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Has China ALREADY Passed the U.S. as the World’s Largest Economy?

George Washington's picture





 

By Washington’s Blog

While the IMF forecasts that China will surpass America as the world’s top economy in 2016, it may have already become dog top.

As Arvind Subramanian – former assistant director in the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund, and now senior fellow jointly at the Peterson Institute for International Economics – noted in January:

Some time in 2010, the Chinese economy overtook that of the United States. My calculations of GDP for … are based on new estimates of GDP that will soon be published by the Penn World Tables (PWT) under the guidance of Professor Alan Heston at the University of Pennsylvania.

 

***

 

According to the IMF’s latest estimates for 2010, the value of total US GDP was $14.6 trillion while that of China was $5.7 trillion.

 

But it has long been recognized by many economists that using the market exchange rate to value goods and services is misleading about the real costs of living in two countries. Such goods and services as medical services, retail and constructions services, and haircuts—which are not traded across borders—are cheaper in poorer countries because labor is abundant. Using the market exchange rate to compare living standards across countries understates the benefits that citizens in poor countries enjoy from having access to these goods and services.

 

Purchasing power parity (PPP) estimates—which take account of these differing costs—are an alternative and, in some respects, more revealing way of computing and comparing standards of living and economic size across countries.

 

***

The size of the Chinese economy in 2010 was about $14.8 trillion dollars—surpassing that of the United States.

 

***

 

A second correction relates to [the fact that when] a currency appreciates, the movement is akin to an increase in the average cost of living.

 

***

 

These two adjustments increase China’s GDP from the current estimate of $10.1 trillion to $14.8 trillion (an increase of 47 percent, of which 27 percent is due to the revision in the 2005 estimate, and the rest due to smaller-than-assumed increases in the cost of living between 2005 and 2010). This $14.8 trillion figure exceeds US GDP of $14.6 trillion.

 

***

 

The GDP per capita (the average standard of living) is now about 4.3 times greater in the US than in China compared with a multiple of 6.3 without my corrections (and compared with a multiple of 11 if GDP is computed using market exchange rates).

 

***

 

[One] explanation of China’s behavior [in failing to provide more accurate estimaes] has to do with exchange rate politics. Had all prices been collected, China’s average price level (cost of living) would have been substantially lower. And this would have resulted in estimates of undervaluation of the Chinese currency of close to 40 percent against the dollar (see Subramanian 2010 for the connection between China’s price level and the implications for estimating whether currencies are under or overvalued). China’s trading partners would have had additional technical ammunition to deploy against its highly sensitive but demonstrably beggar-thy-neighbor exchange rate policy.

Economist Simon Taylor – finance professor and director of the finance program at Cambridge (and former JPMorgan and Citigroup alum) – writes:

The forecast [from the] Peterson Institute of International Economics [argues] that Chinese economic output already matched that of the US in 2010 (at purchasing power parity – more of that below). And, more dramatically, that the renminbi could overtake the dollar far more quickly than generally expected

 

***

 

If the new report is even roughly accurate, China’s real economic output overtook that of the US several years ago. Even if it’s still somewhat inaccurate, the timing of when China is number one is now imminent, not some next-decade event.

But leading Chinese economic analyst Michael Pettis is not impressed:

China’s economy is already bigger than the US economy according to PPP. I am not disputing Subramanian’s numbers, but comparisons between two such disparate economies on a PPP basis of course have no meaningful content at all. The fact that it is much cheaper to get a haircut or massage in China … tells us very little about the two countries that we wouldn’t have already known.

 

***

 

This whole exercise is pretty meaningless, and not only for the reason you might think – that economic growth is not a horse race between countries. It is meaningless for a far more fundamental reason, and this is because the comparable official GDP numbers for China (and PPP numbers start with the official numbers and then adjust for local prices) are wrong.

 

GDP may be higher

 

I am not just saying this because, according to Wikileaks, Li Keqiang doesn’t take the official GDP numbers too seriously. This was widely reported, but isn’t really news. None of us take the official GDP numbers too seriously, especially since it is almost impossible to produce good data in a large economy that is transforming itself so rapidly. I am saying that the GDP numbers are wrong for a more fundamental reason.

