fossil fuels,”

    What stops it? Depending on exactly what you wanted to do (no storage for running your lights at night for example) it’s already pretty close to the kw production cost of fossil fuels.

    What pushes it into expensive territory is storage (batteries and some less useful things like thermal storage), and inverters which you mainly need because of all these devices that are built for AC.

    There is no show stopper to having a refrigerator powered by DC current. You can buy one for your 18 wheeler right now (main people that buy this kind of thing). In many cases you also pick up some efficiency because your device no longer has to convert AC to DC again.

    The energy is there. We have the space. The cost of panels is coming down yearly, and probably has a decade or two to go. And that is just gains from manufacturing and volume improvements, not accounting for a real technological innovation.

    The US already has a couple of Superconducting transmission lines, and heck HVDC can send over lengths of a 1000 miles or so with only 10$ losses anyway. And really HVDC is good enough on it’s own to distribute energy over CONUS. Well if we had a little… central coordination.

    The big deal is storage of electrical energy. You pretty much have to believe this is not solvable to say solar will never replace fossil fuels.

    And if I were Supreme Dictator, I could make a workable society by just telling people no lights at night, and smelters work from 10 to 3 every day. Wouldn’t be a very fun society, but it would be one that could keep advancing technology. Which in the end is the most important thing at this stage in history.

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  71. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “Despite renewed threats from nuclear North Korea, missile stockpiling in China and a standoff between China and Japan over a small string of islands, the head of the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet {Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear III} has declared the greatest threat to long-term peace in the region is climate change.”

    “Locklear’s comments come after the Department of Defense released a Quadrennial Defense Review in which it described the shifting global climate as a national security threat and “accelerant of instability and conflict,” placing the burden of response on militaries around the world.”

    “The U.S. military has also adopted a variety of clean energy projects in an effort to green its image and reduce the armed services’ carbon footprint.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/climate-change_n_2855007.html

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  72. If you have actually been to either China or India you will recognize that the vast majority of these places is third world, like Somalia (no offense to Somalis). People there are not smarter than black or white Americans. If you go to Asia you will meet your fair share of dumb and ghetto people. The reason Americans think Asians are smart is because of the brain drain pattern of immigration, for example H1B workers.

    I am originally from north China, nobody there wants to ‘take over’ the US although they’d like to clone to American suburban lifestyle within their own country. Most Chinese are concerned about stuff like the quality of tap water, which sucks there, and getting their kid into college.

    Think again, Chinese are not interested in colonizing the world or taking up a world mantle of leadership. They’re just interested in getting respect like a normal country, such as Japan or European countries, instead of constantly being lambasted for being Communist and being subject to onerous travel / visa restrictions.

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  73. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    A couple of other thoughts about China:

    – There seems to be an inherent conflict between Chinese greed and Chinese national pride. China’s recent assertiveness re maritime claims has been linked to interest in offshore oil fields, but China has profited far more from trade than it likely will from some offshore oil field, and US naval hegemony in the western pacific has been a huge boon to East Asian trade. If China replaces the US as the naval hegemon there, that would put a damper on trade between former enemies such as China and Japan. It may also spur the rebirth of Japan as a military super power.

    – There is also the question of whether Chinese can create a 1st world country at China’s scale. They’ve done it in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, but the largest of those countries has a population of ~23 million.

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  74. Nick Diaz says:

    @countenance

    “As someone who is old enough to have lived through the “Japan is going to take over the world” mania in the 1980s, I find something deja vu about it.”

    And Japan, a country the size of California with only 125 million people, achieved a GDP back in 1990 that was 80% as large as the U.S’.

    Now imagine a continente-sized country with a population literally an order of magnitude larger, and with a population just as fanatically industrious as the Japanese, but even smarter. Go ask the Japanese what they think of Chinese intelligence.

    The “hype” surrounding China is extremely justified. It would take something miraculous to happen for China to NOT surpass the U.S as the most powerful economy in the World. Saying that this won’t happen because they said the same about Japan back in the 1970′s and 1980′s and it didn’t happen is faulty thinking, because:

    1. Japan is MUCH smaller than China in population(population size matters when it comes to sheer GDP size.

    2. Despite being so small, Japan did achieve a GDP at one point well more than half that of the U.S

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  75. Geezer says:

    Would Britain have been obligated to go to war for the US in that event? Probably not. I doubt they would have anyway. In any case, I think Japan did well for itself, despite losing. The RN wouldn’t have made as much of a difference in any case.

    My assumption was the Japanese attack in this alternate 1941 still included attacking Singapore and threatening Australia and thus Britain would still have been in a war with Japan. But if they had confined the attack to Dutch & French colonies and attacking the US, well , then the RN might not be in the fight.

    Of course it would also mean a US that wasn’t fighting Germany with all that implies. Another reason why this alternate 1941 might not have seen a Pearl Harbor attack.

    Pearl Harbor was not about actually defeating the USN, it was to neutralize the USN long enough to consolidate the Japanese gains in the Pacific and SE Asia and make shifting them too costly. That didnt work of course.

    In an alternate time line with a large percentage of RN capital ships and carriers available to fight as well that would be an even bigger gamble than the failed one we saw in reality.

    A RN carrier battle group arrived in the Pacific in late 1944. What if such a force had been available from early 1942 onwards? It’s hard to see how that wouldnt have hastened Japanese naval defeat. (The RN and Japanese navy were about the same size in 1941) Again bearing in mind the US would only be fighting in the Pacific, Japan could have be finished in 1944, maybe sooner?

    As for how Japan fared after the war, well, in a world where Britain stopped fighting Germany in 1940 and the US never did, we would be living in a very different world today, 70 years later all bets would be off.

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  76. Hepp says:

    “Most cruciall,y China;s culture and history are limited by the habits of obedience to authority and distortions thereof. If the West is disadvantaged by rancid Christianity (the impulse to pity strangers) this nevertheless seems to me more productive than the deeply ingrained habits of obedience in East Asia. (There is a lot of soul-searching in Korea these days, following the recent ferry disaster, in which most of the students died because they obeyed the captain against their own instincts; China is not even at this stage yet.)”

    I’ll take an occasional ferry disaster every 50 years over the increased rates of teen pregnancy, drug use, etc. among the West.

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  77. Geezer says:

    My thoughts were that Japan gambled on the war because they needed the oil (e.g. because of the impacts of the McCollum memo policy)

    Yes, and that too, it’s a perfect storm of factors. Maybe they would have still launched a similar campaign even with the British fully in the game, the need to grab resources being too compelling?

    The thing is the USN, IJN and RN were the three largest navies in the world at the time. It was a huge gamble just for one of them to take on another head-to-head but to take on both the others at once, that would really be pushing their luck.

    It just occurs to me too that if the war in Europe ceased in 1940 what would Vichy France do in the event of a Japanese expansion in 1941? Thats another powerful naval force to be set against the IJN.

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  78. “Chinese forces are geared to defending against the US in a Korean War type scenario, they are not geared to force projection vs the US like Japan in WW2.”

    If you are talking Hawaii, maybe. If you are talking Taiwan or anywhere near their coast, no. Can people just not understand the concept of time? In 1890, I’m sure there were people who really thought the British empire would never fall and would always be stronger than the United States; they were proved wrong in less than 50 years. The same applies here.

    “And yes, the China hype seems seriously reminiscent of the Japan hype of the 1980s.”

    I’ve heard that one before. It’s just another myth people tell themselves so they don’t have confront the fact that America is about to be displaced in the world. Japan and China are nothing alike in that regard. Japan has a population on slightly larger than Mexico’s and less than half of America’s. China has a population that is a multiple of the US population. Furthermore, Japan is a resource-poor country with a total land area approximately equal to the US state of Montana. None of that applies to China.

    I heard people tell themselves similar myths just before the housing crash – that it couldn’t happen because there had never been two asset crashes close together, etc. They told themselves that not because it was based on sound logic but due to the fact that they did not want to believe it.

    “The biggest one might be a rapidly aging society.
    No one knows the future…”

    Japan has the world’s oldest population and still maintains the world’s third largest economy. China is so big that any troubles it has will still allow it to dwarf US power. In any case, with the advancement of robotics and genetic engineering, much of that could be ameliorated by 2050.

    “Solar power is going to start seriously cutting into that though. As cost/watt keeps dropping and efficiency keeps increasing, energy is going to get cheaper and cheaper. ”

    Which will be great for China and other emerging economies because it will cause manufacturing costs to plummet even more, driving more jobs overseas. Increasingly, it will be only a matter of who has more smart people, the US or China (definitely China).

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  79. Lurker says:

    I think Americans buy more crappy British cars than any nation other than Britain.

    Sadly there are no crappy British cars anymore, or good ones either. Apart from a few niche makers that is.

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  80. “and thus lack the high social trust and relative altruism thAt Christianity imparts? ”

    Asians (Chinese) work extraordinarily well in teams. I’ve personally witnessed this. That’s the future. I doubt a lack of Christianity will harm them in the least bit. It will probably help. In any case, China is 90% Han Chinese, so they already possess high social trust (or will as the standard of living improves) in a way America could only dream of.

    As a graduate student, I once sat in a room with other TA’s attempting to complete my prep work for the following week so I could leave. Before doing so, I noticed that some of the white TA’s were having an argument with the teacher as to whether or not some aspect of the project was racist (obviously not). The conversation devolved into them trying to one-up each other with who was the most “least racist and tolerant.” I noticed that the Chinese students ignored the conversation entirely, worked together as a team, and finished before any of the white students. As they got up to leave, I was still working by myself to finish as the other white students were busy with their asinine posturing. I thought to myself at that moment, “this is why China is going to rule the Earth.” It didn’t matter how intelligent (or more intelligent) I was, teamwork always wins.

    Western individualism is on its way out. It was good for an era when people could invent things in their basements by themselves, but it’s not so good in an era where it takes teams of highly trained individuals years or decades to make advances.

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  81. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    The demographics of white Americans, last year saw an actual drop in the number of white American citizens, are in fact far worse than Chinese demographics. Plus the fact that they Chinese don’t have rival ethnies on their soil just waiting to step up into the vacuum and take over. All this talk about China getting old before it get rich is sheer hypocritical nonsense.

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  82. “Has anyone read comparisons of China vs USA military spending?”

    1. Chinese military spending is believed to be far higher than what is publicly stated (in the $200+ range).

    2. It’s not just the raw dollar amount spent but how it is spent. Since the US is a global empire with a blue water navy, it must spend disproportionately in other areas to support it (under Bush oil procurement alone was something on the order of $100 billion of the budget). This gives China a big advantage in ways most haven’t considered.

    China, being a regional power, can invest disproportionately more in technologies to hold and defeat the US Navy and air force in conflicts near their coast. Both China and Russia are developing missiles capable of defeating the US Aegis defense system and China is developing hyper-sonic weapons capable of defeating all US anti-ballistic defenses (and probably ship defenses, too). China will likely also get Russia’s S-500 system in 2018 as a result of Obama’s belligerence/incompetence in Ukraine.

    As I’ve stated previously, China is rapidly modernizing. At some point in the near future (2020-2025) China will have the power to do so much damage in a regional conflict that the US will almost certainly do everything it can to avoid it. This will empower China to bully other nations in the area until they seek peace on China’s terms, eventually dislodging the US from large sections around China.

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  83. “we still produce a huge chunk of the world’s GDP (over 20%), with a much smaller fraction of the world’s population.”

    True, but in 20 years time or less, that may fall to 10% of global GDP, roughly where Japan was in 1989. In 2000, it was 31%. In 1950, it was 50%. The interesting question is, “how will the American public psychologically adjust to this change?” They went from “the world’s only superpower” to “just one of many” and perhaps even “international pipsqueak” in the course of just one generation.

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  84. “It’s possible America will right its ship. It’s also possible China will fizzle out.”

    Barring an enormous environmental catastrophe or a military coup in the US or China, I doubt it. The trend is pretty clear: America down, China up. America isn’t going to seal that border and all the social trouble it is bringing because democrats want absolute political power. Soon, it will impossible to right the ship because the elite will have removed political power from the white majority. With the media backing up the democrats, they will soon control every branch of government with only brief intercessions – the supreme court is already 5-4 and the white house is probably lost forever.

    With the US devolving into a one-party state, corruption and misallocation of resources will increase, causing social trust to plummet; the US will increasingly have to rely on immigrants to staff the armed forces and rely on unmanned aircraft and robots as white enlistment rates fall. And the tech industry (to compete cost-effectively with enormous Chinese competition) will pay less and hire more non-Americans.

    I seriously doubt that the future economy of the US can be sustained under such pressure (immigration, political corruption, etc.), especially in an increasingly technologically advanced world where the only thing that matters is who has more smart people (not the US). Any inefficiencies in the Chinese economy due to corruption will be easily compensated for by the enormous overall potential of the population.

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  85. “U.S. Pacific Command chief Admiral Sam Locklear reiterated the same point recently, noting “Our historic dominance that most of us in this room have enjoyed is diminishing, no question.”

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/why-america%E2%80%99s-military-dominance-fading-10772

    “Time is the absolute enemy for the Chinese tactically and strategically. They are looking down the barrel of demographic collapse while militarily they bring zero near future game changers to the table.”

    Time is hardly their enemy. They are not looking at any collapse the way the US is, despite the common misconception to the contrary. As previously stated, Japan has the world’s oldest population but maintains the world’s third largest economy; they could easily have a very potent military if they wished. China will soar past the US before suffering any real negative impacts from their demographics (which are still better than America’s emerging Central American + old white people demographics).

    “The Chinese have no way to inflict a crippling loss on the US 7th fleet. The CAW can strike with impunity from beyond the range of their most capable weapons and our submarines are so dominant that the PLA(N) doesn’t even invest in ASW because they know they can’t cover the spread.”

    Wrong. They are investing heavily in ASW. Where do you get this from?

    “China’s surface-to-air missile force extends continuous air defenses over one hundred miles from the mainland and even further when ship-borne or located on various islands. China has a large and capable air force and will be able to threaten U.S. air and naval operations at even greater range—out to several hundred miles from their coast. China possesses long-range ballistic and cruise missiles that can reach well beyond the first island chain. China is also becoming capable of antisubmarine warfare using maritime patrol aircraft, a growing surface navy, quasicivilian “white shipping,” and other means.”

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-have-big-disastrous-war-china-10762?page=2

    “DF 21? There is a reason the Russians never tried killing CVNs with ballistic missiles. Suffice to say a carrier at flank speed can get out of the way of nearly anything in 45 minutes. Their most innovative stuff are updates of 40 year old Russian SSMs.”

    Yeah, well that’s why they are developing hypersonic versions of these weapons. In any case, this isn’t Vietnam, which you seem to be stuck in.

    “DF-21D is a land-based system, with an estimated range of up to 1,500+km. Once launched, the missile would release a reentry vehicle traveling at speeds of up to Mach 10-12. The resulting velocity and kinetic energy—to say nothing of the reentry vehicle’s payload—would cause serious damage to even the largest naval vessels. Nobody knows for sure, but it is believed direct hits from a DF-21D could be enough to put an aircraft carrier out of action, or even sink it.

    Mounted on a wheeled transporter and launcher, the DF-21D would be road-mobile and thus extremely hard to locate before launch. The reentry vehicle’s hypersonic speed would make it difficult—but not impossible—to shoot down.”

    http://nationalinterest.org/feature/five-chinese-weapons-war-america-should-fear-10388

    If the Chinese decide to take an island or two, very likely you would have to get within their range to dislodge them. In any case, I can imagine this (and other) weapon systems being upgraded considerably in the next 20 years. Time is not on Washington’s side.

    “I think you don’t appreciate how deadly our SSNs, DCA AEGIS and datalinks are.”

    I think you put too many of your eggs in one basket and over estimate how vulnerable US satellites are to attack. Couple that with Chinese and Russian efforts to overcome AEGIS in the next 5-10 years, and I can easily imagine China being too tough to tangle with, certainly by 2030. We’ll see how your then obsolete weapon systems hold up against the new Chinese weapons of 2030.

    “The ships the British lost in the Falklands took a fraction of the beating the Cole endured.”

    The Cole was almost sunk by a speed boat bomb….and only about 400 pounds of explosives were used. I’m not impressed.

    “Yet the Cole is still in commissioned service and all those British ships are at the bottom of the sea.”

    The Cole was at port when it was attacked. Those British ships were in the open ocean.

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  86. “Has anyone read comparisons of China vs USA military spending?”

    *1. Chinese military spending is believed to be far higher than what is publicly stated (in the $200 Billion+ range).

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  87. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Weapons eventually get used. This will be no different with nuclear weapons.

    The relationship between two nuclear-armed countries resembles the ones in antiquity in which neighboring kingdoms signed a truce (for a number of years) predicated on the exchange of high-value hostages to be killed in the event the truce was broken. Nukes on both sides are a supersized version of hostage-taking – the odds are high that any leader who initiates a nuclear exchange will have killed himself along with all his friends and relatives. War between two nuclear powers is not unthinkable. However, given that pols generally have an unerring instinct for self-preservation, it is unlikely that any leader of a nuclear-armed country will initiate a nuclear first strike against a country with a counterstrike capability. Any such war will remain strictly conventional.

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  88. AnAnon says:

    “A recession in China slashes Chinese demand for imports” – the chinese protectionists are way ahead of you, and thanks to their efforts we have little to fear from them not buying whatever trivial and insignificant amount of goods they purchase from us.

    “China may become a political model for countries around the world. Given that China is a one-party state with a mixed economy, this will pain all sorts of folks on the left (and the right)” – this isn’t so important, different groups of people are fundamentally going to set up their own system, regardless of whether or not they call their leader president, premier, or dictator.

    “Notably, the ability of the West to influence the third-world, has substantially declined because of the willingness of China to provide political and economic support without the strings demanded by Europe and the U.S.A.” – if it means fewer of them want to come here then good.

    “4. China may emerge as a dominant military power. History says that military power cannot be separated from real economic power. ” – this much is true, it will be china pushing 3rd world nations around, for about a century. Then their demographic crisis will have kicked into full swing.

    “More specifically, the U.S. may end up fighting an aircraft carrier war with China at some point in the future.” – thank god we have all those submarines then. China has a bigger problem here, in that Britain has a naval tradition going back a long time, and America basically inherited that from GB, but China does not. Force projection is a very very difficult thing to do.

    “7. China will almost certainly become the dominant financial power in the world. ” – let us not interrupt them while they make this mistake.

    “8. More subtly, the Chinese language and culture may gain influence worldwide.” – This is very unlikely, English had the advantage of being spread around planet earth before it also became the lingua franca. Mandarin, while having a large number of speakers, is very regionally limited.

    “It remains to be seen if China can produce books, movies, songs, etc. that the rest of the world yearns for. Conversely, their no doubt at all about China’s ability to produce globally competitive goods.” – I would say that the industries that do these things could move to china if need be.

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  89. AnAnon says:

    “Plus the fact that they Chinese don’t have rival ethnies on their soil just waiting to step up into the vacuum and take over.” – They do, and said rival ethnies aren’t subjected to the one child policy. China as a global empire will ruin the Chinese people.

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  90. Re: Divine Right says:
    July 1, 2014 at 2:40 am

    ‘“Its one of those ‘what if’ games. If Britain had made peace with Germany in 1940 would Japan have risked Pearl Harbor etc at all? Fighting the combined USN & RN would have been way too much to try”’

    ‘Would Britain have been obligated to go to war for the US in that event? Probably not. I doubt they would have anyway. In any case, I think Japan did well for itself, despite losing. The RN wouldn’t have made as much of a difference in any case.’

    Yeah, but it wasn’t just about the war at sea. The British fought the Japanese army on land, too, finally handing them their asses at Imphal (look it up).

    And yes, Britain would probably have allied with the US against Japan in 1940 simply to preserve India, Australia and a fair few other places from Imperial Japan’s power and influence…

    The British ended a naval agreement with Japan prior to World War II in order to maintain friendship with the US (one of the many reasons Japan declared war on Britain later down the line).

    But I admit to not being a fan of counterfactual history….

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  91. nano says:

    America’s demographic collapse is much worse than China’s. This is as much if not more about America going downhill as it is about China going uphill.

