In 2040, the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion, or nearly three times the economic output of the entire globe in 2000. China’s per capita income will hit $85,000, more than double the forecast for the European Union, and also much higher than that of India and Japan. In other words, the average Chinese megacity dweller will be living twice as well as the average Frenchman when China goes from a poor country in 2000 to a superrich country in 2040. Although it will not have overtaken the United States in per capita wealth, according to my forecasts, China’s share of global GDP — 40 percent — will dwarf that of the United States (14 percent) and the European Union (5 percent) 30 years from now. This is what economic hegemony will look like.
In the ’50s and ’60s a popular refrain among many thinkers was the coming hegemony of the USSR. The superiority of its economic system would in time become obvious and it would come to dominate the world. At that time things like free markets, the rule of law, self-determination and the absence of central planning were thought to be of little importance.
It appears as if the same sort of logic is afoot again.