 

GDP is supposed to measure the total value of goods and services produced in China, but there are several problems with the official numbers. There are problems with all GDP numbers, but the biases, especially in the developed countries, are fairly consistent, which makes cross-country comparisons more or less meaningful. But in China there are additional problems, which make cross-country comparisons very complicated.

 

First of all we know that a lot of Chinese income – more than in most other major countries – is hidden, for whatever reasons, and this tends to pull down reported GDP numbers. One plausible recent estimate is that roughly 10% of total income is hidden beyond the NBS surveys, and so this suggests that GDP might really be substantially higher.

 

***

 

Second, when you compare the US and China (or any two countries), you have to think carefully about the exchange rate you’re using.

 

***

 

What if you believe that the RMB is undervalued by 20% and held there only because of PBoC intervention? Doesn’t that mean that if the PBoC were to stop intervening China’s GDP would automatically be 20% larger relative to the US?

 

Yes, it should be larger, but not by 20%. The difference should be less than 20%, but how much less depends on how much of China’s GDP growth can be explained by the undervalued currency.

 

If part of the country’s high growth rate is a consequence of the undervalued exchange rate, and certainly Beijing seems to believe it is, than raising the value of the RMB would automatically cause a slowdown in Chinese growth. That is why analysts should consider the relationship between the two when they make projections, and by the way they are implicitly (if not very accurately) doing so when they calculate PPP numbers.

 

GDP may also be lower

 

But there is more. So far nearly all the adjustments and predictions about Chinese growth that we have seen in the press suggest that the “real” size of China’s economy requires upward revisions of official GDP numbers, but that might reflect China hype more than a judicious approach might justify. What if China’s GDP numbers seriously overstate the true value of China’s economy?

 

There are at least two very good reasons to believe that they might. The first is environmental degradation. To understand why, it is worth remembering that if an individual earns $100, but in so doing destroys $100 worth of his own assets, then a strict accounting would say that he earned nothing.

 

The same is true with the environment, which has a real economic value that can be adversely affected by certain kinds of economic activity. For example here is an article that came out four months ago on Bloomberg:

 

China, the world’s worst polluter, needs to spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product a year — 680 billion yuan at 2009 figures — to clean up 30 years of industrial waste, said He Ping, chairman of the Washington-based International Fund for China’s Environment. Mun Sing Ho, a senior economist at Dale W. Jorgenson Associates and a visiting scholar at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, put the range at 2 percent to 4 percent of GDP.

 

Failure to spend that much — equivalent to the annual GDP of Vietnam — may cost the Chinese economy half as much again in blighted crops, health costs and pollution-related expenses, He said: “The cleanup can’t catch up with the speed of pollution” if spending is less.

 

This article suggests that a significant portion of Chinese growth came with a destruction of value that should have been deducted from that growth. After all, if you create net $100 of chemicals, but in so doing you pollute a nearby river to the extent that future economic production associated with the river is reduced by $100 (there will be less fishing, perhaps, or less agricultural production, or less usable water, or more health care costs), then the net value you created is 0, not $100, although of course you as the polluter might earn $100 today while the rest of the country loses $100 over the future.

 

There is no objective way to figure out how much of Chinese GDP growth should be reversed because of environmental degradation (and in this China is simply an extreme case – most countries to a lesser extent have this problem), but there is no question that the number is big, and the result is that we overestimate China’s GDP growth today and will underestimate GDP growth tomorrow. In other words environmental degradation simply causes us to take future growth and count it today.

 

And it is not just environmental degradation that may require a downward adjustment in GDP. What about misallocated investment?

 

***

 

Every country wastes investment, but China does it on a massive scale. I would argue that at least 1-2 percentage points of Chinese growth, perhaps even more, might consist of this kind of misallocated investment-driven growth.