    “Over the medium-term, China’s TFR of 1.58 is going to result in a population which is still too large and in the billions, and to boot they’ll mostly be geriatrics.”

    Which is by definition temporary.

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  92. iSteveFan says:

    However, contra iSteveFan, I would note that the Chinese are also undergoing a self-inflicted demographic change. In their case, there is a race to see whether they can get rich before they get old.

    What percentage of children under 5 in China are non-Han? What percentage of children under 5 in USA are non-European? China, or Japan for that matter, might have aging populations like the rest of the industrialized world. But at the end of the day, they don’t face demographic replacement. I don’t see why their populations can’t adjust to lower levels over time. They might have issues with humanely taking care of their elderly. But at least they will still have their country.

    So what if they become poorer because their demographics are skewed at this time toward more retirees? I’d rather be poorer with my own nation and culture in tact. Besides, it is not like the USA is going to become wealthier over time. Our relative wealth to the rest of the world is and has been declining. Couple that with the fact that more and more areas of this nation are now completely unrecognizable to historic Americans, and I’d take less wealth to still live in a nation with the demographics of my childhood.

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  93. iSteveFan says:

    The issue is not the number of people. The issue is the number of old people. China might well benefit from being smaller, but fertility rates falling off a cliff doesn’t just shrink the population in place, it inverts the population pyramid. Over the medium-term, China’s TFR of 1.58 is going to result in a population which is still too large and in the billions, and to boot they’ll mostly be geriatrics.

    A lot of commenters here are too focused on TFR numbers. TFR numbers are not permanent, but newly minted citizens and their descendants are. A nation like Japan or China can have an upsurge in TFR that demographers can’t predict. So fixating on that number is not useful.

    In the USA we had an upswing in in the postwar period known as the baby boom. China and Japan will someday have their own baby booms. And when they do, the Japanese and Chinese will be the ones participating in it.

    The USA actually had some baby booms after the big one supposedly ended in 1965. As Steve has pointed out, the newly legalized Latinas have had a higher TFR in the USA than they did in their native lands. The problem from our perspective, of course, is that these booms do nothing positive for the people who prefer the pre-1965 American demographic. However, for those fixated on TFR, they see the “USA” TFR rate as being higher than Western Europe or Japan, and celebrate that “our” population is growing while the other industrialized powers are dying.

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  94. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    With the US devolving into a one-party state, corruption and misallocation of resources will increase…

    Aren’t you describing the US becoming more like China?

    Force projection is a very very difficult thing to do.

    Particularly when you don’t have your own neighborhood secured. One of the reasons the US has been able to project force is because we don’t need to defend our northern border and have decided not to defend our southern border.

    If you go back to Alexander the Great, before he set off on his conquest of the Persian empire, he took care of business nearby in the Balkans. And before setting out deep into Asia, he conquered the Mediterranean city states that were in a position to threaten Greece.

    Now consider China’s geographic situation. It’s surrounded by former and potential future enemies (e.g., India, Vietnam, Japan).

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  95. old salt says:

    Being hit in port is much worse than being hit at sea. Fire pumps are off. Ships service generators are off. The crew is either not on board or at weird watchstations. And four hundred pounds of explosive (a extreme low ball figure, btw) is still more than a mk 1 exocet. By a lot. But if you want vis a vis, look at the USS Stark. Hit with two exocets, in a complete surprise attack and she lived to fight another day. So sorry, point stands.

    You seem pretty comfortable on that fainting couch so I’ll let you and your Google derived experience stew. Keep in mind all these admirals you quote have a very vested interest in scaring the uninformed General public (you) about the Chicoms so they can score sweet retirement gigs gold plating acquisitions deals. The sailors actually out doing the work and patrolling continuously in the South China Sea aren’t scared even though they are the ones most in harm’s way. You doubtless think that’s because they’re so far below your own lofty intellect and quick search engine bullet point well of experience. I’m actuality its because a draftee navy of cobbled together platforms with no replenishment infrastructure having to fight offensively against the most sophisticated navy in the world isn’t that scary if you’re on the USN side of the table.

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  96. old salt says:

    Interestingly the only country which has sunk a US Navy vessel in modern times is… Israel.

    But we like to keep that a secret.

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    The USS Liberty didn't sink.
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  97. syonredux says:

    dearieme:”The idea of the US as especially creative in the 19th and early 20th century seems to me to be wrong, and to miss the point of what the US was outstandingly good at, which was production on a large scale, pursued with great energy.

    For example, Ford didn’t, as far as I know, make any significant advance in motor-car design, nor did he invent mass production. But by golly he combined mass production with product-simplification to produce decent vehicles at low cost in huge volumes, in a way that added up to a real, and rapid, step forward. In fact, I wonder whether the software decades are the first time that you could plausibly point to the US as the leading source of creativity. That they should coincide with the US having the air of an empire in decline would then be one of histories ironies.”

    Well, the USA certainly did adapt/improve a lot of technologies that were pioneered elsewhere, but America also did a fair amount of creative work in her own right during the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Some particularly noteworthy examples:

    Steamboat Development: Fitch and Fulton.

    Aeroplane: Wright Brothers

    Liquid fueled rocked: Robert Goddard

    Telegraph: Independently developed in both Britain (Cooke and Wheatstone) and the USA (Morse and Vail). The Morse-Vail system went on to become the globally dominant system.

    Phonograph: Edison

    Television: Lots of people had a hand in this, but the USA’s Philo Farnsworth was especially important.

    Cotton Gin: Eli Whitney

    Industrial Laboratory: Edison (probably his single most important innovation).

    This is, of course, a purely technological list. In the arts, one might note that America dominated the English language short story during the 19th century (Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, Bierce, Henry James, etc).And in the area of the cinema, D.W. Griffith essentially created the “grammar” of film.

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  98. @old salt
    Interestingly the only country which has sunk a US Navy vessel in modern times is... Israel.

    But we like to keep that a secret.

    The USS Liberty didn’t sink.

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  99. Hepp says:

    All else being equal, a larger population is better, as it makes it energy, sanitation, etc. cheaper on a per capita basis.

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  100. Dahlia says:

    Nice, Syon, and I concede the point; back to being awestruck at American creativity ;)

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  101. Good thread; lots of thoughtful comments here.

    I’m in a very similar situation to Jay in comment 69: live in Hong Kong, have lots of Chinese family and work contacts, have traveled plenty in China, etc.

    I agree with Jay’s assessment almost across the board. China’s internal problems are serious: in the coming decades its major challenge is to avoid another of the great upheavals so characteristic of its long history.

    One thing I’m not too worried about is Mandarin replacing English anytime soon as the lingua franca. My daughter’s being educated in HK’s local school system, so I’m familiar with how Chinese is learned. The amount of hard-core drudgery required to learn to read and write Chinese characters is simply not going to be emulated by non-Confucian societies. If China were to switch to a romanized form of writing (which is not likely) this might change, but then you’ve still got the problems associated with learning to speak a tonal language. These are huge barriers, even for excellent students, if they aren’t learning Chinese from the cradle.

    I also agree with Jay’s take on the West’s core problem: essentially, its fondness for indulging in Christian heresies that transform theological virtues into seemingly self-abnegating ideologies that in fact are manifestations of pride.

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  102. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “The main reason that Chinese movies, music, etc. won’t take over the world is that Asian men are completely unattractive to women, not to mention lacking in creativity or the spunk necessary to succeed in the cultural realm. ”

    One word: kpop:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWVkqyrkcrc

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  103. “Yeah, but it wasn’t just about the war at sea. The British fought the Japanese army on land, too, finally handing them their asses at Imphal (look it up).”

    The Battle for Imphal in the Burma Campaign took place after war had been declared and long after Japanese forces had been at war for years. Little Japan had served the British their asses many times previously. If it had been just the British versus the Japanese, the Japanese would have won hands down. In any case, the British were aided in that campaign by huge numbers of non-Britons.

    “And yes, Britain would probably have allied with the US against Japan in 1940 simply to preserve India, Australia and a fair few other places from Imperial Japan’s power and influence…”

    Only if those places were in danger. If the British were not under threat from the Germans, they likely would have sought a way to avoid further confrontation with Japan. I doubt they would have just declared war on Japan due to Pearl Harbor. In fact, they only declared war due to Japanese attacks on Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong a few days prior to Pearl Harbor (look it up); I’m sure the Japanese timed the two events thinking the British too bogged down in Europe to resist; in fact, the Japanese enjoyed quite a bit of success for quite some time against the British.

    Having the Germans out of the picture likely changes Japanese logic. They would have just focused on the US for the time being and the British would have stayed out hoping to avoid losing their possessions.

    “The British ended a naval agreement with Japan prior to World War II in order to maintain friendship with the US (one of the many reasons Japan declared war on Britain later down the line).”

    You may be referring to the Anglo–Japanese Alliance which was formed due to both Japanese and British opposition to Russia in the region. Ironically, it was that alliance which lead to the Russo-Japanese War and later set the stage for Japan’s rise and WW2.

    And it was ended not just to maintain friendship with the US. It was ended because some rightly feared a future conflict between the Japanese and US would force the British to unwisely choose one side or the other. It was decided that they would pursue relations with the US as a hedge against possible Japanese aggression which they could not defend against alone; their interest was to preserve their holdings, not just to please the US.

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  104. “You seem pretty comfortable on that fainting couch so I’ll let you and your Google derived experience stew.”

    Yeah, well my experience is real enough. Yours seems outdated by about 30 years. In 1981, I’m sure it would have made some sense. Not anymore and certainly not 20 years from now. In any case, you couldn’t contradict as single point I made. All you did was state your opinion as fact. I think I will let you stew in that knowledge.

    “The sailors actually out doing the work and patrolling continuously in the South China Sea aren’t scared even though they are the ones most in harm’s way. You doubtless think that’s because they’re so far below your own lofty intellect and quick search engine bullet point well of experience.”

    Some of us (the same type who predicted Iraq would be a disaster) actually base our opinions on fact, logic, history, and experience, not emotion and patriotic hand-waving.

    “Being hit in port is much worse than being hit at sea.”

    ….except for all the help nearby when you’re at port???

    “no replenishment infrastructure having to fight offensively against the most sophisticated navy in the world isn’t that scary if you’re on the USN side of the table.”

    Just more hand-waving. China would certainly be advantaged in any conflict near its coast. That’s just common sense dictated by geography. We aren’t talking about a Chinese invasion of Australia.

    “Hit with two exocets, in a complete surprise attack and she lived to fight another day. So sorry, point stands.”

    And what point is that? That US ships are immune to sinking because a ship barely survived attack by two ancient missiles designed in 1967? Furthermore, that ship was hit by primitive Iraqi F1 Mirage aircraft. If anything, it shows how vulnerable USN ships can be. The Stark was hit without firing a single shot in defense. I expect the China of 2025 to have a lot more bite.

    Whatever point you were trying to make obviously does not stand on its own.

    Jonathan Haidt had it best. People are not logic bots who process algorithms and spit out results according to some universal logic. They are flawed beings who base their opinions on emotion, self-interest, and group association before hearing the evidence; they then seek to prove their preconceived views by seeking evidence to confirm them. With me, that’s much less of an issue, so I’m able to, quite easily, see things most others cannot. I saw the Iraq disaster, the disasters that would unfold both in Libya and as a result of funding “moderate” terrorists in Syria, the housing crash (predicted it years before), the internet bubble of the late 90s, the decline of republican electoral chances due to changing racial demographics, etc.

    All of those events have one thing in common: they could have been easily predicted had human nature been less emotional and more logical, if people actually made up their minds after hearing the arguments instead of before.

    You believe the US will always be dominant because you want to believe that to be the case, which it is not. I know the US will not always be dominant military or economically because I am not biased in the same way you are.

    *under-estimate how vulnerable US satellites can be.

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  105. Geezer says:

    old salt – Or look at the USS Cole. The ships the British lost in the Falklands took a fraction of the beating the Cole endured.

    That sounds a bit harsh old boy. The USS Cole was hit on the hull by speedboat IED, most of the British ships were hit by multiple 500lb and 1000lb bombs which penetrated the decks exploded inside the ships.

    Maybe Im being fooled but this doesnt look like the sort of strike many frigate sized ships could survive. The result of 12 x 500lb bombs being dropped on the ship (not all hits) and hitting a fuel tank. I just dont think the Cole took a beating like that. Furthermore, the Cole was hit in the galley area, tragic for the crew, but no critical systems were destroyed.

    Then there is the HMS Antelope, there’s a famous image of her exploding when a 1000lb went off inside her (possibly as much as twice the size of the bomb that hit USS Cole) she was already damaged btw.

    Then we have to factor in that a battle was being fought around the British ships. However difficult conditions may have been for the Cole, the crew were free to get on with fighting fires, damage control etc without waiting for, or indeed receiving, another attack. (Ironically the first ship to assist the Cole was a British frigate)

    Yet the Cole is still in commissioned service and all those British ships are at the bottom of the sea. Look at pictures of the battle damage to both, you’ll see what I mean. Any other navy and the Cole would be a reef.

    The Cole, once stabilized, was returned to the US on a heavy lift ship. If the Royal Navy hadnt been fighting a battle at the time, perhaps an RN ship might have been saved that way?

    I’m not sure what your point is really? That the USN personnel are much superior to the RN and thats why the Cole was saved? Possibly but I think its fair to say there are other factors at work and its really not fair to imply the Cole was more damaged than those RN ships, doesnt stand up at all.

    Or is it that US ship design is vastly better? Well lets note that US and British naval design was changed after the Falklands war, the Cole was of a post-1982 type and thus may have directly and indirectly benefited from the Falklands experience. It was a different generation than the Falklands casualties.

    A better comparison might be the Exocet attacks on HMS Sheffield in the Falklands and the Iraqi Exocet strike against the USS Stark. This is fairer since both ships were of roughly the same size and vintage. Both were hit and severely damaged by fire but the Sheffield eventually sank while the Stark was saved.

    Better trained crew, better designed ship? I dont know. However the Sheffield was in a combat zone thousands of miles from a friendly port, attacks on assisting ships were possible. The Stark was able to limp to Bahrain as soon as her fires were under control and it doesnt seem like there was a credible threat of further attacks. The Sheffield suffered immediate damage to its firefighting system and diesel fuel was set on fire, the Stark was spared this.

    Just saying.

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  106. “Aren’t you describing the US becoming more like China?”

    Yes, but there’s a difference. The larger and smarter Chinese population will be able to compensate in a way the US cannot. China will be so powerful economically (perhaps having 3X US GDP by 2050) that the downside of corruption will likely be dwarfed by Chinese economic prowess. The US future is one of increasingly differential success between the haves and the have nots (primarily a racial stratification absent in most of 90% Han China), social stratification, declines in social trust, corruption, and governmental incompetence. Unless our Mexican immigrants suddenly become geniuses, the trend for the US is down; the trend for China is up.

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  107. “Now consider China’s geographic situation. It’s surrounded by former and potential future enemies (e.g., India, Vietnam, Japan).”

    India may not be the bulwark against China that many in the US think. India’s population has become increasingly anti-American (almost rioting against the US earlier in the year) as a result of US commentary on Indian gay laws. I expect that to increase as the US makes exporting its social model of pro-gay everything everywhere a priority. India also stayed out of the Ukraine crisis and was personally thanked by Putin for doing so. They are in no rush to be a US client state.

    The greatest thing China could do to ensure future US defeat in the theater would be to make peace with India. I wouldn’t count that out as a possibility.

    Vietnam is a weak country that the US will not go to war for. In time, Vietnam and other weak countries in the region will sue for peace as China begins to dwarf the US economically and militarily – concomitant with the US population increasingly looking inward to domestic issues. They may do so sooner than you think on the logic that it is better to seek peace on terms favorable to them before China gets too strong.

    China’s strategy will be to slowly gain in power until the day when other countries acquiesce and the US retreats to avoid confrontation.

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  108. Mr. Blank says:

    Keep in mind all these admirals you quote have a very vested interest in scaring the uninformed General public (you) about the Chicoms so they can score sweet retirement gigs gold plating acquisitions deals. The sailors actually out doing the work and patrolling continuously in the South China Sea aren’t scared even though they are the ones most in harm’s way.

    Don’t know if this is true today, but it sure was true during the Cold War. My dad worked in the defense industry back then. I remember being a little kid and reading some article about how the Soviets had all these amazing, cutting-edge weapons in the pipeline, and the U.S. was falling further and further behind, our stuff was getting old and rusty while those commie bastards and their super scientists were constantly rolling out incredible new technologies … and on and on and on.

    I came running to my dad almost in tears, terrified that laser-gun toting Soviet goons were going to be flying in with jetpacks and kicking down my bedroom door next week. I’ll never forget his reaction:

    “Son, this is all a bunch of crap the Pentagon puts out to sucker Congress into giving them more money.”

    Now, my dad was a solid Reagan Republican and an anti-communist true believer, and he was also making a very comfortable living off those government defense contracts. If he didn’t believe the hype about Soviet military muscle, I figured there was no reason for me to worry too much about it.

    It turned out he was right.

    As I said, I don’t know enough about the Chinese to know if this is the same situation. But one does wonder.

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  109. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    China’s strategy will be to slowly gain in power until the day when other countries acquiesce and the US retreats to avoid confrontation.

    A self-interested coalition of China’s neighbors doesn’t need the US to contain China. Vietnam fought China to a standstill in 1979. Japan mopped the floor with China in the 1930s. Add in India, Australia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, and Taiwan – some of which have been increasing their arms purchases recently, with an eye toward China.

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  110. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “As I said, I don’t know enough about the Chinese to know if this is the same situation. But one does wonder.”

    It’s really just Calgon.

    Chinese power is a paper tiger.

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  111. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “Vietnam fought China to a standstill in 1979. Japan mopped the floor with China in the 1930s.”

    The Vietnam excursion was a punitive measure. Chinese didn’t do well, but they were technologically really backward then.

    Japan advanced quickly in the early part of the war but soon got bogged down.

    China held its own in the Korean War but at huge cost in lives.

    Today’s China is many times technologically advanced than even 10 yrs ago, but I don’t see China as any kind of military superpower. Not even close.

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  112. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “In time, Vietnam and other weak countries in the region will sue for peace as China begins to dwarf the US economically and militarily.”

    Why would they sue for peace when they are not at war with China.

    If China acts the bully, southeastern nations can forge closer ties with US, Japan, and India as countermeasure.

    The stupidest thing China could do is to alienate all its neighboring states. Burma has already moved out of the Chinese orbit. If China bullies Vietnam, other smaller states will turn anti-chinese and cooperate with China’s rivals and enemies.

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  113. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “The main reason that Chinese movies, music, etc. won’t take over the world is that Asian men are completely unattractive to women, not to mention lacking in creativity or the spunk necessary to succeed in the cultural realm. ”

    Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan were pretty popular.

    But it’s really the language. Chinese no sound goody to ear.

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  114. iSteveFan says:

    All else being equal, a larger population is better, as it makes it energy, sanitation, etc. cheaper on a per capita basis.

    Once you reach a critical mass of people, the benefits are not only negligible, but quality-of-life factors begin to take a hit. For a small nation with less than 5 million people, you might get some benefit from a larger population. But once you exceed 100 million, and definitely 200 million, the negatives probably outweigh the benefits. Look at the list of the world’s nations with more than 100 million people. Most of them are not very desirable to live in, except of course, for the oligarchs.

    The USA has enough people. We are the third most populous nation, and I don’t really want to compete for the top spot. In fact, I wouldn’t mind not even being in the top 10. In my lifetime we have gone from around 200 million in 1970 to over 305 million today. And the TFR and GDP growth rate types are pushing us to reach 450 million by the end of the century. As a kid in the 1970s, our teachers used to point out India and China on the map and talk about how crazy it was that they both had over 600 million people. Now we seem intent on trying to compete with them.

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  115. >>Divine Right says:
    July 1, 2014 at 1:28 pm
    “Chinese forces are geared to defending against the US in a Korean War type scenario, they are not geared to force projection vs the US like Japan in WW2.”

