Is China the Next Superpower?
The Chinese have long seen themselves as superior to every other race and the center of the world. It’s because they were so confident of this, that historically they never ventured out much or as often as the Europeans did.
Well, that is with a brief exception during the 15th century when they had a fleet of gigantic ships, vastly superior to those of Europe and they ventured as far as Africa and some say they even went as far as America, before Columbus.
However, since dropping the ball on world conquest back then, or at least exporting their culture wholesale, it was the Europeans that came to China looking for opportunities and consequently it was the Chinese who were on the receiving end of whatever Europe dished out.
The Chinese were happy to sell to, but not to buy from the European traders and eventually this imbalance of trade caused resentment from the Europeans who were wanting reciprocal trading which eventually resulted in the infamous Opium Wars, of the late 1800’s which were about creating a market for narcotics and resulted in foreign soldiers running around the Chinese countryside.
Just as the Chinese resented the (“foreign devil“) for taking over places like Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, and numerous other enclaves back then and they have a long memory of that humiliation. The Chinese today resent the U.S. government parading its aircraft carriers off the China coast as if they owned the place.
The U.S. government may feel like it can call the shots now because it has a dozen aircraft carriers and a couple of thousand fighter planes. But times have changed since the early 19th Century, and the U.S. government is not showing strength, it’s displaying arrogance and stupidity by antagonizing what may well turn out to be a sleeping dragon.
It could be making a serious enemy with a country that now has serious wealth and modern technology.
Unlike the China of early times which was isolated and insular, modern day China is vibrant and relatively advanced, and at the end of the day, any war will go to the country with the most wealth. Not the one that has the most expensive military hardware. A modern day war with a country like China would certainly bankrupt America.
Putting thoughts of war aside, there are dozens of likely scenarios as to what might happen in China over the next few decades and although I am not going to pretend I can predict which one is the most likely to occur. However, the trend that seems the most credible is the rapid rate of wealth increase in China.
I would never credit any official government figures with any accuracy, (because all Government lie – some more than others) but if we were to assume them as being right, then the U.S. economy is growing at 2%, and China’s at about 7%.
Now add to that China has about four times the population, then this means that the largest economy on the planet may soon no longer be the U.S.A, but China. (For more on this you may wish to view my other post here)
China vs. the U.S.A
The US has been the worlds largest economy for more than 140 years since overtaking Britain in 1872 and is currently 22.4% of Global GDP. Other statistics are below;
- Cash Reserves: China has US$3.2 Trillion vs. America US$434Billion
- Total GDP: China US$10.36Trillion vs. America US$17.42Trillion
- GDP per Person: China US$14,600 vs. America US$44,888
- Average Income: China US$7,593 vs. America US$54,629
Of course, the average American will still be living far more comfortably than the average Chinese in that he’ll still have a bigger house, more gadgets, cars, and consumer goods. But if look at China vs the U.S.A, he will have considerably less investment capital and savings, and there will be far more Chinese, with substantially more wealth than many wealthy Americans.
The Chinese people save over half their income and invest in real estate, even though they don’t own the actual land (since 1949 it’s been leased for 70 years from the government) Nevertheless home ‘ownership‘ is high (at 90%) compared to the U.S where it is just 64%.
Also, most Chinese households have a major proportion of their assets in real estate vs. 27.9% in the U.S. As the incomes in China have increased so has real estate values have gone up. In Shanghai, for example, it has increased 560% since 2000.
Also, the Chinese are buying up expensive real estate all around the world and as a result, have become the leading buyers in cities like Sydney, Singapore, L.A., San Francisco, New York, Vancouver, and London. In 2014, they accounted for around $22 billion or some 24% of the total real estate purchases in the U.S.
Why China has More Growth
It has nothing to do with the Chinese Government, which has actually hindered the Chinese economy. Apart from Deng’s liberalization of the economy back in the 1980’s and the restarting of trade with the west, which was responsible for its decades of remarkable growth. There are other reasons for its economic growth.
One is that Chinese culture is ingrained with the Confucian work ethic, which is exploited by the Chineses government in its efforts to grow the economy, but nevertheless, this work ethic is similar to the Protestant work ethic that helped the West get where it is now.
Another is the sheer number of people that share a common culture and language. Upwardly mobile Chinese are learning English, the world’s business language, as well as learning their language. So they can access everything from the West, yet very few people in the West, learn Chinese, making it hard to reverse the flow.
Also, just as other people from a given culture tend to prefer associating and doing business with themselves, for example, the Jews, blacks, Arabs, Irish, Italians, etc., the same is true of the Chinese. And they a much larger than any other cultural grouping so from a financial point of view this means that business opportunities are largest within this group.
They are Smarter
Also the Chinese on average is smarter than Westerners and have a higher I.Q (105 vs.100) As an example Chinese children need to learn 3000-5000 different characters to write and read Chinese and spend much more time is school. Whereas western children only need to know 26 letters of the alphabet to read and write and some even struggle to do that. So perhaps that explains why the Chinese tend to do better academically and prosper in business all over the world, once they get out from under the Chinese Governments control over them.
Take an American and a Chinese, each with a dollar. Say both are equally smart and hardworking, and each can double his dollar every year, 2, 4, 8, 16… The only difference is that the American pays 35% – 50% in taxes and the Chinese pays almost nothing by comparison because the state provides almost nothing.
In China, you pay for almost everything, education, medical care, to use the roads, to visit a park. There is no sense of entitlement, they are brought up to pay their own way through life, nothing is free, and credit is not easy to get.
Whereas the average American has been so brainwashed that he thinks he has a moral obligation to give the government whatever it asks for; he thinks it’s dishonest or he’s cheating if he puts his own and his family’s welfare above the demands of the State. At the same time, he thinks the State has a moral obligation to provide for his health, education, welfare, and retirement.