 

When you add the impact of misallocated investment and environmental degradation, the necessary cumulative adjustment to Chinese GDP might be huge. For example, if the two adjustments combined range from 2 to 4 percentage points annually, over one decade China’s “true” GDP (whatever that means), would be below the official numbers by anywhere from 16-31%. Over twenty years official GDP would be overstated by 31-52%. That means that we are massively overstating GDP today and will experience very low apparent GDP growth for many years in the future as the official number returns to some reasonable approximation of the real number.

 

These are big adjustments, both above and below the official GDP numbers. This is why I find the whole horserace to predict the earliest date by which China’s economy will overtake the US to be so silly. What we are in effect doing is predicting the date by which an economy that is officially $6 trillion, but in reality anywhere from $3 trillion to $15 trillion in size, will overtake another economy that is roughly around $15 trillion in size.

 

And this is not the first time we have played this game. Look at Japan. Fifteen to twenty years ago Japan’s GDP was officially 17-18% of the world’s GDP and it was rapidly catching up to the US. Today it is 8%, and there seems to be no chance of it every catching up.

 

But can this really be true? Or is it possible that Japan’s official GDP growth was vastly inflated by misallocated investment before 1990, and vastly deflated by the repayment of that investment after 1990?

 

I think it’s the latter. If you look at the growth in Japan’s household consumption, you will find that household consumption grew much more slowly than GDP before 1990, and much more quickly after 1990. Household consumption might be at least as good an indicator of the real growth in wealth as production-side GDP numbers. So might it not be true that Japan’s official GDP was too high before 1990, and it has been slowly adjusting since then? And if this could have happened in Japan, whose investment growth was high but way below China’s, why can’t it happen here?

 

Under these conditions what’s the point of predicting when China’s economy will officially overtake the US? We simply have no idea, and we cannot draw any conclusions from the numbers. Can the horserace generate headlines? Yes. Can it generate understanding? Not much.

Pettis naively assumes that the U.S. economic numbers aren’t fudged, and that they adequately adjust for environmental degradation and misallocated capital. Given the widespread environmental and economic cover-ups – and misallocation of capital (and see this) – I’m not so confident.

Moreover, China’s main credit rating agency – Dagong – argues that the U.S. economy is actually much closer to $5 than $15 trillion:

In the components of the U.S. GDP in 2009, the financial services sector accounted for 21.4% while the real economy sector accounted for 65%. The total output value of the U.S. financial services industry is composed of two major parts: one is the transferred production value, most of which  comes from value distribution of participating in international production. Another part is the inflated value originated from credit innovation, which belongs to bubble value. In addition, due to the high economic financialization, more than half of the profits in the real economy come from the returns of financial activities. If we exclude the factor of virtual economy, the U.S. actual GDP is about 5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2009, per capita GDP about $ 15,000. Meanwhile, the total domestic consumption was 10.0 trillion U.S. dollars and government expenditure was 4.5 trillion U.S.  dollars. The production capacity of real value in the national economy is the material base to arrange social distribution and consumption. As the U.S. government arranges its budget according to the GDP including the virtual value, its revenue must fall short of its expenditure, so the  socialization and normalization of debts will exacerbate the environment of economic development. It is predicted that the average real GDP per year of the United States will not reach 6 trillion U.S. dollar and per capita GDP will be less than 20,000 in the coming 3-5 years.

In any event, Pettis argues that any estimate of when China will (or did) pass the U.S. is meaningless.

One thing is clear: the U.S. is no longer the world’s unchallenged economic superpower.

 


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Thu, 04/05/2012 - 20:22 | Link to Comment luckylogger
luckylogger's picture

I like your blog so don't take me wrong, however if their exchange rate was priced in equitable terms with the USD then they would have a shitty export business and be alot poorer than they are now. And if you determined GDP by the percentage of the population had access to safe food, water and air..... US would win hands down (I know its is debatable). If you determined it by percentage of citizens allowed to own guns.. US would have it slam dunk. I could go on and on but what other country can send 3 aircraft carrier groups or battle thingy s or what ever you call them to the Persian gulf and call it normal cruising around in our boats?

Bottom line= nobody else can do it. As much as i hatted Richard Nixon... he fuked the Chinese and I have no idea how they can over come it. They are just stuck with it.