    If you are talking Hawaii, maybe. If you are talking Taiwan or anywhere near their coast, no.<<

    To be clear, I was talking about the Chinese fleet engaging the American fleet symmetrically, like at Midway – the Chinese would not have a chance, now or in the foreseeable future (say up through about 2040). I entirely agree that taking Taiwan, or other near abroad operations, would be a very different kettle of fish. It's certainly plausible they have the capacity to take Taiwan and then hold off a US counter attack.

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  116. BTW there was a claim upthread that US frigates are much more robust than the British frigates sunk by the Argentines during the 1982 Falklands War using French exocets, as demonstrated by the USS Cole, which survived a large terrorist bomb. I was sceptical, since they produce very different sorts of damage, but researching it I came across the USS Stark attack in 1987 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Stark_incident
    The Stark survived being hit by *two* exocets fired by an Iraqi plane – although personnel losses were similar to the British ships hit in 1982, the Stark itself didn’t sink. So there seems to be something in this. It reminds me of the WW2 American navy’s ability to get heavily damaged carriers back into action, to the incredulity of the Japanese. The US ships themselves may be somewhat more robust, and the Gulf is a kinder environment than the South Atlantic, but it seems to be primarily US crew superior ability at damage control, and probably superior morale and dedication also.
    So this does seem to be a US advantage worth including in any calculus.

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  117. >>Divine Right says:
    The Battle for Imphal in the Burma Campaign took place after war had been declared and long after Japanese forces had been at war for years. Little Japan had served the British their asses many times previously. If it had been just the British versus the Japanese, the Japanese would have won hands down. <<

    If it had just been the British Empire vs Japan, with Germany and the USA not involved, I would have thought they would have been pretty evenly matched. In 1941 Britain's best officers, soldiers and equipment were in the European and Middle-East theatre.

    My guess would be that in this counter-history Britain would still have held India. I don't know if we could have held Australia without US support; but conquering Australia would certainly have taken Japan a lot of resources; I would expect the Australian cities would fight very fiercely, knowing what happens to cities that fall to the Japanese army. Men fight most fiercely when they're fighting for their womenfolk.

    We didn't have the huge manufacturing advantage over Japan that the US had, but probably still superior, and Britain might have had the edge in innovation over Japan. My guess would be an initial Japanese expansion followed by stalemate, but probably not the scale of Japanese rollback and defeat that actually occurred. I can imagine an eventual peace treaty with Britain ceding territory to Japan, but Britain would not give up Australia due to ethnic solidarity.

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    The Japanese didn't do much technological innovating during the war.
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  118. @Simon in London
    >>Divine Right says:
    The Battle for Imphal in the Burma Campaign took place after war had been declared and long after Japanese forces had been at war for years. Little Japan had served the British their asses many times previously. If it had been just the British versus the Japanese, the Japanese would have won hands down. <<

    If it had just been the British Empire vs Japan, with Germany and the USA not involved, I would have thought they would have been pretty evenly matched. In 1941 Britain's best officers, soldiers and equipment were in the European and Middle-East theatre.

    My guess would be that in this counter-history Britain would still have held India. I don't know if we could have held Australia without US support; but conquering Australia would certainly have taken Japan a lot of resources; I would expect the Australian cities would fight very fiercely, knowing what happens to cities that fall to the Japanese army. Men fight most fiercely when they're fighting for their womenfolk.

    We didn't have the huge manufacturing advantage over Japan that the US had, but probably still superior, and Britain might have had the edge in innovation over Japan. My guess would be an initial Japanese expansion followed by stalemate, but probably not the scale of Japanese rollback and defeat that actually occurred. I can imagine an eventual peace treaty with Britain ceding territory to Japan, but Britain would not give up Australia due to ethnic solidarity.

    The Japanese didn’t do much technological innovating during the war.

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  119. I wonder if the tendency of American warships not to sink (when compared to British warships) might be linked to a German influence on the US Navy? The other navy with ships that showed a notable reluctance to sink was the German navy – qv Jutland and their WW2 battleships.

    American ships seem to sink easily enough after they’ve been sold to other nations (eg the Argentine Belgrano was a WW2 era US Heavy Cruiser as I recall) which would support the idea that it’s more a factor of crew superiority rather than technological.

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  120. Geezer says:

    The Stark survived being hit by *two* exocets fired by an Iraqi plane – although personnel losses were similar to the British ships hit in 1982, the Stark itself didn’t sink.

    Ive had a bash at this already, comment #106

    Its impossible to be sure with so few data points but it does seem as if the Stark was luckier than the Sheffield with the location of the hits. The immediate damage to the Sheffield was much more critical than that to the Stark. If the missiles had hit a few feet higher/lower, left/right, the outcomes might have been reversed?

    It reminds me of the WW2 American navy’s ability to get heavily damaged carriers back into action, to the incredulity of the Japanese. The US ships themselves may be somewhat more robust

    And when British carriers finally arrived in the Pacific in 1944 the US sailors were in turn surprised by the ability of those carriers to survive and maintain operations despite direct hits and kamikaze crashing into them because – armored flight decks. All subsequent US carriers have adopted this design feature.

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  121. Anonym says:

    The USA is really only an Operation Wetback and a rolling back of the AA away from regaining a lot of their former pizazz. I think a lot hinges on the Jews. I don’t think they want a China that is the world superpower. It is well within their power to reprogram a lot of the US to not be so self-hating. A strong US is good for them.

    Also, I think a lot of those who comment here don’t really have much experience of Chinese other than an IQ points score in a table, a place where their cheap stuff is made, and maybe some grad students or something like that. The place is corruption central. They screw each other over all the time. They are accustomed to working in groups; yes; they are also accustomed to stabbing each other in the back, taking bribes, bribing others, lying, cheating. Have a look at the corruption perception index – in terms of honesty there are north-western Europeans, and there is everyone else.

    http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/

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  122. WhatEvvs [AKA "Cookies"] says:

    Check out yesterday’s page one, NY Times:

    One implication of China as #1 is that the Japanese get nervous and start to get un-pacifist.

    Great.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/02/world/asia/japan-moves-to-permit-greater-use-of-its-military.html

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  123. Dave Pinsen says: • Website

    Also, I think a lot of those who comment here don’t really have much experience of Chinese other than an IQ points score in a table, a place where their cheap stuff is made, and maybe some grad students or something like that. The place is corruption central. They screw each other over all the time. They are accustomed to working in groups; yes; they are also accustomed to stabbing each other in the back, taking bribes, bribing others, lying, cheating. Have a look at the corruption perception index – in terms of honesty there are north-western Europeans, and there is everyone else.

    http://cpi.transparency.org/cpi2013/

    This goes to my point above about scalability. I mentioned this to Noah Smith on Twitter a while back, but if you look at that corruption index, Singapore, at ~5 million residents is one of the least corrupt countries (#5 on the list, right after Norway). Hong Kong, at ~7 million is #15, ranking between Belgium and Japan. Taiwan, at ~22 million, is tied with Israel at #36. China ranks behind Tunisia at #80.

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  124. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    I mentioned this to Noah Smith on Twitter a while back, but if you look at that corruption index, Singapore, at ~5 million residents is one of the least corrupt countries (#5 on the list, right after Norway). Hong Kong, at ~7 million is #15, ranking between Belgium and Japan. Taiwan, at ~22 million, is tied with Israel at #36.

    Singaporeans are yellow-skinned Brits who mainly speak English. Hongkongers are yellow-skinned Brits who mainly speak Cantonese. Taiwanese are basically Taiwanese-speaking Japanese. China alone hasn’t had the impact of decades or over a century of foreign rule. To the extent culture/tradition plays a part in economic progress, China will follow a somewhat different path from the other locales listed – they might all look alike, but it’s arguable that they might turn out as different as the French from the English.

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  125. map says:

    Going back to the basic economics of China, I find rattling off statistics like “growth” and other measures to be uneasily similar to how the US used to hang on every utterance of Soviet economic performance. In other words, how is any of this data really to be trusted? Are we really going to impressed by how much concrete or copper the Chinese use?

    When we observe this passing of the baton from nation to nation, where first Portugal, then Holland, then Spain, then Britain, then America, or, before, them Greece, then Rome, etc., I don’t see how China becomes a natural inheritor of the status of global hegemony. There is, for example, the minor issue that these are all European nations, with very strong commonalities in language, culture and history. The baton of world hegemony has been passed between related people for a long time.

    But consider the major problem. A nation like Portugal became a world power through the innovation and organic effort of their own people. Even if they copied others, the copying was built and improved upon locally, not just in what was immediately copied, but in all the ancillary technologies that needed to be developed for those copies to be made successfully. This developed other areas of the economy. This local development of their own economies led to a great deal of domestic wealth which then increased the returns to trading and led to great military power. Holland, Spain, Great Britain and the US and Germany all did the same thing.

    Even Japan’s rise to a modern industrial power was built organically from the bottom up.

    China’s and India’s development seems entirely different. These countries developed primarily through labor and regulatory arbitrage. Western companies sought a way to lower their business and employment costs and they discovered that China and India offered a vast reserve labor force of the unemployed plus a compliant and corrupt government. Rather than have local development of the economy through the people working through how to do stuff, the local development came from Western transplanted technologies and processes, including business management.

    The net effect is that China and India appear to be giant banana republics exploiting a cooly labor force. Very little of what they do is figured out on their own which creates a very lop-sided society. A worker may spend 12 hours a day working in a state-of-the-art chip factory and then bike home to a barely lit shack with no indoor plumbing.

    Then there is the issue of the much-vaunted trade surpluses that the Chinese and others brag about, going on, what?, over a trillion dollars or so a year by now? Yes, that seems very good. It seems to suggest that Chinese mercantilism is superior, except there is one little problem. For one nation to run trade surpluses implies another nation must run a trade deficit. Since trade deficits are politically determined, being controlled by a government’s willingness to allow imports, those trade surpluses are politically determined as well…by the government willing to allow you to import.

    China, in other words, seem to be in the same position as many other nations. Instead of being an independent actor in a balanced, independent global economy, China is merely a territory of the US economy extended globally. The mercantile system of export-led growth so reduced the number of importing nations (and potential markets) that the United States is literally the importer of last resort, the only nation within which others can move their goods in any quantity.

    How is China going to become the #1 superpower in the world when its wealth hinges on access to the markets of its chief rival? Where is it going to move its output if not to the United States? Move it within its undeveloped domestic market? Try to dump it in Europe, Japan or Korea?

    Meanwhile, the US, for all its outsourcing, cultivates dominance in food production, technology, medicine and defense.

    Gee, it almost makes you think that the USG cultivated this by design since the end of WWII, of which China is simply the last piece in the puzzle. The first-mover disadvantages of pulling out of the US economy are huge, plus the US has the advantage of pulling the plug on the Chinese juggernaut whenever it’s necessary.

    I just don’t see that changing anytime soon.

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  126. 2Degrees says:

    Speaking as someone who is fluent in Japanese and now lives in Korea, the most important factor to bear in mind is that, in the minds of many (not all!) Asians, we are not really human. I said a jovial “Anyeong haseyo” as I walked in just now. The lady on the desk could not even be bothered to acknowledge my existence. I now know how it feels to be a cockroach.

    Even those who do concede that we are human do not take any comments that we might make seriously. I don’t know what the Korean expression is for Goyische Kop, but there must be one.

    Then you go somewhere else and they coo over you the way my stepdaughter might coo over someone’s pet kitten.

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  127. 2Degrees says:

    Divine Right.

    Little Japan is twice the size of little Britain in terms of population and Britain had committed its best troops and materiel to fighting Germany.

    Japan also kicked big America out of the Philippines.

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  128. Mr. Blank says:

    How is China going to become the #1 superpower in the world when its wealth hinges on access to the markets of its chief rival?

    Overall, a great post, map, but this point seems a little weak to me. If history is any guide, nations make unbelievably self-destructive decisions…

    All.

    The.

    Time.

    To me, though, the main argument goes back to the fact that the Chinese just don’t seem to have any interest in taking a world leadership role. They show zero enthusiasm for exporting “the Chinese way of life.” They want to be #1 for the bragging rights — and I have little doubt they’re going to succeed on that score; indeed, it seems like a mathematical certainty! But as map points out, there’s more to the global power equation than just raw statistics.

    When it comes to global politics, the Chinese remind me of the guy who’s always bragging about his great job offers, but who never actually takes the job. All of their really serious disputes are with their immediate neighbors; beyond that, they don’t seem to care. When have they ever felt the need to muscle in on disputes that don’t concern them? Where are the Chinese leaders and thinkers insisting that foreign cultures they know little about must adopt “Chinese values” or embrace the “Chinese model?”

    For better or worse, Western countries think nothing whatsoever of this kind of thing. We are forever making a big show of instructing China on how it must handle internal dissidents, or how it must resolve its issues with Tibet. That’s the imperialist mindset, and it seems completely lacking in the Chinese. Do you think any influential person in China has ever lost any sleep worrying about the moral dilemmas of America’s immigration problems? Is there a mass movement in China complaining about our Cuba policy? Do political leaders in China regularly lecture white Americans about how we must treat black people in order to be more in line with Confucian principles?

    More specifically: If a massive political movement broke out in America demanding that the U.S. be reorganized on an explicitly Chinese model, would this be an occasion for rejoicing in China? Would the Chinese government feel some sort of moral obligation to step in and offer assistance to the dissidents? Or would they view the whole thing with indifference?

    Sure, China will have a lot more money than us. They’ll have bigger cities, and a more technologically advanced infrastructure — good for them! Hey, maybe they’ll even scare the U.S. out of Asia! Fantastic — then they can have fun dealing with a frightened and muscled-up Japan and Korea. Or maybe they can go try and pull their neighborhood-bully act on Vietnam. You go get ‘em, China! Go give those Vietnamese the what-for! We’ll wait.

    Nazi Germany was a real problem. Imperial Japan was a real problem. Soviet communism was a real problem. Immigration is currently a huge, real problem. The U.S. faces a very depressing list of problems and a doubtful future; we may not manage to make it another century in our current form.

    But crony-capitalist China? Waaaaaay down the list of America’s problems, no matter how fat their wallet gets. Get back to me when they start sending hordes of kids over here to stand on street corners and hand out free copies of “Quotations From Chairman Mao.”

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  129. Markus says:

    We don’t need *A* number one, or *one* world leader&police. We need many stable nations, a multipolar world instead of a unipolar one.

    No, I don’t think China will be exporting “democracy”/world communism/”whatever” -ism through imperial wars in the Middle East and beyond, in the near future.

    Silly notions about Asian men not being attractive in the eyes of the female are not even worth commenting on.

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  130. Innovation is always hampered by an emphasizes on the status quo over new ideas. U.S. culture puts less emphasis on maintaining the status quo than East Asian cultures. This is one reason why cutting edge ideas still come from the United States, not so much from East Asia. China is even more disinclined to look towards new ways of thinking than other parts of East Asia. So it will probably not become all that innovative. But as long as the U.S. continues to willingly transfer loads of tech to China, and the Chinese continue to successfully steal loads of industrial and military tech for “the fatherland”, China has no need to become innovative.

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  131. For many that compare Japan of the 90s and China now, the big difference is that Japan is essentially Americas poodle (the more polite words are strategic ally or some nonsense like that), China is in no way going to tolerate any bullying from America.

    Having said that, China has no intentions to rule the world or to export any ideology (because it has none) like America does, this is a good thing for those that see America being the crusading nanny it is. America has been the number one anti white force in the world, it was not Mao, not the USSR and not Karl Marx, it has been America that has done the most damage to whites. Since I am not American I will lament America no longer running the world, I am no sinophile but anything that China does will be better than America has unleashed on the white world.

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  132. map says:

    Mr. Blank,

    “We are forever making a big show of instructing China on how it must handle internal dissidents, or how it must resolve its issues with Tibet.”

    Just an aside, the Chinese have dealt with their Tibetan problem by simply removing Tibetan’s from the area and scattering them across China. That’s why you hear nothing about Tibet anymore. Most “Tibetans” are now Han Chinese so they have no reason to give any information to Western NGO’s.

    More generally, if China appears to be non-meddlesome, well, they’ve never had the opportunity. Throughout their history, they are basically content to stay behind their wall.

    I’ve visited China/Beijing/Hong Kong/Macau within the last year and I am less than impressed. Hong Kong looks like a Blade Runner city. It’s skyscrapers are not heated so you have to bring a portable heater to the office. Macau is a very picturesque Portuguese colony, with the hotels representing a cheap and dilapidated Las Vegas. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen a big, unrepaired hole in the lobby of the Belagio.

    In Beijing, people defecate on the sidewalk. Apparently, Chinese clothing comes with a zipper along the “crotchorial” region so if the need to crap comes along, well, you can just unzip and go.

    But what was really telling was an experience I had while visiting the Forbidden City. As the tour guide was blathering on about this or that Chinese knickknack, I was watching a custodian mopping a floor. I watched this custodian dip his mop into a bucket of dirty water, lift the mop over his head, and plop the whole mess on top of a an exhibit to clean the dust that had collected on the surface. This was a large wooden cabinet obviously several centuries old and this guy was cleaning it with a dirty mop.

    People who defecate on sidewalks and spit on their own cultural heritage are not going to rule the world. And this all goes back to Chinese modernity not being a product of the Chinese people themselves, but being something imported from elsewhere.

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  133. Priss Factor [AKA "Skyislander"] says: • Website

    Chinese think as one. That is their strength, that is their weakness.

    (Of course, there are many eccentric and original Chinese, but the culture as a whole tends to be collective than adventurous, kin-ish than indie-ish. Chinese work hard and many go into enterprise, but they adhere to business-as-usual than coming up with new paradigms.)

    This is a problem for all mono-ethnic and mono-cultural entities. Germans are very good but only in the Germanic way.

    US has pluralities of ethnic groups, and of very talented ones. Italian-Americans and Greeks are good at the restaurant business, Jews are great at finance and entertainment and high-tech, Anglos are good at sucking oil out of the ground, and etc.

    Anglos established the basic structure of American society that allowed talents of all kinds of people to flourish and rise, and some of the best minds from all over the world have risen. Also, Americans love the idea of the individual achiever, an idea that still rubs many Europeans and Asians the wrong way. Anglos built it, others climbed it. As important as the Jewish contribution in America is, it wouldn’t have been possible without the sturdiness and soundness of the Anglo-built structure that allowed Jews to climb to the top. If Jews had all emigrated to some African country, they would have done better than blacks but not climbed very high since blacks would have been busy tearing down everything. It’s like the most successful Jews in Africa were in South Africa who climbed the structure built by Anglos and Afrikaners. Even in Latin America, Jews would have succeeded less(if all American Jews had gone there instead of here) since Latinos were far less good at building sound and sturdy structures of law, governance, management, and reform. But as Jews still see Wasps as their main rivals, they aim most of their shit at Wasps while calling on blacks, browns, and others as fellow ‘victims’.)

    Of course, China does have non-Chinese ethnics but they tend to be of low-talent. I don’t see Tibetans and Uighurs contributing to China in the way that Jews contributed to Europe or Armenians contributed to the Ottoman Empire.
    China is a country where the majority are indeed the most talented. And Chinese are talented but only collectively in one direction, not least because the government still steers the main thrust of the economy.

    Also, paradoxically, Chinese are more self-centered because China suppresses individualism.
    In America, an individual is allowed to be very great and powerful. Thus, he’s filled with pride and confidence and doesn’t mind that the eyes of the nation are on him. Though some American individuals are self-centered jerks, American individualism also fosters a sense of big-mindedness.
    I’m big and successful, I’m admired and appreciated, I have obligations to the nation.

    In Asian culture, it’s bad form for a very rich or powerful individual to make a big deal of himself. He’s the object of much resentment and nasty talk. So, an Asian individual doesn’t feel that he’s the embodiment of the spirit of the nation. Instead, he’s made to made defensive and insecure for his big wealth. This has Confucian roots that degraded money men.
    So, a rich person, unable to project his success onto society as a whole, just turns inward and indulges in more lavish spending on himself. So, when it comes to crass materialism, Chinese moguls make American ones look like spartan prudes.

    In politics, an Asian can, on occasion, play the great man, as Mao did. Chinese are accustomed to the ‘emperor worship’ mode of thinking that has deep roots in the centralized form of Chinese rule and history. But not in the world of civilian life, and this may account as to why there’s little in the way of civic duty in China.

    Rich are seen as necessary. And everyone wants to be rich. But there isn’t much dignity attached to being rich, and so, the rich just hide in their own world of conspicuous consumption. The Chinese rich feel like mafia rich. Since they are considered to be not legitimate, they haven’t much to do but indulge in their riches.

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  134. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    @David Pinsen

    >This goes to my point above about scalability. I mentioned this to Noah Smith on Twitter a while back, but if you look at that corruption index, Singapore, at ~5 million residents is one of the least corrupt countries (#5 on the list, right after Norway). Hong Kong, at ~7 million is #15, ranking between Belgium and Japan. Taiwan, at ~22 million, is tied with Israel at #36. China ranks behind Tunisia at #80.

    The corruption index is MEANINGLESS, most of the rankings comes from “ratings” by third party groups the entire thing is just opinion of corruption rather than actual corruption

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  135. Sean says:

    “3. At some point, China may become a political model for countries around the world.”
    Exactly, and where will the American values in Hollywood movies be then?

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  136. “In Beijing, people defecate on the sidewalk. Apparently, Chinese clothing comes with a zipper along the “crotchorial” region so if the need to crap comes along, well, you can just unzip and go….People who defecate on sidewalks and spit on their own cultural heritage are not going to rule the world. And this all goes back to Chinese modernity not being a product of the Chinese people themselves, but being something imported from elsewhere.”

    What a ridiculous, even embarrassing, analysis. Your entire thesis of why China will not rule the world (despite already having an economy that is about to pass the US one in many ways and isn’t even close to reaching its full potential) is that you saw poop on a sidewalk. Ever been to a major US city – Detroit, Camden, Newark, Cincinnati, Memphis, St. Louis, Philadelphia, or Gary? Half of Detroit residents are behind on their water bill; there was a story the other day about the UN potentially intervening. Many of those cities are in ruins, utter ruins – far worse than what you describe with your limited knowledge of the area. Societies that do that to themselves do not last long on top. The US certainly won’t.

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    No, I've seen people dump on the sidewalk.

    Yes, we are well aware of the problem minorities inside America.

    Sorry, China is a Sh*thole, one created by its own people and not by alien transplants foolishly imported like in the United States. Alien transplants foolishly imported can be rationally exported.
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  137. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “China has no intentions to rule the world or to export any ideology”

    That’s because China is a real nation. It is based on shared ethnic and cultural identity, not continuous social revolution and “democracy.” Since the US is an empire, the only thing that holds its vast and diverse population together is a sense of moral superiority over everyone else; they see themselves as a shinning city on a hill and a beacon to the uncivilized world whose systems must all be destroyed and replaced with our own – a 21st century Crusade. America represents the last hold over of the ideological wars of the 20th century. As communism largely disappeared with the Soviet Union and China’s economic reforms, the democracy exporting industry will fall with the United States.

    One of the worst things that could happen in the future is for China to become democratic. A democratic China, in time, might actually seek to conquer the world and export its culture and ideology the way the US does now. We’re lucky that at present China has a wise government capable of restraining its unwashed masses.

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  138. John says:

    There is nothing that is truly enduring or likable about the Chinese culture. They are personally motivated by greed. They are good neighbors to no one. And they are controlled by a top-down debilitating cultural hierarchy that promises them a return to past glories.

    They traits do not add up to a promising future for them or the world.

    If the Chinese win, it will be by default.

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  139. “This is one reason why cutting edge ideas still come from the United States, not so much from East Asia.”

    Japan has introduced and perfected large numbers of advanced technological ideas and systems – the world’s first CD player, HD DVD format, the first Blueray system, Compact Discs, the world’s first commercial digital recordings, the first portable calculators, many innovations in the camera market, some of the first video cassette recorders, flash memory, efficient blue LEDs, the world’s first quartz wristwatch, one of the world’s first (if not the first) bullet train, the first flat-panel displays, some of the best video game systems….and on and on and on.

    Just ask Japanese car companies how well East Asians innovate (or American ones). Before the Tsunami, they were crushing American car companies to the extent that it looked like some of them would go out of business at some point. The only shot GM and Ford have now is the Chinese market, which has been GM’s saving grace.

    I have no reason to doubt that China can’t innovate similarly considering their huge investment in technology and manufacturing fields, relatively high mean IQ, and enormous population.

    And the main reason many cutting edge ideas still come from the United States is only due to the fact that the US has been in the game longer and has a larger population of talented individuals than any single European country. That will change sooner than you think. China is just beginning to develop.

    The same argument once applied to Japan as well. That situation changed over the course of just 20-30 years. There is no reason not to expect the same from China. Anything else is just a fairy tale.

    “But as long as the U.S. continues to willingly transfer loads of tech to China, and the Chinese continue to successfully steal loads of industrial and military tech for “the fatherland”, China has no need to become innovative.”

    Stealing tech (which I assure you the NSA does as well from Germany) is just icing on the cake. They’ll innovate plenty when they are more industrialized. Already, they invest heavily in computer and internet technology and have one of the world’s largest internet search engines (Baidu, the first Chinese company listed on the Nasdaq-100…the first of many, I assure you).

    American tech companies currently depend heavily on Chinese immigrants for innovation. Since cognitive ability is up to 80% genetic, I expect the much larger Chinese population to soar past the US technologically in the next 50 years.

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    • Replies: @map
    Divine Right,

    "Japan has introduced and perfected large numbers of advanced technological ideas and systems – the world’s first CD player, HD DVD format, the first Blueray system, Compact Discs, the world’s first commercial digital recordings, the first portable calculators, many innovations in the camera market, some of the first video cassette recorders, flash memory, efficient blue LEDs, the world’s first quartz wristwatch, one of the world’s first (if not the first) bullet train, the first flat-panel displays, some of the best video game systems….and on and on and on."

    The first CD player was designed and built by Phillips, a company in the Netherlands. The rest are just minor evolutionary changes in technology that, given enough time, anyone could come up with.

    As far as car companies? The Swedes manage to build cars as good as the Japs with a population roughly 10 percent the size, albeit with less market share. You seem not to realize how commodified automotive technology, really, most manufacturing technology, really is.

    Ford and GM are stand-alone companies competing with Japanese firms that are backstopped by the government. Now that Ford and GM have either implicit or explicit government backing, they are doing just fine.

    Yes, China has imported lots of existing, commodified technology from the West. Yippee. And they will copy it. Yawn. If the West disappeared, then China would like the same 200 years from now as it does today.

    US "tech" companies like Facebook and Google import lots of Chinese because they work cheap. And Facebook and Google are not tech companies. They are marketing firms, so that's hardly an accomplishment.

    Look, let's take a basic measure of how the locals view the prospects of future China. How many of China's successful people have actually moved their entire families to the West, either places like Vancouver in Canada, or across the coastal areas in the United States (New York, Los Angeles, etc.,) After all, you hear about all of these wealthy Chinese buying property in the US.

    Why do you think that is the case? They are bailing out on China or, at least, they want to have everything ready to decamp out of China as soon as possible. They may commute to do business, but their families can be moved at a moments notice, if they are not all already here.

    So if China's elite is preparing to bail, because only they know how much they squeezed the people to get rich, who is going to lead China into this glorious technological future? China will have little to no leadership at the top and a population where half of them are below the average in IQ, unable to work or indulge in this tech.
    , @Anonymous
    My experience, as a developer, is that "innovations" in form of things like "blue ray" or "flash memories" are no innovations.

    There are products of international standardization committees. The "whatever you mean" outstanding superior of nation, race, rocks or cities cultures or typefaces is pure illusion.

    Innovation in base technologies, the rest is work. What most people think is an "innovation" normaly is a trade name with some combinations behind.

    Imho the whole thing is a illusions of press readers. Categories depending on journalist thinking with their need to sale the readers to advertisers.

    Even US military dominance is based on the pure fact that everybody else want "peace" (except he has the opportunity to rob and slaughter the neighbor nation without penalty).

    They cant win against rice farmers and goat herders. Their proud (some steel cans with aircraft platforms called navy) sees the ocean floor in 6 hours if the will make a move against a nation who has more than rifles and rpg's and uses satellites and torpedoes.
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  140. “Little Japan is twice the size of little Britain in terms of population and Britain had committed its best troops and materiel to fighting Germany.”

    The United States was 47% larger than little Japan in terms of population (and much richer in terms of natural resources) and the Japanese committed many of its best troops, ships, and materials to fighting the US at the same time they were fighting the British. If anything, that dramatically strengthens my point. Japan was fighting a war against both the US and Britain (and later Russia) at the same time, with the US being the much stronger of the two. Any British victory against the Japanese was largely attributable to that. One on one? No contest.

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    • Replies: @Simon in London
    >>The United States was 47% larger than little Japan in terms of population (and much richer in terms of natural resources) and the Japanese committed many of its best troops, ships, and materials to fighting the US at the same time they were fighting the British. If anything, that dramatically strengthens my point. Japan was fighting a war against both the US and Britain (and later Russia) at the same time, with the US being the much stronger of the two. Any British victory against the Japanese was largely attributable to that. One on one? No contest.<<

    But the US put most of her resources into fighting Germany, not Japan. Just like Britain. The US crushed Japan with a relatively small proportion of her resources.
    Not to say that Japan was not an extremely effective warfighting nation, or that Japan might not have won a Japan (only) vs Britain (only) conflict. But 'no contest' seems silly.
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  141. “Meanwhile, the US, for all its outsourcing, cultivates dominance in food production, technology, medicine and defense.”

    Not really. China produces more food than the US (ranking number one in the world), invests heavily in computer technology (cultivating partnerships with Intel and IBM + having one of the world’s largest internet search engines), and has the world’s finest human genome project. They also spend enormously on defense and have been increasing defense spending 10%+ every year. The Pentagon is straining to find the money for this latest Iraq war considering that most of the budget cuts came as a result of anticipating cost savings from being out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    “How is China going to become the #1 superpower in the world when its wealth hinges on access to the markets of its chief rival? Where is it going to move its output if not to the United States? Move it within its undeveloped domestic market? Try to dump it in Europe, Japan or Korea?”

    1) Easy, by having the world’s number one economy — which they will have very soon.

    2) The future growth potential of most US companies resides in China. GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. The health of the US economy depends on its chief rival China.

    3) They don’t have to move their output – or all of it – with such a large population and non-democratic government. There is also the rest of Asia if they do, which is much larger in terms of total population than any of the countries you mentioned and is developing rapidly.

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    • Replies: @map
    Divine Right,

    "Not really. China produces more food than the US (ranking number one in the world)"

    Yes. Tainted food. What were they adding to baby food, again?

    "invests heavily in computer technology (cultivating partnerships with Intel and IBM + having one of the world’s largest internet search engines)"

    Yes. More cheap labor for IBM and Intel. Tell me, when will China build its own chip factories without Western corporate sponsorship, tech transfer and money and markets? Why would anyone want to use a Chinese search engine? Attack vectors for malware?

    "and has the world’s finest human genome project."

    Yawn. America had the Genome Project 25 years ago. Again, commodified technology. I don't see how "finest" is a modifier.

    "They also spend enormously on defense and have been increasing defense spending 10%+ every year. The Pentagon is straining to find the money for this latest Iraq war considering that most of the budget cuts came as a result of anticipating cost savings from being out of Afghanistan and Iraq."

    Look, wars are like aging. Just as old people die and cease to be burdens on society, so do wars end, and cease to be burdens on society. The presumption that America is going to waste away fighting these luxurious, liberal-style wars of "hearts and minds" humanism while playing "holier-than-thou" politics at home is just a weakness of linear thinking. The Chinese can build their copied military all they want and the US will continue to build theirs. And one day China may face a military with 200 years of naval experience and decades of land-based and air-based combat experience, and it will learn that gear and numbers never trump training.

    "1) Easy, by having the world’s number one economy — which they will have very soon."

    It's just circular reasoning. China will have the #1 economy because it will have the #1 economy.

    "2) The future growth potential of most US companies resides in China. GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. The health of the US economy depends on its chief rival China."

    Hardly. The USA is a car saturated market. China is not. GM has sold a total of 9 million cars since it started a "joint-venture" with Shanghai GM in 1997. Shouldn't it have moved more cars than this, given China has a population of over 1 billion people?

    "3) They don’t have to move their output – or all of it – with such a large population and non-democratic government. There is also the rest of Asia if they do, which is much larger in terms of total population than any of the countries you mentioned and is developing rapidly."

    Again...a population that cannot build on its own these technologies they are supposedly good at is not going to form much of a domestic market. The rest of Asia will raise trade barriers to Chinese exports to protect their own industries. GM's, Ford's, Toyota's and other company markets will dry up as China introduces cheaper copies of these same cars runoff from the factory tech the Chinese stole. The Chinese knockoffs will be sold at deep discounts to US markets as most locals could not afford to buy the cheaper knockoffs. Chinese economy stagnates and continues to depend on the Chinese government and American exporting to prop it up. A few Chinese get rich. Many more stay poor.

    It is not a successful model.
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  142. “In other words, how is any of this data really to be trusted? Are we really going to impressed by how much concrete or copper the Chinese use?”

    Why not? The world was impressed when America had the world’s largest car market, was the largest energy producer, consumed more copper and concrete than anyone else….

    Now all of that belongs to China. The baton has passed.

    “When we observe this passing of the baton from nation to nation, where first Portugal, then Holland, then Spain, then Britain, then America, or, before, them Greece, then Rome, etc., I don’t see how China becomes a natural inheritor of the status of global hegemony. There is, for example, the minor issue that these are all European nations, with very strong commonalities in language, culture and history. The baton of world hegemony has been passed between related people for a long time.”

    The ethnically, culturally, and linguistically similar Han Chinese population of China is larger than all of Europe combined, including Russia.

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    • Replies: @map
    Divine Right,

    "Why not? The world was impressed when America had the world’s largest car market, was the largest energy producer, consumed more copper and concrete than anyone else…."

    No, the world was impressed by how well Americans lived. It's the standard of living that was the selling point.

    "The ethnically, culturally, and linguistically similar Han Chinese population of China is larger than all of Europe combined, including Russia."

    China was always one of the world's biggest countries. So what? Yet its historical influence on the world has been nil.
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  143. Reading the comments here, I’m amazed how immune to logic humans are in general. I’ve pretty much schooled all commenters but yet there are still people trying to cling to the notion that magically the US will be number one forever. Usually, these arguments are bereft of historical comparison, knowledge of economics, sources, etc. Almost all of them rely exclusively on magical or outdated thinking – or just outright fabrications: “China won’t surpass the US because I observe Chinese culture to be…..I saw something in Beijing once….the US has the largest market for (nope, China has that)…because they said the same about Japan (not an original argument, you just heard that on TV once), who will they sell to (everyone else – the US is only 21% of global GDP and will be less than 10% by 2050)…etc.”

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    • Replies: @Simon in London
    @Divine Right - are you Chinese? >:)
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  144. “Gee, it almost makes you think that the USG cultivated this by design since the end of WWII, of which China is simply the last piece in the puzzle. The first-mover disadvantages of pulling out of the US economy are huge, plus the US has the advantage of pulling the plug on the Chinese juggernaut whenever it’s necessary.

    I just don’t see that changing anytime soon.”

    The US anticipated dominating little countries that participated in this design. China has a multiple of the US population.

    Furthermore, the US could hardly pull the plug on the Chinese economy without cutting its own throat. Such an attempt would only 1) dramatically increase expenses for the cash-strapped America consumer 2) reduce the American standard of living as Americans payed more for virtually everything on income that has been stagnant for decades 3) take a long time to accomplish (building factories and returning jobs would take years or decades to accomplish) 4) could easily crash the global economy and cause European allies to abandon the United States in favor of peace with China 5) cause a depression in the United States in the near term 6) bankrupt several American companies and, perhaps, cause at least one American car company to go out of business resulting in huge job losses and government bailouts.

    Additionally, China has pursed alternate energy arrangements with Russia and is seeking to dominate off shore oil production in disputed water ways. In the future, this will give them some degree of immunity from American energy sanctions as the result of a conflict.

    I see things changing very soon. In fact, they are changing before my very eyes.

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    • Replies: @map
    Divine Right,

    "Furthermore, the US could hardly pull the plug on the Chinese economy without cutting its own throat. Such an attempt would only 1) dramatically increase expenses for the cash-strapped America consumer 2) reduce the American standard of living as Americans payed more for virtually everything on income that has been stagnant for decades 3) take a long time to accomplish (building factories and returning jobs would take years or decades to accomplish) 4) could easily crash the global economy and cause European allies to abandon the United States in favor of peace with China 5) cause a depression in the United States in the near term 6) bankrupt several American companies and, perhaps, cause at least one American car company to go out of business resulting in huge job losses and government bailouts."

    First of all, it will not dramatically increase expenses. Companies did not relocate to China to make things cheaper for Americans. They relocated to increase their profit margins. The prices we Americans pay have been going up for at least 15 years. So, China is not doing anything to make goods cheaper. Americans will not be paying more than we are now, or not noticeably more.

    Why would it take decades to build factories? Did someone forget how to do it? Factories are just buildings and equipment. The knowledge to build this is commodified.

    Let's see what happens if the US decided to not import anything more from China. Europe, Japan and Korea will step up production. They will gladly take over the market left by a Chinese vacuum. And, guess what? America will still get Chinese goods, as the Chinese are forced to go through intermediaries, "white-labeling" their products for others to sell. The intermediaries will drive a hard bargain on price, and cannibalize portions of China's profit margins. The Chinese will acquiesce. They cannot sell the former American-designated output to their own people because the per capita income is too low...yet they cannot scale back production because their...per capita income is too low and unemployment is devastating. Japan, Korea, Europe and Russia will not allow China to dump that output in their economies because all these nations practice trade restrictions.

    You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world economy works. The United States is a "bottleneck" economy. We encouraged mercantalist practices in the two major superpowers that we defeated in WWII: Japan and Germany. Japan anchored all of East Asia and Germany anchored Europe.

    Japan and Germany became major exporters whose primary market was the United States. This tied the Japanese and the Germans to the US economy in ways that the previous free trade system could not. They also grew rapidly in the post-War boom thanks to access to US markets.

    When other nations started emulating the Japanese and German model, they discovered that they could not move their exports to Japan or Germany. So they, again, defaulted to the United States. One by one, nation after nation, tied their export-based, import restricted economies to the United States because that is where they could move their surplus output, including China...until we are where we are today.

    At its peak, the official US trade deficit was $700 billion dollars annually and I suspect it is much higher. But this does not capture in absolute terms the sheer quantity of goods the US imports and the power that this represents. The US is the world's bazaar for surplus output, the importer of last resort. If you don't get into the bazaar, then you don't get to sell. What is that worth to an exporter? Is it worth financing consumer debt in the bazaar? Is it worth tolerating currency devaluation? Is it worth putting up with military dalliances? Yes.

    For China to become the true #1 economy, it would need to emulate the United States in becoming the world's biggest importer. It would have to become the place to move surplus output, not just be another actor selling surplus output. But this China cannot do. It does not want to disadvantage its own businesses. It does not want transparent and stable property rights applied to foreign entities. It somehow wants a currency to trade internationally but not represent any ownership stake in China itself. It wants a fantasy because it believes that it is simply a giant corporation operating in a free market that it will dominate.
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  145. “One implication of China as #1 is that the Japanese get nervous and start to get un-pacifist.”

    And that puts the US in a very dangerous position. Ironically, it may cause the US in the future to scale back on Japanese commitment in order to avoid a war.

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  146. “The place is corruption central. They screw each other over all the time. They are accustomed to working in groups; yes; they are also accustomed to stabbing each other in the back, taking bribes, bribing others, lying, cheating. Have a look at the corruption perception index – in terms of honesty there are north-western Europeans, and there is everyone else.”

    China’s economy will be so large that it won’t matter. They could be the most corrupt country in the world and still dominate the US.

    Corruption across EU ‘breathtaking’ – EU Commission

    “…the true cost of corruption was “probably much higher” than 120bn [euros - or $163 billion]….The cost to the EU economy is equivalent to the bloc’s annual budget.”