Just my 2c.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 19:54 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

GDP...I get so sick of seeing it.

"The welfare of a nation, can scarcely be inferred from a measurement of national income as defined above."-Simon Kuznets

He was talking about the GDP measure he had just presented to the government and advised against using it as a national economic yardstick, for many reasons.

Which they promptly ignored.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 20:49 | Link to Comment TSA gropee
TSA gropee's picture

Amen brutha. I see GDP as a street huckster shell game meets Kabuki theatre. Distraction, deflection and obfuscation.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 21:00 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

Very much so...and the "street huckster shell game" grows larger everyday.

Now, its come to the point where the "game" comprises a third of "GDP" and the mini-me hucksters try to make some ridiculous point that any cut in the growth of the game will surely be the death of us all.

It's a false premise elevated to the status of strawman...lol...just as Kuznet warned.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 21:07 | Link to Comment TSA gropee
TSA gropee's picture

Indeed. On a side note, I have always enjoyed your posts nmewn, you do a good job of lacing a salient point with sarcastic wit. Makes for a pleasurable read. 

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 22:05 | Link to Comment nmewn
nmewn's picture

Why thank you and I return the compliment.

Yours are always informative and lead me in directions I need to explore more fully. Myself, I try to be humurous about it all, without being too cynical, while I keep on stacking knowing full well our best & brightest (wherever one lives on the planet) do not have our (the small) best interests at heart.

Its communicating to others to be more responsible for themselves (as I ask & expect nothing from no one) that seems to be the hardest thing to convey.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 19:36 | Link to Comment non_anon
non_anon's picture

the US has been stripped clean, starting after 1971, 80's military buildup and deficit spending started, it's been bubble blowing since and easy money/credit and record debts

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 19:18 | Link to Comment hardcleareye
hardcleareye's picture

GW always enjoy reading Pettis work,thanks for re posting it.

Was curious about this Heston dude and the Penn World Table (yeah I'm an engineering geek trying to broaden my horizons...) anyways,

"These publications provided the detailed methodology of their international measurement approach to multilateral comparisons."

Hmmm, is this the same "methodology" that the BLS uses to "seasonally adjust" the "raw data"? <sarc> ;)

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 19:13 | Link to Comment tony bonn
tony bonn's picture

a couple of points - the usa black market is at least as large as the chinese, so that factor is probably a wash...

the bigger problem is definitional....the chinese measure gdp by production whereas the usa does so by consumption....so all of those ghost towns in china are considered gdp even if they remain unsold (and ampty)..

ultimately gdp is voodoo economics and subject to massive prevarication everywhere....the chinese are as big liars as the americans...

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 18:44 | Link to Comment Nacho Libre III
Nacho Libre III's picture

If only the dollar would crash according to the great plan, all of the offshored companies would re-onshore because they  find it cheaper to produce back in the U.S. and the world would buy our stuff again.  Too bad all the other currencies suck even worse.  Too bad for China that their economic model depends on ravenous over-consumption from the rest of the world, slavery, environmental devastation and an endless boom of over development.  Should any of these factors or any combination thereof go awry, China's juggernaut economy is screwed beyond words. 

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 17:48 | Link to Comment Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

GDP is a stupid concept.  The only thing that counts is how much the citizens can purchase for themselves.  What you get for the U.S. is about $4-5 trillion.  That number comes from the Gross National Income less the mandated spending (taxes, fees, assessments, etc) that individuals are foced to pay out.  The government is that large.   If you don't count the top 1%, they're just government shills, the number looks far worse.  Compare these numbers with other nations.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 17:33 | Link to Comment Nozza
Nozza's picture

No.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 17:18 | Link to Comment Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

GDP is nonsense. Per von Mises in Human Action,

"it is nonsensical to reckon national income or national wealth. As soon as we embark upon considerations foreign to the reasoning of a man operating within the pale of a market society, we are no longer helped by monetary calculation methods. The attempts to determine in money the wealth of a nation or of the whole of mankind are as childish as the mystic efforts to solve the riddles of the universe by worrying about the dimensions of the pyramid of Cheops. If a business calculation values a supply of potatoes at $100, the idea is that it will be possible to sell it or to replace it against this sum. If a whole entrepreneurial unit is estimated $1,000,000, it means that one expects to sell it for this amount. But what is the meaning of the items in a statement of a nation’s total wealth? What is the meaning of the computation’s final result? What must be entered into it and what is to be left outside? Is it correct or not to enclose the “value” of the country’s climate and the people’s innate abilities and acquired skill? The businessman can convert his property into money, but a nation cannot."