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26014387

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  147. “There is nothing that is truly enduring or likable about the Chinese culture.”

    That’s a matter of taste. I’m not sure it has too much bearing on future Chinese economic prowess.

    “They are personally motivated by greed.”

    The greedy Asian stereotype. Even if true, it’s not like that will blunt their economic potential to the degree that China does not pass the US.

    “They are good neighbors to no one.”

    Countries or governments that the US has invaded, attacked, threatened to attack, overthrown, or attempted to overthrow since 2000: Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Yemen, Pakistan, Cuba, China (indirectly over Japan), Afghanistan, Somalia, and probably Venezuela.

    “And they are controlled by a top-down debilitating cultural hierarchy that promises them a return to past glories.”

    Our own elite has done quite a bit of damage themselves by promising the public security in exchange for endless war.

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  148. “Why would they sue for peace when they are not at war with China.”

    They are definitely in competition with China. The Chinese are making territorial demands that some of those countries are resisting, in part, with implied US backing. As China gets stronger and regional US commitment is perceived to wane, those weak countries will seek peace before losing to China in a military or economic war; this may start to happen in as little as 15 years – before China gets so strong that peace terms are overwhelmingly favorable to China.

    “If China acts the bully, southeastern nations can forge closer ties with US, Japan, and India as countermeasure.”

    That may not do much good in the long term. India has distanced itself from the US as a result of being insulted by US comments on its laws towards gays; India will remain a deeply conservative country for decades to come and future US social pronouncements and interventionist belligerence may drive them even further away. In a surprise move, they may forge closer ties with China in the future. This would pretty much ensure the future failure of US-China containment strategy. The US would still have significant assets in the region, but it would only be a matter of time before China broke out somewhere and took them away one by one.

    Japan’s economy is verging on basket case status. Its national debt is 240% of GDP – gargantuan. Abe may finally crash it by overspending on the military. Long term, with their already old demographics, they are chopped liver.

    Besides India and Russia, the other nations in the region are weak and of little consequence. China will attempt to remove the major players through building up its military and scaring them away, then dominate its weak neighborhood.

    Russia is fast becoming an ally and even India may be as well one day. This will only strengthen China’s hand even more. Obama foolishly drove Russia to sign that “holy grail” energy deal with China. This could dramatically strengthen China’s hand in any future engagement with the US as they would have some limited shield against US energy sanctions.

    “The stupidest thing China could do is to alienate all its neighboring states. Burma has already moved out of the Chinese orbit. If China bullies Vietnam, other smaller states will turn anti-chinese and cooperate with China’s rivals and enemies.”

    Most of China’s rivals in the long term are either weak or of no consequence. The ones that are a threat either feel alienated by the US or cannot afford the military spending necessary to repel China. They will sue for peace at some point, probably before they think China gets too strong to negotiate with.

    Imagine China having 20 aircraft carriers in the year 2050 (after having landed on Mars). Vietnam and the Philippines will negotiate.

    The opinion that I’ve given here and above on Chinese Asia-Pacific strategy is almost certainly the calculus of the Chinese government and military. Everything they have done points to this being the case.

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  149. 2Degrees says:

    Divine Right!

    If anyone is short on facts, it is you.

    You say: “The United States was 47% larger than little Japan in terms of population (and much richer in terms of natural resources) and the Japanese committed many of its best troops, ships, and materials to fighting the US at the same time they were fighting the British. If anything, that dramatically strengthens my point. Japan was fighting a war against both the US and Britain (and later Russia) at the same time, with the US being the much stronger of the two.”

    1). I know that you know everything, but these comparisons are not as easy as you think.

    In 1939-40, Russia thrashed Japan in the Far East and was then thrashed by tiny Finland.

    2). When Japan entered the war, the Soviets were fighting desperately on the outskirts of their own capital city. They had to withdraw their forces from Siberia. Siberia was undefended, but the Japanese did not take advantage.

    Russia only entered the war against Japan in the last few days.

    3). At the beginning of WW II, America had relatively small armed forces and was not a major power. Japan was crushed as America brought its industrial potential to bear.

    4). Britain. like America, had massively neglected its military in the interwar years, while Japan launched one invasion after another on Chinese territory.

    I have a PhD in history and a degree in geology. A thorough-going study of history from the primary sources makes you wary of “what-ifs”. If the Russians were able to knock Japan flat in distant Mongolia, far away from the Russian heartland, why did the Fins knock them flat when the front was only a few miles from Russia’s second city.

    Geology teaches you that you cannot know everything as so much of the rock record has been lost. I see a wonderful career for you in palaeontology. The field has been without a professional know-it-all since the death of Stephen J. Gould.

    5). The Japanese were quickly able to seize the Dutch East Indies, because tiny Holland was under German occupation. The Dutch East Indies were a major source of oil and the Japanese also had access to the ore deposits of Northern Korea and Manchuria, which they had had over a generation to develop.

    The biggest contribution t the US victory was made by the US submarine fleet which sunk most of Japan’s merchant marine isolating her from these resources.

    6). Britain had been as war with Germany for two years in late 1941 and had seen its infrastructure smashed from the air. Germany and Austria together are nearly twice the size of Britain.

    7). China was an extremely weak power in 1941, but it is big and it kept a large proportion of the Japanese army tied down. You don’t mention that. Maybe you should bring your vast knowledge and cutting intellect t bear on that subject. Harvard should create a chair for you.

    Admiral Yamamoto predicted, the Japanese won easy victories against ill-prepared enemies and then were ground down. Who knows what would have happened if the Second World War had not happened in Europe. Would there have been an alliance of European states against Japan. No one knows, but your opinions are less informed than many other people’s.

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  150. “In 1939-40, Russia thrashed Japan in the Far East and was then thrashed by tiny Finland.”

    You’re almost certainly referring to Khalkhin Gol, a series border clashes in the region around Mongolia. It did not result in a war between Russia and Japan. In any case, it has no logical relevance to the argument at hand because 1) losing one battle far from Japan and close to Russia does not mean that one will lose a war and 2) the argument was Japan vs. Britain and whether Britain would have declared war on Japan if they had made peace with Germany before Pearl Harbor, not whatever you posted here.

    “When Japan entered the war, the Soviets were fighting desperately on the outskirts of their own capital city. They had to withdraw their forces from Siberia. Siberia was undefended, but the Japanese did not take advantage.

    Russia only entered the war against Japan in the last few days.”

    All true but completely irrelevant to the argument.

    “I have a PhD in history and a degree in geology.”

    Appeal to authority fallacy. I have a PhD in molecular biology and a degree in history as well. Relevance? None.

    “China was an extremely weak power in 1941, but it is big and it kept a large proportion of the Japanese army tied down. You don’t mention that.”

    I didn’t have to because it wasn’t part of the argument. Perhaps you should seek a degree in psychology.

    The rest of your long post is the same – a bunch of irrelevant points that were not part of the original discussion. So, I won’t even bother with them.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    You're amazing.

    You say that America had abundant natural resources and Japan didn't. They when I point out that Japan had the oil of the East Indies and the ores of Manchuria, you say it's irrelevant.

    You say that Japan had to fight Russia, the US and Britain. I point ot that Japan only fought Russia for a few days at the end of the way. You say irrelevant.

    I could go on, but it's not worth the effort.

    Someone shoots down one of your arguments and you just scream irrelevant.

    Oh, and Khalkin Gol is a hell of a lot closer to Tokyo than it is to Moscow and the Japanese were well ensconced in neighbouring Manchuria. There is ample evidence that the Japanese took their defeat very seriously. It favoured the Nanshin Movement enormously.

    You were talking about the relative strengths of the various powers up to 1941. The Battle for Moscow, the war in China and the fall of Hollland and France to the Nazis are highly relevant.

    Japan attacked when her potential enemies were engaged elsewhere or unprepared.
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  151. Bill M says:

    Speaking as someone who is fluent in Japanese and now lives in Korea, the most important factor to bear in mind is that, in the minds of many (not all!) Asians, we are not really human. I said a jovial “Anyeong haseyo” as I walked in just now. The lady on the desk could not even be bothered to acknowledge my existence. I now know how it feels to be a cockroach.

    Koreans and Asians generally are a shy people and jovially greeting strangers is not common. If the lady doesn’t acknowledge you, it’s more likely out of shyness and timidity than because she looks down on you. It’s like dealing with shy and introverted Western people, only more so. Being very jovial and extroverted can intimidate such people and make them more withdrawn, which more extroverted people tend to wrongly interpret as arrogance or hostility.

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    • Replies: @Anonymous
    I don't speak Korean so I may be misinterpreting the situation. Koreans, however, don't strike me as meek.

    Japanese people are compulsively shy, but Koreans don't seem to be and when this lady wants something she's very direct.
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  152. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “Reading the comments here, I’m amazed how immune to logic humans are in general. I’ve pretty much schooled all commenters but yet there are still people trying to cling to the notion that magically the US will be number one forever. ”

    America’s #1 problem: Negroes.

    Europe’s #1 problem: Negroes.

    China’s greatest asset: No Negroes.

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  153. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:

    “Most of China’s rivals in the long term are either weak or of no consequence.”

    Such middle kingdom arrogance make china many enemies and ruin its image around world.

    It no good.

    Chinese think like old days all over again?

    Very stupid people.

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  154. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Divine Right
    "In 1939-40, Russia thrashed Japan in the Far East and was then thrashed by tiny Finland."

    You're almost certainly referring to Khalkhin Gol, a series border clashes in the region around Mongolia. It did not result in a war between Russia and Japan. In any case, it has no logical relevance to the argument at hand because 1) losing one battle far from Japan and close to Russia does not mean that one will lose a war and 2) the argument was Japan vs. Britain and whether Britain would have declared war on Japan if they had made peace with Germany before Pearl Harbor, not whatever you posted here.

    "When Japan entered the war, the Soviets were fighting desperately on the outskirts of their own capital city. They had to withdraw their forces from Siberia. Siberia was undefended, but the Japanese did not take advantage.

    Russia only entered the war against Japan in the last few days."

    All true but completely irrelevant to the argument.

    "I have a PhD in history and a degree in geology."

    Appeal to authority fallacy. I have a PhD in molecular biology and a degree in history as well. Relevance? None.

    "China was an extremely weak power in 1941, but it is big and it kept a large proportion of the Japanese army tied down. You don’t mention that."

    I didn't have to because it wasn't part of the argument. Perhaps you should seek a degree in psychology.

    The rest of your long post is the same - a bunch of irrelevant points that were not part of the original discussion. So, I won't even bother with them.

    You’re amazing.

    You say that America had abundant natural resources and Japan didn’t. They when I point out that Japan had the oil of the East Indies and the ores of Manchuria, you say it’s irrelevant.

    You say that Japan had to fight Russia, the US and Britain. I point ot that Japan only fought Russia for a few days at the end of the way. You say irrelevant.

    I could go on, but it’s not worth the effort.

    Someone shoots down one of your arguments and you just scream irrelevant.

    Oh, and Khalkin Gol is a hell of a lot closer to Tokyo than it is to Moscow and the Japanese were well ensconced in neighbouring Manchuria. There is ample evidence that the Japanese took their defeat very seriously. It favoured the Nanshin Movement enormously.

    You were talking about the relative strengths of the various powers up to 1941. The Battle for Moscow, the war in China and the fall of Hollland and France to the Nazis are highly relevant.

    Japan attacked when her potential enemies were engaged elsewhere or unprepared.

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  155. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Bill M

    Speaking as someone who is fluent in Japanese and now lives in Korea, the most important factor to bear in mind is that, in the minds of many (not all!) Asians, we are not really human. I said a jovial “Anyeong haseyo” as I walked in just now. The lady on the desk could not even be bothered to acknowledge my existence. I now know how it feels to be a cockroach.
     
    Koreans and Asians generally are a shy people and jovially greeting strangers is not common. If the lady doesn't acknowledge you, it's more likely out of shyness and timidity than because she looks down on you. It's like dealing with shy and introverted Western people, only more so. Being very jovial and extroverted can intimidate such people and make them more withdrawn, which more extroverted people tend to wrongly interpret as arrogance or hostility.

    I don’t speak Korean so I may be misinterpreting the situation. Koreans, however, don’t strike me as meek.

    Japanese people are compulsively shy, but Koreans don’t seem to be and when this lady wants something she’s very direct.

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  156. […] is more, mostly a series of broader points about China, many of which I do not agree with but interesting […]

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  157. Priss Factor [AKA "Cloudcastler"] says:
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  158. map says:
    @Divine Right
    "In Beijing, people defecate on the sidewalk. Apparently, Chinese clothing comes with a zipper along the “crotchorial” region so if the need to crap comes along, well, you can just unzip and go....People who defecate on sidewalks and spit on their own cultural heritage are not going to rule the world. And this all goes back to Chinese modernity not being a product of the Chinese people themselves, but being something imported from elsewhere."

    What a ridiculous, even embarrassing, analysis. Your entire thesis of why China will not rule the world (despite already having an economy that is about to pass the US one in many ways and isn't even close to reaching its full potential) is that you saw poop on a sidewalk. Ever been to a major US city - Detroit, Camden, Newark, Cincinnati, Memphis, St. Louis, Philadelphia, or Gary? Half of Detroit residents are behind on their water bill; there was a story the other day about the UN potentially intervening. Many of those cities are in ruins, utter ruins - far worse than what you describe with your limited knowledge of the area. Societies that do that to themselves do not last long on top. The US certainly won't.

    No, I’ve seen people dump on the sidewalk.

    Yes, we are well aware of the problem minorities inside America.

    Sorry, China is a Sh*thole, one created by its own people and not by alien transplants foolishly imported like in the United States. Alien transplants foolishly imported can be rationally exported.

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  159. map says:
    @Divine Right
    "This is one reason why cutting edge ideas still come from the United States, not so much from East Asia."

    Japan has introduced and perfected large numbers of advanced technological ideas and systems - the world's first CD player, HD DVD format, the first Blueray system, Compact Discs, the world's first commercial digital recordings, the first portable calculators, many innovations in the camera market, some of the first video cassette recorders, flash memory, efficient blue LEDs, the world's first quartz wristwatch, one of the world's first (if not the first) bullet train, the first flat-panel displays, some of the best video game systems....and on and on and on.

    Just ask Japanese car companies how well East Asians innovate (or American ones). Before the Tsunami, they were crushing American car companies to the extent that it looked like some of them would go out of business at some point. The only shot GM and Ford have now is the Chinese market, which has been GM's saving grace.

    I have no reason to doubt that China can't innovate similarly considering their huge investment in technology and manufacturing fields, relatively high mean IQ, and enormous population.

    And the main reason many cutting edge ideas still come from the United States is only due to the fact that the US has been in the game longer and has a larger population of talented individuals than any single European country. That will change sooner than you think. China is just beginning to develop.

    The same argument once applied to Japan as well. That situation changed over the course of just 20-30 years. There is no reason not to expect the same from China. Anything else is just a fairy tale.

    "But as long as the U.S. continues to willingly transfer loads of tech to China, and the Chinese continue to successfully steal loads of industrial and military tech for “the fatherland”, China has no need to become innovative."

    Stealing tech (which I assure you the NSA does as well from Germany) is just icing on the cake. They'll innovate plenty when they are more industrialized. Already, they invest heavily in computer and internet technology and have one of the world's largest internet search engines (Baidu, the first Chinese company listed on the Nasdaq-100...the first of many, I assure you).

    American tech companies currently depend heavily on Chinese immigrants for innovation. Since cognitive ability is up to 80% genetic, I expect the much larger Chinese population to soar past the US technologically in the next 50 years.

    Divine Right,

    “Japan has introduced and perfected large numbers of advanced technological ideas and systems – the world’s first CD player, HD DVD format, the first Blueray system, Compact Discs, the world’s first commercial digital recordings, the first portable calculators, many innovations in the camera market, some of the first video cassette recorders, flash memory, efficient blue LEDs, the world’s first quartz wristwatch, one of the world’s first (if not the first) bullet train, the first flat-panel displays, some of the best video game systems….and on and on and on.”

    The first CD player was designed and built by Phillips, a company in the Netherlands. The rest are just minor evolutionary changes in technology that, given enough time, anyone could come up with.

    As far as car companies? The Swedes manage to build cars as good as the Japs with a population roughly 10 percent the size, albeit with less market share. You seem not to realize how commodified automotive technology, really, most manufacturing technology, really is.

    Ford and GM are stand-alone companies competing with Japanese firms that are backstopped by the government. Now that Ford and GM have either implicit or explicit government backing, they are doing just fine.

    Yes, China has imported lots of existing, commodified technology from the West. Yippee. And they will copy it. Yawn. If the West disappeared, then China would like the same 200 years from now as it does today.

    US “tech” companies like Facebook and Google import lots of Chinese because they work cheap. And Facebook and Google are not tech companies. They are marketing firms, so that’s hardly an accomplishment.

    Look, let’s take a basic measure of how the locals view the prospects of future China. How many of China’s successful people have actually moved their entire families to the West, either places like Vancouver in Canada, or across the coastal areas in the United States (New York, Los Angeles, etc.,) After all, you hear about all of these wealthy Chinese buying property in the US.

    Why do you think that is the case? They are bailing out on China or, at least, they want to have everything ready to decamp out of China as soon as possible. They may commute to do business, but their families can be moved at a moments notice, if they are not all already here.

    So if China’s elite is preparing to bail, because only they know how much they squeezed the people to get rich, who is going to lead China into this glorious technological future? China will have little to no leadership at the top and a population where half of them are below the average in IQ, unable to work or indulge in this tech.

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  160. map says:
    @Divine Right
    "Meanwhile, the US, for all its outsourcing, cultivates dominance in food production, technology, medicine and defense."

    Not really. China produces more food than the US (ranking number one in the world), invests heavily in computer technology (cultivating partnerships with Intel and IBM + having one of the world's largest internet search engines), and has the world's finest human genome project. They also spend enormously on defense and have been increasing defense spending 10%+ every year. The Pentagon is straining to find the money for this latest Iraq war considering that most of the budget cuts came as a result of anticipating cost savings from being out of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    "How is China going to become the #1 superpower in the world when its wealth hinges on access to the markets of its chief rival? Where is it going to move its output if not to the United States? Move it within its undeveloped domestic market? Try to dump it in Europe, Japan or Korea?"

    1) Easy, by having the world's number one economy -- which they will have very soon.

    2) The future growth potential of most US companies resides in China. GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. The health of the US economy depends on its chief rival China.

    3) They don't have to move their output - or all of it - with such a large population and non-democratic government. There is also the rest of Asia if they do, which is much larger in terms of total population than any of the countries you mentioned and is developing rapidly.

    Divine Right,

    “Not really. China produces more food than the US (ranking number one in the world)”

    Yes. Tainted food. What were they adding to baby food, again?

    “invests heavily in computer technology (cultivating partnerships with Intel and IBM + having one of the world’s largest internet search engines)”

    Yes. More cheap labor for IBM and Intel. Tell me, when will China build its own chip factories without Western corporate sponsorship, tech transfer and money and markets? Why would anyone want to use a Chinese search engine? Attack vectors for malware?

    “and has the world’s finest human genome project.”

    Yawn. America had the Genome Project 25 years ago. Again, commodified technology. I don’t see how “finest” is a modifier.

    “They also spend enormously on defense and have been increasing defense spending 10%+ every year. The Pentagon is straining to find the money for this latest Iraq war considering that most of the budget cuts came as a result of anticipating cost savings from being out of Afghanistan and Iraq.”

    Look, wars are like aging. Just as old people die and cease to be burdens on society, so do wars end, and cease to be burdens on society. The presumption that America is going to waste away fighting these luxurious, liberal-style wars of “hearts and minds” humanism while playing “holier-than-thou” politics at home is just a weakness of linear thinking. The Chinese can build their copied military all they want and the US will continue to build theirs. And one day China may face a military with 200 years of naval experience and decades of land-based and air-based combat experience, and it will learn that gear and numbers never trump training.

    “1) Easy, by having the world’s number one economy — which they will have very soon.”

    It’s just circular reasoning. China will have the #1 economy because it will have the #1 economy.

    “2) The future growth potential of most US companies resides in China. GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. The health of the US economy depends on its chief rival China.”

    Hardly. The USA is a car saturated market. China is not. GM has sold a total of 9 million cars since it started a “joint-venture” with Shanghai GM in 1997. Shouldn’t it have moved more cars than this, given China has a population of over 1 billion people?

    “3) They don’t have to move their output – or all of it – with such a large population and non-democratic government. There is also the rest of Asia if they do, which is much larger in terms of total population than any of the countries you mentioned and is developing rapidly.”

    Again…a population that cannot build on its own these technologies they are supposedly good at is not going to form much of a domestic market. The rest of Asia will raise trade barriers to Chinese exports to protect their own industries. GM’s, Ford’s, Toyota’s and other company markets will dry up as China introduces cheaper copies of these same cars runoff from the factory tech the Chinese stole. The Chinese knockoffs will be sold at deep discounts to US markets as most locals could not afford to buy the cheaper knockoffs. Chinese economy stagnates and continues to depend on the Chinese government and American exporting to prop it up. A few Chinese get rich. Many more stay poor.

    It is not a successful model.

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  161. map says:
    @Divine Right
    "In other words, how is any of this data really to be trusted? Are we really going to impressed by how much concrete or copper the Chinese use?"

    Why not? The world was impressed when America had the world's largest car market, was the largest energy producer, consumed more copper and concrete than anyone else....

    Now all of that belongs to China. The baton has passed.

    "When we observe this passing of the baton from nation to nation, where first Portugal, then Holland, then Spain, then Britain, then America, or, before, them Greece, then Rome, etc., I don’t see how China becomes a natural inheritor of the status of global hegemony. There is, for example, the minor issue that these are all European nations, with very strong commonalities in language, culture and history. The baton of world hegemony has been passed between related people for a long time."

    The ethnically, culturally, and linguistically similar Han Chinese population of China is larger than all of Europe combined, including Russia.

    Divine Right,

    “Why not? The world was impressed when America had the world’s largest car market, was the largest energy producer, consumed more copper and concrete than anyone else….”

    No, the world was impressed by how well Americans lived. It’s the standard of living that was the selling point.

    “The ethnically, culturally, and linguistically similar Han Chinese population of China is larger than all of Europe combined, including Russia.”

    China was always one of the world’s biggest countries. So what? Yet its historical influence on the world has been nil.

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  162. @Divine Right
    "Little Japan is twice the size of little Britain in terms of population and Britain had committed its best troops and materiel to fighting Germany."

    The United States was 47% larger than little Japan in terms of population (and much richer in terms of natural resources) and the Japanese committed many of its best troops, ships, and materials to fighting the US at the same time they were fighting the British. If anything, that dramatically strengthens my point. Japan was fighting a war against both the US and Britain (and later Russia) at the same time, with the US being the much stronger of the two. Any British victory against the Japanese was largely attributable to that. One on one? No contest.

    >>The United States was 47% larger than little Japan in terms of population (and much richer in terms of natural resources) and the Japanese committed many of its best troops, ships, and materials to fighting the US at the same time they were fighting the British. If anything, that dramatically strengthens my point. Japan was fighting a war against both the US and Britain (and later Russia) at the same time, with the US being the much stronger of the two. Any British victory against the Japanese was largely attributable to that. One on one? No contest.<<

    But the US put most of her resources into fighting Germany, not Japan. Just like Britain. The US crushed Japan with a relatively small proportion of her resources.
    Not to say that Japan was not an extremely effective warfighting nation, or that Japan might not have won a Japan (only) vs Britain (only) conflict. But 'no contest' seems silly.

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  163. @Divine Right
    Reading the comments here, I'm amazed how immune to logic humans are in general. I've pretty much schooled all commenters but yet there are still people trying to cling to the notion that magically the US will be number one forever. Usually, these arguments are bereft of historical comparison, knowledge of economics, sources, etc. Almost all of them rely exclusively on magical or outdated thinking - or just outright fabrications: "China won't surpass the US because I observe Chinese culture to be.....I saw something in Beijing once....the US has the largest market for (nope, China has that)...because they said the same about Japan (not an original argument, you just heard that on TV once), who will they sell to (everyone else - the US is only 21% of global GDP and will be less than 10% by 2050)...etc."

    – are you Chinese? >:)

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  164. map says:
    @Divine Right
    "Gee, it almost makes you think that the USG cultivated this by design since the end of WWII, of which China is simply the last piece in the puzzle. The first-mover disadvantages of pulling out of the US economy are huge, plus the US has the advantage of pulling the plug on the Chinese juggernaut whenever it’s necessary.

    I just don’t see that changing anytime soon."

    The US anticipated dominating little countries that participated in this design. China has a multiple of the US population.

    Furthermore, the US could hardly pull the plug on the Chinese economy without cutting its own throat. Such an attempt would only 1) dramatically increase expenses for the cash-strapped America consumer 2) reduce the American standard of living as Americans payed more for virtually everything on income that has been stagnant for decades 3) take a long time to accomplish (building factories and returning jobs would take years or decades to accomplish) 4) could easily crash the global economy and cause European allies to abandon the United States in favor of peace with China 5) cause a depression in the United States in the near term 6) bankrupt several American companies and, perhaps, cause at least one American car company to go out of business resulting in huge job losses and government bailouts.

    Additionally, China has pursed alternate energy arrangements with Russia and is seeking to dominate off shore oil production in disputed water ways. In the future, this will give them some degree of immunity from American energy sanctions as the result of a conflict.

    I see things changing very soon. In fact, they are changing before my very eyes.

    Divine Right,

    “Furthermore, the US could hardly pull the plug on the Chinese economy without cutting its own throat. Such an attempt would only 1) dramatically increase expenses for the cash-strapped America consumer 2) reduce the American standard of living as Americans payed more for virtually everything on income that has been stagnant for decades 3) take a long time to accomplish (building factories and returning jobs would take years or decades to accomplish) 4) could easily crash the global economy and cause European allies to abandon the United States in favor of peace with China 5) cause a depression in the United States in the near term 6) bankrupt several American companies and, perhaps, cause at least one American car company to go out of business resulting in huge job losses and government bailouts.”

    First of all, it will not dramatically increase expenses. Companies did not relocate to China to make things cheaper for Americans. They relocated to increase their profit margins. The prices we Americans pay have been going up for at least 15 years. So, China is not doing anything to make goods cheaper. Americans will not be paying more than we are now, or not noticeably more.

    Why would it take decades to build factories? Did someone forget how to do it? Factories are just buildings and equipment. The knowledge to build this is commodified.

    Let’s see what happens if the US decided to not import anything more from China. Europe, Japan and Korea will step up production. They will gladly take over the market left by a Chinese vacuum. And, guess what? America will still get Chinese goods, as the Chinese are forced to go through intermediaries, “white-labeling” their products for others to sell. The intermediaries will drive a hard bargain on price, and cannibalize portions of China’s profit margins. The Chinese will acquiesce. They cannot sell the former American-designated output to their own people because the per capita income is too low…yet they cannot scale back production because their…per capita income is too low and unemployment is devastating. Japan, Korea, Europe and Russia will not allow China to dump that output in their economies because all these nations practice trade restrictions.

    You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world economy works. The United States is a “bottleneck” economy. We encouraged mercantalist practices in the two major superpowers that we defeated in WWII: Japan and Germany. Japan anchored all of East Asia and Germany anchored Europe.

    Japan and Germany became major exporters whose primary market was the United States. This tied the Japanese and the Germans to the US economy in ways that the previous free trade system could not. They also grew rapidly in the post-War boom thanks to access to US markets.

    When other nations started emulating the Japanese and German model, they discovered that they could not move their exports to Japan or Germany. So they, again, defaulted to the United States. One by one, nation after nation, tied their export-based, import restricted economies to the United States because that is where they could move their surplus output, including China…until we are where we are today.

    At its peak, the official US trade deficit was $700 billion dollars annually and I suspect it is much higher. But this does not capture in absolute terms the sheer quantity of goods the US imports and the power that this represents. The US is the world’s bazaar for surplus output, the importer of last resort. If you don’t get into the bazaar, then you don’t get to sell. What is that worth to an exporter? Is it worth financing consumer debt in the bazaar? Is it worth tolerating currency devaluation? Is it worth putting up with military dalliances? Yes.

    For China to become the true #1 economy, it would need to emulate the United States in becoming the world’s biggest importer. It would have to become the place to move surplus output, not just be another actor selling surplus output. But this China cannot do. It does not want to disadvantage its own businesses. It does not want transparent and stable property rights applied to foreign entities. It somehow wants a currency to trade internationally but not represent any ownership stake in China itself. It wants a fantasy because it believes that it is simply a giant corporation operating in a free market that it will dominate.

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  165. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer
    @Divine Right
    "This is one reason why cutting edge ideas still come from the United States, not so much from East Asia."

    Japan has introduced and perfected large numbers of advanced technological ideas and systems - the world's first CD player, HD DVD format, the first Blueray system, Compact Discs, the world's first commercial digital recordings, the first portable calculators, many innovations in the camera market, some of the first video cassette recorders, flash memory, efficient blue LEDs, the world's first quartz wristwatch, one of the world's first (if not the first) bullet train, the first flat-panel displays, some of the best video game systems....and on and on and on.

    Just ask Japanese car companies how well East Asians innovate (or American ones). Before the Tsunami, they were crushing American car companies to the extent that it looked like some of them would go out of business at some point. The only shot GM and Ford have now is the Chinese market, which has been GM's saving grace.

    I have no reason to doubt that China can't innovate similarly considering their huge investment in technology and manufacturing fields, relatively high mean IQ, and enormous population.

    And the main reason many cutting edge ideas still come from the United States is only due to the fact that the US has been in the game longer and has a larger population of talented individuals than any single European country. That will change sooner than you think. China is just beginning to develop.

    The same argument once applied to Japan as well. That situation changed over the course of just 20-30 years. There is no reason not to expect the same from China. Anything else is just a fairy tale.

    "But as long as the U.S. continues to willingly transfer loads of tech to China, and the Chinese continue to successfully steal loads of industrial and military tech for “the fatherland”, China has no need to become innovative."

    Stealing tech (which I assure you the NSA does as well from Germany) is just icing on the cake. They'll innovate plenty when they are more industrialized. Already, they invest heavily in computer and internet technology and have one of the world's largest internet search engines (Baidu, the first Chinese company listed on the Nasdaq-100...the first of many, I assure you).

    American tech companies currently depend heavily on Chinese immigrants for innovation. Since cognitive ability is up to 80% genetic, I expect the much larger Chinese population to soar past the US technologically in the next 50 years.

    My experience, as a developer, is that “innovations” in form of things like “blue ray” or “flash memories” are no innovations.

    There are products of international standardization committees. The “whatever you mean” outstanding superior of nation, race, rocks or cities cultures or typefaces is pure illusion.

    Innovation in base technologies, the rest is work. What most people think is an “innovation” normaly is a trade name with some combinations behind.

    Imho the whole thing is a illusions of press readers. Categories depending on journalist thinking with their need to sale the readers to advertisers.

    Even US military dominance is based on the pure fact that everybody else want “peace” (except he has the opportunity to rob and slaughter the neighbor nation without penalty).

    They cant win against rice farmers and goat herders. Their proud (some steel cans with aircraft platforms called navy) sees the ocean floor in 6 hours if the will make a move against a nation who has more than rifles and rpg’s and uses satellites and torpedoes.

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  166. Rudy says:


    Some have already disputed your contention that the Japanese have been as innovative as you claim in CD and computer tech. Regardless, to the extent that your list is correct, many innovative technologies from Japan come from Japanese who spent a significant amount of time in the West, usually the USA. They bring that thinking back to their own country. It’s not that East Asians cannot innovate, but they are much less likely to do so in the very hierarchical and structured cultures in their countries, without external influence.

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  167. Priss Factor [AKA "Skyislander"] says: • Website

    “I don’t speak Korean so I may be misinterpreting the situation. Koreans, however, don’t strike me as meek.”

    Koreans are not meek. They are stiff and awkward. Sometimes gawkward. Their emotions run from hot to cold. They know how to be very cold, how to be very hot, how to be very polite, how to be very rude, how to be very this and very that. It’s in their cooking.

    Also, they feel most comfortable within a certain well-defined structure.

    Koreans feel more comfortable being abused by a superior than being treated casually by someone who doesn’t fit into the usual social model.

    So, the Korean mind, upon seeing someone like you, wonders ‘what I say? what I do? so confused’. …

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  168. Priss Factor [AKA "Skyislander"] says: • Website

    Even if China becomes #1 in economic output, I don’t think it will be #1 as a world power because Chinese just don’t want it.

    Americans, with their missionary zeal, want to Americanize the world. Jews with their nomadic globalist networking, want to play the entire world.

    But Chinese don’t want to turn others Chinese. They just wanna do business with the world and focus on making China premier power in Asia. That’s about it.

    So, yes, China will try to expand its role in Latin America and Africa. But China will not interfere with the culture or politics in any significant way.

    So, China wants to be number 1 for China.

    US and EU want to be number 1 for the world.

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  169. Priss Factor [AKA "Thought Police"] says:

    “I said a jovial “Anyeong haseyo” as I walked in just now.”

    OH MY GOD, MICRO-AGGRESSION. I’LL BET THE PERSON THOUGHT YOU WERE MAKING FUN OF THE LANGUAGE. YOU RACIST!!!

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  170. “First of all, it will not dramatically increase expenses. Companies did not relocate to China to make things cheaper for Americans. They relocated to increase their profit margins. The prices we Americans pay have been going up for at least 15 years. So, China is not doing anything to make goods cheaper. Americans will not be paying more than we are now, or not noticeably more.”

    First of all, it WILL dramatically increase expenses for the American consumer. Companies moved to China to reduce labor costs and increase profit margins. Making those same things here would likely decrease those margins and increase prices for consumers. Secondly, yes Chinese manufacturing has dramatically decreased the cost to make many goods (or do you really think it took $200 to make a pair of Nike shoes back in the 90s? Make there cheaply, sell high here).

    In United States, you will have to pay your workers more, contribute to social security, be restricted by red tape and regulations, etc. Couple that with the fact that the US is a HUGE net importer of many commodities and it’s not too hard to see the negative effects of any trade war with the Chinese. Don’t delude yourself with the fantasy that Washington can just pull the plug whenever they want in a globalized economy that is 80% non-US.

    “Why would it take decades to build factories? Did someone forget how to do it? Factories are just buildings and equipment. The knowledge to build this is commodified.”

    Do factories grow out of the ground? Do thousands or tens of thousands of buildings spring out of the ground overnight from a good rain? Can all of those factories be built without huge capital investment? Will Europe and the rest of the world buy our expensive products made in our expensive factories or China’s less expensive products made in their less expensive factories? Factories are not just buildings but equipment (takes time to manufacture and transport and costs money to buy) and a competent, trained workforce. Anyone who thinks the US can replace all of those Chinese factories and workers overnight doesn’t know what they are talking about – period.

    “Let’s see what happens if the US decided to not import anything more from China. Europe, Japan and Korea will step up production.”

    Uh, no. Europe, Japan, and Korea import quite a bit from China and collectively have a much larger economy. So, China will be fine. The American consumer will not be. Let’s see what happens when China retaliates against Europe, Japan, and Korea (hint: the US is forced to back down by those counties).

    “And, guess what? America will still get Chinese goods, as the Chinese are forced to go through intermediaries, “white-labeling” their products for others to sell. The intermediaries will drive a hard bargain on price, and cannibalize portions of China’s profit margins.”

    I didn’t know America was a net producer of pipe dreams. I’m sure that fantasy of yours will offset all the negative consequences of a trade war (sarcasm). I’m also sure all the US companies that sell and produce in China will do just fine with large portions of their market evaporating (sarcasm). GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. I think that trend will continue.

    “You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world economy works.”

    I think that would be you. In any case, you seem to be a little myopic to top it off.:”Yes, ‘Merica will rule forever despite the evidence that it will not” (sarcasm)….and the Sun will never set on the British Empire.

    “They cannot sell the former American-designated output to their own people because the per capita income is too low…yet they cannot scale back production because their…per capita income is too low and unemployment is devastating.”

    Sure they can; the Chinese population is large and getting wealthier by the day. GM sold more cars in China than in the US last year.

    There will be more than enough (and then some) Chinese consumers 10-15 years from now to do so. And they can definitely sell to Europe and the rest of the world. The US is just a mere 21% of global GDP and falling rapidly; in 2000, it was over 30%. Soon, it will be less than 10%.

    …unless you really think the US could force the entire world to bankrupt itself by not buying from China in exchange for US promises to make things years down the road, plus promises to make them inexpensively so they can sell cheaply. Don’t kid yourself, that isn’t a possibility.

    “Japan and Germany became major exporters whose primary market was the United States. This tied the Japanese and the Germans to the US economy in ways that the previous free trade system could not. They also grew rapidly in the post-War boom thanks to access to US markets.”

    That’s only because the US was bigger than either Japan or Germany and, thus, had more consumers; China has a multiple of the US population – larger than Japan, Germany, and the US combined.

    China is also about to pass the US in virtually every way (the largest consumer base, the largest market for everything, etc). Already, they have the world’s largest car market, a title the US had held for nearly its entire existence. GM is practically kept afloat by access to it. Can you not see obvious parallels? Am I the only one that can distinguish between an era when indoor toilets and electricity were all the rage and the present globalized economy?

    “When other nations started emulating the Japanese and German model, they discovered that they could not move their exports to Japan or Germany.”

    The Japanese pioneered the Chinese model. Now, the Japanese are huge exporters and innovators. So are the Germans. There’s no reason to believe China won’t take the same path.
    Can you not see the obvious parallels? Do you not understand the concept of a trend?

    “For China to become the true #1 economy, it would need to emulate the United States in becoming the world’s biggest importer.”

    Why? The US rose to global prominence and 50% of world GDP by being the world’s largest exporter, manufacturer, and creditor nation. It seems to me that China is definitely on track to emulate that rise. What you claim here is just the popular misconceptions of the same people who crashed the housing market. China does not need to impoverish itself the way the US is doing in order to replace the US.

    I’ve encountered all the points you’ve made here many times before. They are the kinds of talking points you might find on CNBC or Youtube (which is where you probably heard them), nothing more.

    Any other takers?

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    • Replies: @map
    "First of all, it WILL dramatically increase expenses for the American consumer. Companies moved to China to reduce labor costs and increase profit margins. Making those same things here would likely decrease those margins and increase prices for consumers. Secondly, yes Chinese manufacturing has dramatically decreased the cost to make many goods (or do you really think it took $200 to make a pair of Nike shoes back in the 90s? Make there cheaply, sell high here)."

    No, it won't. The reason why is that China produces goods that have a high degree of price elasticity. Nike shoes and 65" LED TV's are nonessential goods where small increases in price lead to large decreases in demand. TV's move because they get cheaper. Nike's move because of branding and status signaling. Both are very sensitive to prices. Their manufacturers will not pass on costs to consumers. They will simply take a hit to their margins. Not doing so means they will not move output.

    In contrast, food and energy costs are very price inelastic. Large increases in price lead to small drops in demand.

    This argument is just a variant of the cheap immigration that supposedly gives us cheaper food, when it does no such thing.

    "Couple that with the fact that the US is a HUGE net importer of many commodities and it’s not too hard to see the negative effects of any trade war with the Chinese. Don’t delude yourself with the fantasy that Washington can just pull the plug whenever they want in a globalized economy that is 80% non-US."

    Yes, exactly. The US is a huge net importer. That means there are a half dozen major exporting countries that would gladly take over the slack that missing Chinese output has created. And even in the event of a trade war with China, China will still trade with other countries who will re-sell Chinese goods back to the US...only China will receive far lower profits, with the intermediaries getting the balance. Meanwhile, overall prices in the US will move little and the flow of goods will remain largely unchanged.

    "Do factories grow out of the ground? Do thousands or tens of thousands of buildings spring out of the ground overnight from a good rain? Can all of those factories be built without huge capital investment? Will Europe and the rest of the world buy our expensive products made in our expensive factories or China’s less expensive products made in their less expensive factories? Factories are not just buildings but equipment (takes time to manufacture and transport and costs money to buy) and a competent, trained workforce. Anyone who thinks the US can replace all of those Chinese factories and workers overnight doesn’t know what they are talking about – period."