The other problem is that the important economic good leisure is omitted from GDP computations.

 

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 17:29 | Link to Comment WhiteNight123129
WhiteNight123129's picture

While purchasing power parity is disputable, Von Hayek defines currency from its relationship with commodities (Denationalization of money). From that standpoint it is apparent that the activities of China have a lot more relation with commodities than the US. So in a sense the commodities are defined by the actions of China while those are still mistakenly priced in USD.

So commodities are linked to the Yuan not to the USD. The situation is that people believe that the Yuan is pegged to the USD, but since commodities are linked to the Yuan, in fact it is the USD which is pegged to the Yuan which is itself the currency determining the price of commodities, the current contraption is entirely false. A further point to understand that CHina decides teh fate of the USD dollar aside from teh impact of China on commodities is that China can decide to move the dollar by either decreasing its peg against teh USD. THis would push the USD higher against commodities, assuming mininal short impact of commodities consumption by China, China can affect the USD commodities relationship by buying or selling Treasuries.

Because of the Chinese activity linked to commodities and because China holds Treasuries, China decides a lot more on the USD versus commodities than Bernanke and the relationship between USD and commodities is the real deal about measuring a currency.

So US has a lot virtual economy completely overpriced (non tradable) while the US impact on commodities is much smaller than China, from that point you can probably derive that the US economy size is miscalculated.

The other point is what is that similar jobs should still pay the same amount across the globle and there is a good study that show that indeed it was the case when the world was working on Gold standard and uniform money. Now a manufacturing job in the US pays still a lot more than a Chinese manufacturing job. The question becomes then: Would the non tradable sector see its wages dramatically increased if we had similar manufacturing job costs, or are non tradable sector wages a derivative of wage levels in manufacturing.

Needless to say we agree that we have massive imbalances with way too much savings in China and way too little in the US and that we are very much unable to measure value under the current system, which makes investment job extremely daunting. If you know that Yuan is repressed, consumption is repressed you know that consumption will do better in China over time when the imabalance is finally unwinding. You know that manufacturing might actually do ok, that services value is pumped in teh US and that commodities should be measure in the currency of the consuming country. Beyond that, good luck.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 17:58 | Link to Comment Dr. Acula
Dr. Acula's picture

Are you Chinese? It sounds like your post was translated from Chinese into English.

>Von Hayek defines currency from its relationship with commodities (Denationalization of money).

Where does he do that? Which commodities? Why not define it based on iPads, or pedicure services?

>The other point is what is that similar jobs should still pay the same amount across the globle

No. An ice cream vendor cannot command the same wages at the North Pole.

Geography, resources, climates, populations, and capital are not uniformly distributed. Cultures do not advance in lockstep.

 

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 21:10 | Link to Comment WhiteNight123129
WhiteNight123129's picture

Why is purchasing parity deviating a lot now and its link to trade deficit: Currency school answer

Members of the currency school argued that even a fully, legally convertible currency could be issued in excess with undesirable consequences, such as rising domestic prices relative to foreign prices, balance-of-payment deficits, falling foreign-exchange rates, gold outflow resulting in depletion of gold reserves and ultimately forced suspension of convertibility. The problem of over issuance occured because of Joint stock banks in 1830s. The currency school argued that back in 1840s leading to the judicious decision to regulate ratio of banknotes to Gold in 1848. Bretton woods collapse was perfecty predictable for people versed into currency school. They derived that from empirical observation of circulation expansion and contraction and impact of PPP and trade deficit. Purchasing power parity and terms of trade equilibrium was restored through shrinkage of circulation, and Gold circulation from one country to another, this is pre-fixed parity Gold standard. In that period deflation of internal prices meant that things would become cheaper internally in UK AND against French products. After too many notes were converted to bullion and shipped, the low amount of notes deflation and cheap PPP would make it worthwhile to reverse the bullion flow. Deflation did not mean that your products were expensive ininternational terms, it mean that itwasworthwile importing bulliin to convert to bank notes again.  Here the description of thecphenomenon from a book written in 1837. The reason we have permanent deviation of PPP and permanent trade deficit is that central banks do not allow M0 contraction in one country resulting into a mechanical expansion in  the neighbouring country back and forth through bullion flow, which would make terms or trade shift back and forth. But when the unwinding happens despite the efforts of our central planners at preventing it, some resatauration will happen. Americans will be much poorer in other words on a relative basis, they will have a much lower unemployment rate, and the trade will be balanced.

 

http://books.google.com.br/books?id=3DA5AAAAMAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=...

Second:

http://mises.org/books/denationalisation.pdf page 74

I am neither Chinese nor American I am a permanent turn coat,  living outside the OECD. Nationality is so XX century, that is what the central planners want, that we fightbased on nationality, war = weapons of population mass distraction.

I hope that helps.

 

 

 


Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:59 | Link to Comment azzhatter
azzhatter's picture

We'll just have bernanke print up some GDP

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:54 | Link to Comment mumbo_jumbo
mumbo_jumbo's picture

are these the same economist that didn't see the stock bubble in 1999 AND the RE bubble in 2005?

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 21:30 | Link to Comment WhiteNight123129
WhiteNight123129's picture

Bubble you have, should China float the Yuan the last thing holding the dollar would break. The last thing holding the dollar against commodities is the USD peg to Yuan, because if China drops treasuries and severe the peg to USD and float the Yuan, bond investor would get out of USD EUR YEN GBP bonds and go after a liquid bond market (Yuan). China could have a decent debt to GDP if after absorbing the cost of its coming bad debt bank bailout, it decides to privatize SOEs. China would have 0 growrth and then 2-3%. Standard of living and cost of commodities would not move much in Yuan but explode in USD EUR GBP YEN. The Western economies would implode and profession like fashion consultant would disappear in the West, people in the UK would go back to mining as opposed to relying on low wages countries.

 

 

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 21:39 | Link to Comment WhiteNight123129
WhiteNight123129's picture

Do not assume Pettis is naive, there are several ways to read his posts, when he argues that the best trade right now is the Yuan it is really a smart way to avoid the pop following the US inflationary boom. I think that reading his posts tells you: go the inflationary trade all you want but then embrace the new reserve currency (Gold backed Yuan?), backed or not, if China follows Pettis prescription of deleveraging through privatization it might be the only currency left standing hence his long yuan advice despite his bearish view on the Chinese economy. If China goes to 2% growth what is the rest of the world doing in growth terms, huh?

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:40 | Link to Comment RobertBrusca
RobertBrusca's picture

I LOVE THIS.

whenever I write about China and how it has cheated to keep its exchange rate too low I get howls of protests. But here is that same point pressed into service to show that with a properly valued ( higher yuan/renmimbi)exchange rate China has surpassed us already.

Only use the facts when they prove you point, my friend.

Well the appeal to haircuts and massages only makes me wonder of what else in China as been massaged.

One reason to use PPP is so that all domestic assets are evaluated at the right prices. I wonder given the sorry situation with Chinese banks what true value looks like in China today.

for anyone who is skeptical abut US data let's heap some scorn on China's data

Check out the link below of an article I wrote with a controversial title... China may indeed, have passed its peak rate of growth. It now is going run into many more impediments. If it starts spending any resources cleaning up the environment it will be making capital investment for things that do not raise output (clean air has no economic value in GDP, at least not directly, same for clean water). It ash many other challenges as well.

As for the idea that the yuan may take over faster than anyone thought. What a joke! Nice sense of humor!

Look at what happened in Greece to bonds with local law governance.

No one will want to use the currency of a country that is a communist,a country that does not respect property rights or trademarking. Oh yeah and look at the 'open flow of information,' too. What a truly dumb idea. The Chinese economy may be growing fast but the yuan is going nowhere fast.