    Who said factories grow out of the ground? Who says everything has to go overnight? So in the 18 years since China began its ascent, everybody else in the world forgot how to build factories? This is what you believe? Capital investment is all relative. If the US government says that you cannot sell in the United States unless you build in the United States, are all of these exporters just going stop exporting to America? Can they afford to do so? No. So they will find the capital to build in the United States. Why do you think you have Japanese factories in the United States? Because of economic efficiency? No. Because the US gave them an ultimatum.

    "Uh, no. Europe, Japan, and Korea import quite a bit from China and collectively have a much larger economy. So, China will be fine. The American consumer will not be. Let’s see what happens when China retaliates against Europe, Japan, and Korea (hint: the US is forced to back down by those counties)."

    Exactly. They import quite a bit from China. So when the US retaliates against China, China will have to move output at a discount to Europe, Japan and Korea..which will then be re-sold to the US. Or, Japan, Korea and Europe will simply step up production to make up for the shortfall. The American consumer will be fine.

    "I didn’t know America was a net producer of pipe dreams. I’m sure that fantasy of yours will offset all the negative consequences of a trade war (sarcasm). I’m also sure all the US companies that sell and produce in China will do just fine with large portions of their market evaporating (sarcasm). GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. I think that trend will continue."

    You're not getting something very simple. There is no global free market economy. There is no invisible hand. Goods and services travel over borders because they are allowed by governments to travel over borders. Trade is a political decision, not an economic one. America can replace Chinese imports with other imports. China cannot replace the US market with other markets.

    I don't see why you keep bringing up GM. You do understand that there is a glut of cars in the world, right? You do realize that GM is no longer a major employer or even a major company in the US anymore. This isn't the 50's where what is good for GM, is good for America. GM is a $68 billion company with 219,000 employees. To put that in perspective, Netflix has 2,000 employees and is a $21 billion. GM is just not relevant anymore. That's why it has make and sell stuff in China.

    "I think that would be you. In any case, you seem to be a little myopic to top it off.:”Yes, ‘Merica will rule forever despite the evidence that it will not” (sarcasm)….and the Sun will never set on the British Empire."

    You do realize that America was a British colony, right? You do realize that the founding population of the US was both contemporary and descendant of the same people who started the Industrial Revolution? America's rise was entirely expected given its pedigree. Had America been settled by other people than, yes, the sun never would've set on the British Empire.

    "…unless you really think the US could force the entire world to bankrupt itself by not buying from China in exchange for US promises to make things years down the road, plus promises to make them inexpensively so they can sell cheaply. Don’t kid yourself, that isn’t a possibility."

    The US does not need to force the world to do anything. Shortsighted, greedy nations decided that export-led growth and restricted imports is the way to develop quickly. But every nation that adopts such a practice reduces the number of export markets. After all, if everybody is exporting a lot more than they are importing then who is buying all of the exports? In this situation, the nation that becomes the biggest importer, wins.

    I don't understand why you have such a hard time understanding this. If one nation wants to run a trade surplus, it can only succeed in doing so if another nation wants to run a trade deficit. If every nation on Earth wants to run a trade surplus, then every nation on Earth has to trade with another planet that wants to run a trade deficit. Just like imports and exports are political decisions, running trade surpluses and trade deficits is a political decision. Yet, here you are talking about when America finally promises to make things, when it doesn't need to.

    "That’s only because the US was bigger than either Japan or Germany and, thus, had more consumers; China has a multiple of the US population – larger than Japan, Germany, and the US combined."

    No. The US could've forced Germany and Japan to import US goods and it could've had US companies become major employers of German and Japanese citizens. Instead, it did the opposite. This was political decision having nothing to do with size.

    "China is also about to pass the US in virtually every way (the largest consumer base, the largest market for everything, etc). Already, they have the world’s largest car market, a title the US had held for nearly its entire existence. GM is practically kept afloat by access to it. Can you not see obvious parallels? Am I the only one that can distinguish between an era when indoor toilets and electricity were all the rage and the present globalized economy?"

    China has a per capita income of $7,000 a year. That is not much of a consumer base. There is an affluent Chinese consumer market of roughly 75 million, which means a subset of the Chinese population exists in parity with Japan and Korea and makes and moves products. Again, the obsession with cars and GM. Cars are over-produced and their technology is commodified. You do realize that, in America, you can build a car in your garage, right?

    "The Japanese pioneered the Chinese model. Now, the Japanese are huge exporters and innovators. So are the Germans. There’s no reason to believe China won’t take the same path.
    Can you not see the obvious parallels? Do you not understand the concept of a trend?"

    Yes, Japan is dependent on the United States to move their exports. Japan cannot simply decide not to sell to America and instead sell to South Korea or to Europe or to China because all of these nations have trade restrictions. They will not allow Japan to compete with their own companies. The Japanese cannot simply export anywhere they want because they want to export anywhere they want. So, they are stuck moving their output in the US. And what can the US do because of this? It can tell Japan that if it wants to sell Honda Accords in America, then it has to make them in Ohio. The same thing with Germany. China will follow the same model. They will whip their people to produce goods to export to Americans because Germany and Japan will not otherwise allow China to dump American-sized output in their own countries. Why? Because they will protect their industries. That is the Japanese and German model that the Chinese are following, courtesy of American political innovation after WWII.

    "Why? The US rose to global prominence and 50% of world GDP by being the world’s largest exporter, manufacturer, and creditor nation. It seems to me that China is definitely on track to emulate that rise. What you claim here is just the popular misconceptions of the same people who crashed the housing market. China does not need to impoverish itself the way the US is doing in order to replace the US."

    No, it rose to dominance because its founding population was British. You know, the people who built the world's largest empire and started the Industrial Revolution. Who are the founders of China? Rice farmers.

    You have not countered any of my points because you cannot think.
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  171. “My experience, as a developer, is that “innovations” in form of things like “blue ray” or “flash memories” are no innovations. There are products of international standardization committees. The “whatever you mean” outstanding superior of nation, race, rocks or cities cultures or typefaces is pure illusion.”

    Excuses, excuses; I guess that’s why Uganda or Lithuania invented flash memory, a mere multi-billion dollar market. Lot’s of very intelligent people there.

    In any case, many of those inventions were not the products of “international standardization committees.” Flash was introduced by Toshiba, not a committee.

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  172. “ – are you Chinese? >:)”

    I would have been the guy who told the British government in 1880 that the sun will indeed set on the empire and to prepare accordingly.

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  173. “No, the world was impressed by how well Americans lived. It’s the standard of living that was the selling point.”

    And what determined that? Magic? Debt? Not having the largest market for everything?

    And yes, they were.

    “China was always one of the world’s biggest countries. So what? Yet its historical influence on the world has been nil.”

    Gunpowder, the compass, paper…..

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    • Replies: @map
    Paper was around since the Egyptions.

    I seriously doubt the Chinese invented gunpowder or the compass, two products with obvious applications that they never capitalized on.
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  174. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    “Yes. Tainted food. What were they adding to baby food, again?”

    Appeal to emotion fallacy. It doesn’t change the fact they they have the world’s largest agriculture production and the US does not.

    “Again…a population that cannot build on its own these technologies they are supposedly good at is not going to form much of a domestic market.”

    They built one of the world’s largest internet companies, Baidu. There is no reason to believe that trend won’t continue. You seem to have trouble understanding the concept of a trend.

    “The rest of Asia will raise trade barriers to Chinese exports to protect their own industries. GM’s, Ford’s, Toyota’s and other company markets will dry up as China introduces cheaper copies of these same cars runoff from the factory tech the Chinese stole.”

    Sour grapes. The NSA steals German tech all the time, despite public proclamations that it does not. I have no doubt China will one day produce a cheaper car that will put US car companies out of business.

    “Chinese economy stagnates and continues to depend on the Chinese government and American exporting to prop it up. A few Chinese get rich. Many more stay poor.”

    Sure. Just put your fingers in your ears and tell yourself that ‘Merica will reign forever three times. If enough people say it, maybe it will come true.

    “Hardly. The USA is a car saturated market. China is not. GM has sold a total of 9 million cars since it started a “joint-venture” with Shanghai GM in 1997. Shouldn’t it have moved more cars than this, given China has a population of over 1 billion people?”

    1) not relevant in any way but nice try

    2) considering that China is still in the early stages of development, no. The US, as you stated yourself, is a mature market. So, there is your very “obvious to everyone but yourself” difference.

    3) the fact that US car companies are so desperate to get into the Chinese market tells me it has enormous potential. 60 minutes even once did a story on US car companies betting on China for future growth and to save them from Japanese competition (they worried that superior Japanese companies would replace US car companies in China in time).

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  175. “The first CD player was designed and built by Phillips, a company in the Netherlands. The rest are just minor evolutionary changes in technology that, given enough time, anyone could come up with.”

    Wrong. Phillips partnered with Sony for that. The fist commercially released CD player, the CDP-101 was released first in Japan, not the Netherlands.

    …which is why Lithuania and Colombia came up with flash memory and DVD players, right? Anyone can do it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_CDP-101

    “As far as car companies? The Swedes manage to build cars as good as the Japs with a population roughly 10 percent the size, albeit with less market share. You seem not to realize how commodified automotive technology, really, most manufacturing technology, really is.”

    You seem to want to substitute fantasy, speculation, pronouncement, and jargon for facts and logic.What Swedish car company has a larger market share than Toyota? That fact that the Swedes may or may not have built a good car is irrelevant to China’s rise. Try again.

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    • Replies: @map
    Sony did not invent the CD player. It developed the CD player concurrently with Philips because they agreed to a standard. Philips and Sony were using their own manufactured components made in-house for their respective CD players.

    Philips invented the first video cassette recorder. The Japanese followed with competing models, Betamax from Sony and the VHS standard by others. This led to a standards fight. Sony and Philips avoided that happening with the CD player. That's why the first CD player was a Japan-only release.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philips

    In 1972 Philips launched the world's first home video cassette recorder, in England, the N1500. Its relatively bulky video cassettes could record 30 minutes or 45 minutes. Later one-hour tapes were also offered. As competition came from Sony's Betamax and the VHS group of manufacturers, Philips introduced the N1700 system which allowed double-length recording. For the first time, a 2-hour movie could fit onto one video cassette. In 1977, the company unveiled a special promotional film for this system in the UK, featuring comedian Denis Norden.[15] The concept was quickly copied by the Japanese makers, whose tapes were significantly cheaper. Philips made one last attempt at a new standard for video recorders with the Video 2000 system, with tapes that could be used on both sides and had 8 hours of total recording time. As Philips only sold its systems on the PAL standard and in Europe, and the Japanese makers sold globally, the scale advantages of the Japanese proved insurmountable and Philips withdrew the V2000 system and joined the VHS Coalition.[citation needed]

    Philips had developed a LaserDisc early on for selling movies, but delayed its commercial launch for fear of cannibalizing its video recorder sales. Later Philips joined with MCA to launch the first commercial LaserDisc standard and players. In 1982, Philips teamed with Sony to launch the Compact Disc; this format evolved into the DVD and later Blu-ray, which Philips launched with Sony in 1997[citation needed] and 2006 respectively.

    So you see, a Dutch company in a nation of 10 million people was building concurrent technology in-house with Sony to help maintain a monopoly. Sony was not inventing anything single-handedly.
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  176. Bill M says:

    When we observe this passing of the baton from nation to nation, where first Portugal, then Holland, then Spain, then Britain, then America, or, before, them Greece, then Rome, etc., I don’t see how China becomes a natural inheritor of the status of global hegemony.

    …Holland, Spain, Great Britain and the US and Germany all did the same thing.

    None of these except the US and perhaps Britain can be said to have had “global hegemony”. And these countries did not all do the same thing. Portugal, Spain, and even Holland’s status as world powers were built on relatively primitive slave, plantation, and trading economies, and fell before the Industrial Revolution and manufacturing heavy economics, which the UK, the US, and German power was built on.

    In Beijing, people defecate on the sidewalk. Apparently, Chinese clothing comes with a zipper along the “crotchorial” region so if the need to crap comes along, well, you can just unzip and go.

    People defecate, urinate, sodomize, and slaughter each other in the streets of American cities. And not just minorities. I have seen pictures of Chinese clothing for babies with zipper things along the “crotchorial” region, but not for adults.

    Look, let’s take a basic measure of how the locals view the prospects of future China. How many of China’s successful people have actually moved their entire families to the West, either places like Vancouver in Canada, or across the coastal areas in the United States (New York, Los Angeles, etc.,) After all, you hear about all of these wealthy Chinese buying property in the US.

    If we’re going to make these kinds of inferences based on the investment patterns of Chinese elites, we’d have to make the same ones of Western elites.

    Wealthy Western elites invest in a lot of foreign financial and real assets as well. Based on the pattern of their political and economic investments, obviously they see few future prospects in their own populations and countries, and are betting on the global system.

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    "Wealthy Western elites invest in a lot of foreign financial and real assets as well. Based on the pattern of their political and economic investments, obviously they see few future prospects in their own populations and countries, and are betting on the global system."

    How many Western elites have decamped their families to a foreign country?
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  177. map says:
    @Divine Right
    @map

    “First of all, it will not dramatically increase expenses. Companies did not relocate to China to make things cheaper for Americans. They relocated to increase their profit margins. The prices we Americans pay have been going up for at least 15 years. So, China is not doing anything to make goods cheaper. Americans will not be paying more than we are now, or not noticeably more.”

    First of all, it WILL dramatically increase expenses for the American consumer. Companies moved to China to reduce labor costs and increase profit margins. Making those same things here would likely decrease those margins and increase prices for consumers. Secondly, yes Chinese manufacturing has dramatically decreased the cost to make many goods (or do you really think it took $200 to make a pair of Nike shoes back in the 90s? Make there cheaply, sell high here).

    In United States, you will have to pay your workers more, contribute to social security, be restricted by red tape and regulations, etc. Couple that with the fact that the US is a HUGE net importer of many commodities and it’s not too hard to see the negative effects of any trade war with the Chinese. Don’t delude yourself with the fantasy that Washington can just pull the plug whenever they want in a globalized economy that is 80% non-US.

    “Why would it take decades to build factories? Did someone forget how to do it? Factories are just buildings and equipment. The knowledge to build this is commodified.”

    Do factories grow out of the ground? Do thousands or tens of thousands of buildings spring out of the ground overnight from a good rain? Can all of those factories be built without huge capital investment? Will Europe and the rest of the world buy our expensive products made in our expensive factories or China’s less expensive products made in their less expensive factories? Factories are not just buildings but equipment (takes time to manufacture and transport and costs money to buy) and a competent, trained workforce. Anyone who thinks the US can replace all of those Chinese factories and workers overnight doesn't know what they are talking about – period.

    “Let’s see what happens if the US decided to not import anything more from China. Europe, Japan and Korea will step up production.”

    Uh, no. Europe, Japan, and Korea import quite a bit from China and collectively have a much larger economy. So, China will be fine. The American consumer will not be. Let’s see what happens when China retaliates against Europe, Japan, and Korea (hint: the US is forced to back down by those counties).

    “And, guess what? America will still get Chinese goods, as the Chinese are forced to go through intermediaries, “white-labeling” their products for others to sell. The intermediaries will drive a hard bargain on price, and cannibalize portions of China’s profit margins.”

    I didn't know America was a net producer of pipe dreams. I’m sure that fantasy of yours will offset all the negative consequences of a trade war (sarcasm). I’m also sure all the US companies that sell and produce in China will do just fine with large portions of their market evaporating (sarcasm). GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. I think that trend will continue.

    “You have a fundamental misunderstanding of how the world economy works.”

    I think that would be you. In any case, you seem to be a little myopic to top it off.:"Yes, ‘Merica will rule forever despite the evidence that it will not" (sarcasm)....and the Sun will never set on the British Empire.

    “They cannot sell the former American-designated output to their own people because the per capita income is too low…yet they cannot scale back production because their…per capita income is too low and unemployment is devastating.”

    Sure they can; the Chinese population is large and getting wealthier by the day. GM sold more cars in China than in the US last year.

    There will be more than enough (and then some) Chinese consumers 10-15 years from now to do so. And they can definitely sell to Europe and the rest of the world. The US is just a mere 21% of global GDP and falling rapidly; in 2000, it was over 30%. Soon, it will be less than 10%.

    …unless you really think the US could force the entire world to bankrupt itself by not buying from China in exchange for US promises to make things years down the road, plus promises to make them inexpensively so they can sell cheaply. Don’t kid yourself, that isn't a possibility.

    “Japan and Germany became major exporters whose primary market was the United States. This tied the Japanese and the Germans to the US economy in ways that the previous free trade system could not. They also grew rapidly in the post-War boom thanks to access to US markets.”

    That’s only because the US was bigger than either Japan or Germany and, thus, had more consumers; China has a multiple of the US population - larger than Japan, Germany, and the US combined.

    China is also about to pass the US in virtually every way (the largest consumer base, the largest market for everything, etc). Already, they have the world’s largest car market, a title the US had held for nearly its entire existence. GM is practically kept afloat by access to it. Can you not see obvious parallels? Am I the only one that can distinguish between an era when indoor toilets and electricity were all the rage and the present globalized economy?

    “When other nations started emulating the Japanese and German model, they discovered that they could not move their exports to Japan or Germany.”

    The Japanese pioneered the Chinese model. Now, the Japanese are huge exporters and innovators. So are the Germans. There’s no reason to believe China won’t take the same path.
    Can you not see the obvious parallels? Do you not understand the concept of a trend?

    “For China to become the true #1 economy, it would need to emulate the United States in becoming the world’s biggest importer.”

    Why? The US rose to global prominence and 50% of world GDP by being the world’s largest exporter, manufacturer, and creditor nation. It seems to me that China is definitely on track to emulate that rise. What you claim here is just the popular misconceptions of the same people who crashed the housing market. China does not need to impoverish itself the way the US is doing in order to replace the US.

    I've encountered all the points you've made here many times before. They are the kinds of talking points you might find on CNBC or Youtube (which is where you probably heard them), nothing more.

    Any other takers?

    “First of all, it WILL dramatically increase expenses for the American consumer. Companies moved to China to reduce labor costs and increase profit margins. Making those same things here would likely decrease those margins and increase prices for consumers. Secondly, yes Chinese manufacturing has dramatically decreased the cost to make many goods (or do you really think it took $200 to make a pair of Nike shoes back in the 90s? Make there cheaply, sell high here).”

    No, it won’t. The reason why is that China produces goods that have a high degree of price elasticity. Nike shoes and 65″ LED TV’s are nonessential goods where small increases in price lead to large decreases in demand. TV’s move because they get cheaper. Nike’s move because of branding and status signaling. Both are very sensitive to prices. Their manufacturers will not pass on costs to consumers. They will simply take a hit to their margins. Not doing so means they will not move output.

    In contrast, food and energy costs are very price inelastic. Large increases in price lead to small drops in demand.

    This argument is just a variant of the cheap immigration that supposedly gives us cheaper food, when it does no such thing.

    “Couple that with the fact that the US is a HUGE net importer of many commodities and it’s not too hard to see the negative effects of any trade war with the Chinese. Don’t delude yourself with the fantasy that Washington can just pull the plug whenever they want in a globalized economy that is 80% non-US.”

    Yes, exactly. The US is a huge net importer. That means there are a half dozen major exporting countries that would gladly take over the slack that missing Chinese output has created. And even in the event of a trade war with China, China will still trade with other countries who will re-sell Chinese goods back to the US…only China will receive far lower profits, with the intermediaries getting the balance. Meanwhile, overall prices in the US will move little and the flow of goods will remain largely unchanged.

    “Do factories grow out of the ground? Do thousands or tens of thousands of buildings spring out of the ground overnight from a good rain? Can all of those factories be built without huge capital investment? Will Europe and the rest of the world buy our expensive products made in our expensive factories or China’s less expensive products made in their less expensive factories? Factories are not just buildings but equipment (takes time to manufacture and transport and costs money to buy) and a competent, trained workforce. Anyone who thinks the US can replace all of those Chinese factories and workers overnight doesn’t know what they are talking about – period.”