See link:

http://seekingalpha.com/article/321940-has-china-passed-its-peak

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:36 | Link to Comment AndrewCostello
AndrewCostello's picture

So many of the "Private Companies" in the US are really just extensions of the government through entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid that it is hard to tell how good the economy really it.  One thing is fer certain though, the US is just printing money. Sooner or later, that policy will fail.

 

Everybody should read this:

http://www.amazon.com/Simple-Wealth-Mr-Andrew-Costello/dp/1463523017/ref

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 17:55 | Link to Comment smiler03
smiler03's picture

Pimping your book a lot today Mr Costello.

Bargain, only $13.49

(will you pay me some commission please?)

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:23 | Link to Comment Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

Actually it's wrong. The rich chinese now want to buy the western prized articles => quality goods which only few can buy. So this breaks your thesis.

I've been to china a few times, I've been to,the US a lot of times, guess where I would want to live if I needed to chose? USA!

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 21:04 | Link to Comment TSA gropee
TSA gropee's picture

SD, not sure why you got two down arrows, but after 14 trips to China since 91' (am in Suzhou now), including 10 in the last 2 years I'd have to agree with you. Just about western anything means increased sales and prestige. Saw a kids hat that said Mickey House, lmao. Also saw a brand new Rolls Royce yesterday tooing around here in a countryside city. Materialism and its spawn elitism is becoming as prevalent here as anywhere else. For the love of money...

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:11 | Link to Comment sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

Not sure I'd want to believe anything from China.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:17 | Link to Comment JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

You can bet that American institutions like the BLS, the Fed, the US Congress, CNBC, Bloomberg, the mainstream media, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and assorted others are always telling the truth.  

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:08 | Link to Comment jayman21
jayman21's picture

George, I normally like reading your stuff.  This was not one of those times.  What is the point of this back and forth?  Anything I can trade here?

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:08 | Link to Comment JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

 

Dagong, the Chinese rating agency, has been claiming for a while that the US GDP is much smaller than $15 trillion:

"In the components of the U.S. GDP in 2009, the financial services sector accounted for 21.4%

while the real economy sector accounted for 65%.The total output value of the U.S.

financial services industry is composed of two major parts: one is the transferred

production value, most of which comes from value distribution of participating in

international production. Another part is the inflated value originated from credit innovation,

which belongs to bubble value. In addition, due to the high economic financialization,

more than half of the profits in the real economy come from the returns of financial

activities. If we exclude the factor of virtual economy, the U.S. actual GDP is about 5

trillion U.S. dollars in 2009, per capita GDP about $ 15,000. Meanwhile, the total domestic

consumption was 10.0 trillion U.S. dollars and government expenditure was 4.5 trillion U.S.

dollars. The production capacity of real value in the national economy is the material base

to arrange social distribution and consumption. As the U.S. government arranges its

budget according to the GDP including the virtual value, its revenue must fall short of its

expenditure, so the socialization and normalization of debts will exacerbate the

environment of economic development. It is predicted that the average real GDP per year

of the United States will not reach 6 trillion U.S. dollar and per capita GDP will be less than

20,000 in the coming 3-5 years."

http://www.dagongcredit.com/dagongweb/uf/USARatingReport.pdf

 

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:16 | Link to Comment sethstorm
sethstorm's picture

Not sure that anything in China is going to give accurate numbers about anyone, much less the US or China.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:15 | Link to Comment George Washington
George Washington's picture

Thanks! I'll add to the main post ...

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:01 | Link to Comment Dicite justitiam
Dicite justitiam's picture

Ha, measuring economies in USD.  Classic!  Using a Fed measuring stick is so ... backward looking.

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 16:08 | Link to Comment George Washington
George Washington's picture

Perhaps there are other measuring sticks ... although, of course, I am not pro-gold standard, because that would make me a terrorist!!!

Thu, 04/05/2012 - 15:52 | Link to Comment rufusbird
rufusbird's picture

That's easy, no! We droped below/behind China...

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