    Who said factories grow out of the ground? Who says everything has to go overnight? So in the 18 years since China began its ascent, everybody else in the world forgot how to build factories? This is what you believe? Capital investment is all relative. If the US government says that you cannot sell in the United States unless you build in the United States, are all of these exporters just going stop exporting to America? Can they afford to do so? No. So they will find the capital to build in the United States. Why do you think you have Japanese factories in the United States? Because of economic efficiency? No. Because the US gave them an ultimatum.

    “Uh, no. Europe, Japan, and Korea import quite a bit from China and collectively have a much larger economy. So, China will be fine. The American consumer will not be. Let’s see what happens when China retaliates against Europe, Japan, and Korea (hint: the US is forced to back down by those counties).”

    Exactly. They import quite a bit from China. So when the US retaliates against China, China will have to move output at a discount to Europe, Japan and Korea..which will then be re-sold to the US. Or, Japan, Korea and Europe will simply step up production to make up for the shortfall. The American consumer will be fine.

    “I didn’t know America was a net producer of pipe dreams. I’m sure that fantasy of yours will offset all the negative consequences of a trade war (sarcasm). I’m also sure all the US companies that sell and produce in China will do just fine with large portions of their market evaporating (sarcasm). GM sold more cars in China last year than in the US. I think that trend will continue.”

    You’re not getting something very simple. There is no global free market economy. There is no invisible hand. Goods and services travel over borders because they are allowed by governments to travel over borders. Trade is a political decision, not an economic one. America can replace Chinese imports with other imports. China cannot replace the US market with other markets.

    I don’t see why you keep bringing up GM. You do understand that there is a glut of cars in the world, right? You do realize that GM is no longer a major employer or even a major company in the US anymore. This isn’t the 50′s where what is good for GM, is good for America. GM is a $68 billion company with 219,000 employees. To put that in perspective, Netflix has 2,000 employees and is a $21 billion. GM is just not relevant anymore. That’s why it has make and sell stuff in China.

    “I think that would be you. In any case, you seem to be a little myopic to top it off.:”Yes, ‘Merica will rule forever despite the evidence that it will not” (sarcasm)….and the Sun will never set on the British Empire.”

    You do realize that America was a British colony, right? You do realize that the founding population of the US was both contemporary and descendant of the same people who started the Industrial Revolution? America’s rise was entirely expected given its pedigree. Had America been settled by other people than, yes, the sun never would’ve set on the British Empire.

    “…unless you really think the US could force the entire world to bankrupt itself by not buying from China in exchange for US promises to make things years down the road, plus promises to make them inexpensively so they can sell cheaply. Don’t kid yourself, that isn’t a possibility.”

    The US does not need to force the world to do anything. Shortsighted, greedy nations decided that export-led growth and restricted imports is the way to develop quickly. But every nation that adopts such a practice reduces the number of export markets. After all, if everybody is exporting a lot more than they are importing then who is buying all of the exports? In this situation, the nation that becomes the biggest importer, wins.

    I don’t understand why you have such a hard time understanding this. If one nation wants to run a trade surplus, it can only succeed in doing so if another nation wants to run a trade deficit. If every nation on Earth wants to run a trade surplus, then every nation on Earth has to trade with another planet that wants to run a trade deficit. Just like imports and exports are political decisions, running trade surpluses and trade deficits is a political decision. Yet, here you are talking about when America finally promises to make things, when it doesn’t need to.

    “That’s only because the US was bigger than either Japan or Germany and, thus, had more consumers; China has a multiple of the US population – larger than Japan, Germany, and the US combined.”

    No. The US could’ve forced Germany and Japan to import US goods and it could’ve had US companies become major employers of German and Japanese citizens. Instead, it did the opposite. This was political decision having nothing to do with size.

    “China is also about to pass the US in virtually every way (the largest consumer base, the largest market for everything, etc). Already, they have the world’s largest car market, a title the US had held for nearly its entire existence. GM is practically kept afloat by access to it. Can you not see obvious parallels? Am I the only one that can distinguish between an era when indoor toilets and electricity were all the rage and the present globalized economy?”

    China has a per capita income of $7,000 a year. That is not much of a consumer base. There is an affluent Chinese consumer market of roughly 75 million, which means a subset of the Chinese population exists in parity with Japan and Korea and makes and moves products. Again, the obsession with cars and GM. Cars are over-produced and their technology is commodified. You do realize that, in America, you can build a car in your garage, right?

    “The Japanese pioneered the Chinese model. Now, the Japanese are huge exporters and innovators. So are the Germans. There’s no reason to believe China won’t take the same path.
    Can you not see the obvious parallels? Do you not understand the concept of a trend?”

    Yes, Japan is dependent on the United States to move their exports. Japan cannot simply decide not to sell to America and instead sell to South Korea or to Europe or to China because all of these nations have trade restrictions. They will not allow Japan to compete with their own companies. The Japanese cannot simply export anywhere they want because they want to export anywhere they want. So, they are stuck moving their output in the US. And what can the US do because of this? It can tell Japan that if it wants to sell Honda Accords in America, then it has to make them in Ohio. The same thing with Germany. China will follow the same model. They will whip their people to produce goods to export to Americans because Germany and Japan will not otherwise allow China to dump American-sized output in their own countries. Why? Because they will protect their industries. That is the Japanese and German model that the Chinese are following, courtesy of American political innovation after WWII.

    “Why? The US rose to global prominence and 50% of world GDP by being the world’s largest exporter, manufacturer, and creditor nation. It seems to me that China is definitely on track to emulate that rise. What you claim here is just the popular misconceptions of the same people who crashed the housing market. China does not need to impoverish itself the way the US is doing in order to replace the US.”

    No, it rose to dominance because its founding population was British. You know, the people who built the world’s largest empire and started the Industrial Revolution. Who are the founders of China? Rice farmers.

    You have not countered any of my points because you cannot think.

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  178. map says:
    @Divine Right
    “No, the world was impressed by how well Americans lived. It’s the standard of living that was the selling point.”

    And what determined that? Magic? Debt? Not having the largest market for everything?

    And yes, they were.

    “China was always one of the world’s biggest countries. So what? Yet its historical influence on the world has been nil.”

    Gunpowder, the compass, paper…..

    Paper was around since the Egyptions.

    I seriously doubt the Chinese invented gunpowder or the compass, two products with obvious applications that they never capitalized on.

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  179. map says:
    @Divine Right
    "The first CD player was designed and built by Phillips, a company in the Netherlands. The rest are just minor evolutionary changes in technology that, given enough time, anyone could come up with."

    Wrong. Phillips partnered with Sony for that. The fist commercially released CD player, the CDP-101 was released first in Japan, not the Netherlands.

    ...which is why Lithuania and Colombia came up with flash memory and DVD players, right? Anyone can do it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_CDP-101

    "As far as car companies? The Swedes manage to build cars as good as the Japs with a population roughly 10 percent the size, albeit with less market share. You seem not to realize how commodified automotive technology, really, most manufacturing technology, really is."

    You seem to want to substitute fantasy, speculation, pronouncement, and jargon for facts and logic.What Swedish car company has a larger market share than Toyota? That fact that the Swedes may or may not have built a good car is irrelevant to China's rise. Try again.

    Sony did not invent the CD player. It developed the CD player concurrently with Philips because they agreed to a standard. Philips and Sony were using their own manufactured components made in-house for their respective CD players.

    Philips invented the first video cassette recorder. The Japanese followed with competing models, Betamax from Sony and the VHS standard by others. This led to a standards fight. Sony and Philips avoided that happening with the CD player. That’s why the first CD player was a Japan-only release.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philips

    In 1972 Philips launched the world’s first home video cassette recorder, in England, the N1500. Its relatively bulky video cassettes could record 30 minutes or 45 minutes. Later one-hour tapes were also offered. As competition came from Sony’s Betamax and the VHS group of manufacturers, Philips introduced the N1700 system which allowed double-length recording. For the first time, a 2-hour movie could fit onto one video cassette. In 1977, the company unveiled a special promotional film for this system in the UK, featuring comedian Denis Norden.[15] The concept was quickly copied by the Japanese makers, whose tapes were significantly cheaper. Philips made one last attempt at a new standard for video recorders with the Video 2000 system, with tapes that could be used on both sides and had 8 hours of total recording time. As Philips only sold its systems on the PAL standard and in Europe, and the Japanese makers sold globally, the scale advantages of the Japanese proved insurmountable and Philips withdrew the V2000 system and joined the VHS Coalition.[citation needed]

    Philips had developed a LaserDisc early on for selling movies, but delayed its commercial launch for fear of cannibalizing its video recorder sales. Later Philips joined with MCA to launch the first commercial LaserDisc standard and players. In 1982, Philips teamed with Sony to launch the Compact Disc; this format evolved into the DVD and later Blu-ray, which Philips launched with Sony in 1997[citation needed] and 2006 respectively.

    So you see, a Dutch company in a nation of 10 million people was building concurrent technology in-house with Sony to help maintain a monopoly. Sony was not inventing anything single-handedly.

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  180. map says:
    @Bill M

    When we observe this passing of the baton from nation to nation, where first Portugal, then Holland, then Spain, then Britain, then America, or, before, them Greece, then Rome, etc., I don’t see how China becomes a natural inheritor of the status of global hegemony.

    ...Holland, Spain, Great Britain and the US and Germany all did the same thing.
     
    None of these except the US and perhaps Britain can be said to have had "global hegemony". And these countries did not all do the same thing. Portugal, Spain, and even Holland's status as world powers were built on relatively primitive slave, plantation, and trading economies, and fell before the Industrial Revolution and manufacturing heavy economics, which the UK, the US, and German power was built on.

    In Beijing, people defecate on the sidewalk. Apparently, Chinese clothing comes with a zipper along the “crotchorial” region so if the need to crap comes along, well, you can just unzip and go.
     
    People defecate, urinate, sodomize, and slaughter each other in the streets of American cities. And not just minorities. I have seen pictures of Chinese clothing for babies with zipper things along the "crotchorial" region, but not for adults.

    Look, let’s take a basic measure of how the locals view the prospects of future China. How many of China’s successful people have actually moved their entire families to the West, either places like Vancouver in Canada, or across the coastal areas in the United States (New York, Los Angeles, etc.,) After all, you hear about all of these wealthy Chinese buying property in the US.
     
    If we're going to make these kinds of inferences based on the investment patterns of Chinese elites, we'd have to make the same ones of Western elites.

    Wealthy Western elites invest in a lot of foreign financial and real assets as well. Based on the pattern of their political and economic investments, obviously they see few future prospects in their own populations and countries, and are betting on the global system.

    “Wealthy Western elites invest in a lot of foreign financial and real assets as well. Based on the pattern of their political and economic investments, obviously they see few future prospects in their own populations and countries, and are betting on the global system.”

    How many Western elites have decamped their families to a foreign country?

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  181. map
    You say a lot, but you have yet to answer a very basic question, America will have the demographics of Brazil and Venezuela, so somehow this third world demographic is going to do all the things you are chest thumping on about here how exactly ?

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    • Replies: @map
    "You say a lot, but you have yet to answer a very basic question, America will have the demographics of Brazil and Venezuela, so somehow this third world demographic is going to do all the things you are chest thumping on about here how exactly ?"

    You are right that this is a massive problem. Immigration is far more important issue than the rise of China. The only thing that I can think of is that a linear extrapolation from the present is probably not accurate. Things do change and quickly so I am expecting the same will happen when the Third World demographic is removed.

    I will say this: NAM's and white America are slowly decoupling. One example is the White flight and other segregation that has occurred. The other example is how the stock market seems to have decoupled from the rest of the economy. The negative real economy statistics are driven by the sorry state of NAM's while the stock market is driven by whites.

    I suspect that Fed manipulation is not the only factor. 401k's and IRA's are at record highs in terms of fund flows. Remember, these are fund flows paid out of wages that have stagnated for 40 years.

    Besides, if the US crashes, it will take much of Europe and Asia with it so our problems are still going to be domestic for the foreseeable future.
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  182. “… China is 90% Han Chinese, so they already possess high social trust…”

    No, Chinese society is very low trust, and that’s unlikely to change. Cheating and lying are the national past-times. If they can, they get American products because even these foreign devils are more trustworthy than their own countrymen. If they have enough wealth, they leave there and come here. Say what you will about Christianity, but it likely was a major part of why Western societies became dominant through the advantages of a helping to create a high trust society.

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  183. jholloway says:

    “America will have the demographics of Brazil and Venezuela…”

    True, but through the next century at least, America will still have the largest smart fraction in the world to run things and invent the next stage.

    Technological advances mean it will be cheap to feed, house, and entertain the low IQ, Brazil-style masses.

    And things are going wrong in most other countries also, like Russia, China, India, and Japan, so it’s not just America that will be taxed by these increasing challenges.

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    Er, if Brazilian style masses are the majority, they are going to run things, not your "smart fraction". Technological advances means that countries like Russia,..., Japan will also be better off, they will not however all have to live in a society where racial politics and political correctness means you live in constant fear of committing thought crime.
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  184. @jholloway
    "America will have the demographics of Brazil and Venezuela..."

    True, but through the next century at least, America will still have the largest smart fraction in the world to run things and invent the next stage.

    Technological advances mean it will be cheap to feed, house, and entertain the low IQ, Brazil-style masses.

    And things are going wrong in most other countries also, like Russia, China, India, and Japan, so it's not just America that will be taxed by these increasing challenges.

    Er, if Brazilian style masses are the majority, they are going to run things, not your “smart fraction”. Technological advances means that countries like Russia,…, Japan will also be better off, they will not however all have to live in a society where racial politics and political correctness means you live in constant fear of committing thought crime.

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  185. map says:
    @JustSomebody
    map
    You say a lot, but you have yet to answer a very basic question, America will have the demographics of Brazil and Venezuela, so somehow this third world demographic is going to do all the things you are chest thumping on about here how exactly ?

    “You say a lot, but you have yet to answer a very basic question, America will have the demographics of Brazil and Venezuela, so somehow this third world demographic is going to do all the things you are chest thumping on about here how exactly ?”

    You are right that this is a massive problem. Immigration is far more important issue than the rise of China. The only thing that I can think of is that a linear extrapolation from the present is probably not accurate. Things do change and quickly so I am expecting the same will happen when the Third World demographic is removed.

    I will say this: NAM’s and white America are slowly decoupling. One example is the White flight and other segregation that has occurred. The other example is how the stock market seems to have decoupled from the rest of the economy. The negative real economy statistics are driven by the sorry state of NAM’s while the stock market is driven by whites.

    I suspect that Fed manipulation is not the only factor. 401k’s and IRA’s are at record highs in terms of fund flows. Remember, these are fund flows paid out of wages that have stagnated for 40 years.

    Besides, if the US crashes, it will take much of Europe and Asia with it so our problems are still going to be domestic for the foreseeable future.

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  186. map says:

    Btw, I don’t want anyone to construe here that I approve of the way the US is being run. I actually believe in protectionism, that the US should have a robust and complex economy that produces a lot of jobs that people can actually do.

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  187. MQ says:

    China is already the world’s largest creditor and holder of foreign exchange reserves ($3.95 trillion). The U.S. is the world’s largest debtor. It’s obvious that creditors gain power and debtors decline.

    I’m not so sure this is true. Debtor and creditor are net flow concepts. There are enormous gross flows in dollars and a lot of dependence on a NY/London nexus as the global financial capital. The U.S. debtor position has a lot of causes, but one major cause is the world’s willingness to accept US government debt as the world’s bedrock safe asset. It is underpinned by U.S. political stability.

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  188. Retired says:

    “I will say this: NAM’s and white America are slowly decoupling. ”

    *There* is a book waiting to be written. A sequel to “Coming Apart” by Charles Murray? I wonder how much there is to decouple. I have lived in towns with large hispanic populations for decades and hardly deal with them at all. And then only the affirmative action beneficiaries and the ones I transact business with. and unfortunately in the public schools, a mistake we soon rectified.
    We are part of the white flight, from urban majority minority to rural 80%+ white. At least until our share of the 300,000 show up.

    I will worry about another nation becoming dominant when they start writing software.

    Chinese can’t write crap for software without an Anglo boss directing them. Same for Indians and E. Euro. Only the EU can write a little. But they all have offices in silicon valley where I bet a lot of the talent and R&D resides.

    An argument has been made that a big part of the Soviet’s collapse was their inability to do systems integration.

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  189. Rocky says:
    @Priss Factor
    "First, manufacturing provides the national wealth required to pay for war. Second, manufacturing (the manufacturing infrastructure) provides the means for actually producing the weapons needed for war. Note that services are not a substitute for manufacturing in this context. Services are not (typically) tradable and don’t provide the convertible currency income needed to fight international wars. More specifically, the U.S. may end up fighting an aircraft carrier war with China at some point in the future. History suggests that the U.S. Navy could lose just quickly as Britain did in WWII."

    US manufacturing largely depended on US consumers.

    Chinese manufacturing depends on foreign, mainly US, consumers. If US imposes sanctions, Chinese economy is over.
    Also, US can freeze huge Chinese assets and reserves in the US.

    As for the military, high-tech will decide, and no nation is even close to US.

    Chinese economy is body without the mind. It serves as the ox to American brains that come up with innovations.

    The real threat to the West comes from massive migrations from Africa and Muslim world and Mexico. Also, the huge black population in the US. And Jewish control of elite institutions.

    In the worst case scenario, even if US loses a naval war to China, Chinese will never threaten western lands.

    Cloudcastler.

    How on earth could the US impose China sanctions? Do you think Americans will stand idly by with no Xbox, PlayStation, TV, Video/ Music players?

    As has been said, it is the Chinese who hold American assets “in China”. Best of luck freezing them. The Chinese call in American debts and America tanks. (no one like a debt-dodger)

    “As for the military, high-tech will decide”. Er, no. Iraq? Afghanistan? All the Wests’ might has failed utterly to quell the “stone age” Al-Qaeda. Are you saying the Russians had better Tech in WWII than the West? They took and held/hold more than half of Europe.

    “Chinese will never threaten western lands”. Er, they don’t want/need them. They have over 1/2 the worlds resources of, well, Everything.

    Rocky

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  190. Fredrik says:

    I think China will be pretty influential in culture.

    Japan is HUGE in some sub-genres, for example Anime. South Korea is right now pretty much a cultural superpower in south-east asia due to the k-pop scene and the chock-and-awe of it’s industrial might.

    I’m pretty convinced that we will see more of a multipolar world in movie culture. South Asia with Bollywood. East Asia with theirs. USA/Western Europe with Hollywood with the same divisions in music.

    It will take time, but the direction is already set.

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  191. Patrick says:
    @Horseball
    Agree with countenance. Maybe there is some reason why China has been an awful place to live since time immemorial? And maybe those reasons are deep-seated and intractable? I don't think they snapped a millennium long losing streak in 30 years.

    Also, my prediction is that long before any of this happens, the Japanese will get back on their horse.

    But Japan is in a demographic death spiral – I don’t know how it recovers from it, much less get back on their horse.

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  192. @Hepp

    Re: “Is this an HBD blog or a blank slate convention? The main reason that Chinese movies, music, etc. won’t take over the world is that Asian men are completely unattractive to women, not to mention lacking in creativity or the spunk necessary to succeed in the cultural realm.”

    Not that simple — if China becomes a First-World, highly successful society, and America turns into a dysfunctional Third World dump (for decidedly HBD reasons) you’ll find that American culture will quickly lose its appeal to rest of the world. China’s, by contrast, will beome more attractive.

    The impact of US culture (including African American) on the rest of the world was basically nil in the nineteenth century. It was European culture which dominated (Emerson’s Nature is essentially a demand that Americans stop cringing before European culture). The US became a leading exporter of culture (via Hollywood) only after World War I.

    The rise of US culture as a global brand mirrors the rise of the US to global superpower. Sure, even in decline, the US will still be a player (the UK, for example, still manages to export a fair amount of cultural products) but to assume it will somehow remain eternally dominant as the rest of American society and the economy declines is a fantasy.

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