Is U.S. Or China The World's Economic Superpower?

Tyler Durden's picture

Since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the world has had one undisputed economic superpower: the United States.

But while the U.S. has enjoyed its moment in the sun, the balance of power has been slowly shifting towards the inevitable rise of China. It’s been a long time coming, but, as Visual Capitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, China now has the manpower, influence, and economic might to compete at a similar level – and if you ask people around the world, they’ve certainly taken notice.

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist



The United States and China combine for 39% of global GDP, 53% of estimated economic growth in the coming years, and 23% of the world’s population.

But which one is perceived as the more dominant economic power?

According to a recent survey by Pew Research Center, the vary wildly depending on the people and country surveyed. However, on an aggregate level that uses the results from the people in 38 countries surveyed, Pew determined that a median of 42% of people list the United States as the world’s leading economic power, while 32% name China as top dog.

While the U.S. maintains a narrow lead in aggregate, things get much more interesting when we look at individual countries.


Do America’s closest allies view it as the clear global superpower? What about the countries that neighbor China – surely, they must witness China’s economic might firsthand.

Weirdly, the dominant perspectives in these places are not as obvious as one would think.

More people living in Canada, Australia, and major European countries like France, Germany, Sweden, Spain, and the United Kingdom tend to view China as the global economic superpower.

Meanwhile, the majority of people in South American and African countries see the United States as the world’s major economic power – and people in countries near China (such as South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam) all tend to agree with that sentiment as well.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
TeamDepends's picture

And Depends says, "Khazarian Mafia".

armada's picture

YES! The US is warmongering for that Khazarian mafia. While China is all business.

moimeme's picture

Khazarian Mafia, aka Fake Hebrews.

The_Juggernaut's picture

When the hard times come, who can produce their own food and energy? All others are dependent.

yomutti2's picture

I spend a lot of time in China. It's the US by a mile.


ChaoKrungThep's picture

Numbers? Stats? Evidence? Ohterwise, just words.

Bungbo's picture

....probably coming from some old beatnik turd who has never made it out of Cali and sure as shit has never even been to China.

I lived in China for three years.  It's a real shit hole.  World power my fat ass!

Hernando98's picture

This looks like one way to get back at the JWO...

How Bitcoin Can Help Gaza

Luc X. Ifer's picture

Ok, now we know that Hernando98 is a Fatah or Hamas anti Jew fascist trolling agent provocateur.

Ramesees's picture

China is a paper tiger. Go to any public area or even the newest skyscraper in Shanghai - the construction is shitty and you can see the cracks. It's not maintained.

Concrete is of inferior quality, etc.

America has plenty of problems, but not nearly as many as China.

Luc X. Ifer's picture

Let's reformulate the question so that the answer is easier to infer. Who has most of the production means and most of the workers, and who's is mostly the consumer side of the products of the other? Now, you have the answer.

Zero Point's picture

Really? Apply that same question to a large plantation in the south in the early 18th century.

Luc X. Ifer's picture

How idiotic, are you living on a 18th century plantation?!


quadraspleen's picture

You may want to add "whose currency are the rest of the world forced into using by virtue of its (long past time) status as the world's reserve currency" that's helped a tiny bit

Arnold's picture

I fund a conundrum in whether to internationally trade in Yuan, Renminbi, oil in kind, or Bitcoin.

And the fact that the government owns 50% of my business, and all of the intellectual property disturbing.

Maybe the New Party congress in September, will institute fundamental change.

Ramesees's picture

Yet America remains by far the No. 1 manufacturing country. It out-produces No. 2 China by more than 40 percent. U.S. manufacturers cranked out nearly $1.7 trillion in goods in 2009, according to the United Nations.

Luc X. Ifer's picture

Are you mentally still in the year 2009? Leave the booze & crack aside for few weeks and try read a calendar.

ThirteenthFloor's picture

Your point is correct. Really it's the Chimerica economy. China produces what America markets and sells. Both still trade in US treasury bills, so they are currently linked at the waist. Futile to have one weighted against the other, using these norms. For example GM is listed as us manufacturer on accounting books, but Buicks and Cadillacs are made primarily in China. Container ships to China are full of recycled plastic and steel from US, and finished goods and parts on the inbound.

Kayman's picture

"Let's reformulate the question"

Which country has to peg it's currency to the other country's currency?

China is a culture of trickery. Don't be caught up into thinking China is anything but a Dictatorship controlling cheap labor.

Luc X. Ifer's picture

I lnpw that. However, their leadership l knows that good sufficient bread & circus plus a little bit of freedom here and there will keep their cattle happy.


yomutti2's picture

I spend a lot of time in China. It's the US by a mile.


Nexus789's picture

i know people from Australia that trade and have buisness links with China and they have a different opinion to yours. 

all-priced-in's picture

"i know people from Australia that trade and have buisness links with China and they have a different opinion to yours."


 "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

Upton Sinclair

ombudsmanrules's picture

I'd like to know where you spend your time in China.  Not a criticism, just interested.  

Every time I'm in China I see it as running rings around the US.  Their technology has gone from a poor copy of the rest of the world to leading it.  
Whether it's fast rail, digital network infrastructure with Huawei, personal electronics brands like Xiaomi, car brands like Geely - literally taking over Volvo - the new COMAC C919 passenger jet looking promising.  The evidence is everywhere. 

You only need to look as far as the list of supercomputers.  They are number one and two on the list, with the Swiss relegating the now dated US DoE/Oak Ridge Titan machine into fourth spot.

Even more worrying for the US, is that the #1 position Sunway TaihuLight machine is without any American designed processor... No Intel, AMD or Nvidia. It's Chinese to the core. All 10.6 million of them.  That's quite astounding and a touch embarrassing for the US, to have the fastest computer in China running about six times as fast as America's biggest iron.   

And can you see America building a mini city complete with 11,000 ft runway out of a coral quay with zero natural land... and in just a couple of years?   

Luc X. Ifer's picture

I agree. Everyone from US I talk to and had a chance to live in the China's mega citites tells me the same, the urban life quality is way ahead that of US, on every aspect, architecture, transportation, shopping, entertainment etc. Take Shanghai for example

I know people who decided to spend most of their year time there just because of this higher level of living standards/quality.

"China is experiencing an explosive period of change and growth as millions of people are joining the middle class. Millions and millions of people who want and will soon demand the cars, TV screens, apartments, gasoline, access to information and mobility most of us take for granted."

flapdoodle's picture

Not to hijack that thread, but you mentioning the Chinese #1 supercomputer using Sunway (Chinese built, Chinese designed I assume) points out the interesting fact that the once US powerhouse of computer processor design, Intel now designs all its new stuff almost exclusively in... (wait for it)... (((Israel))).

So I guess this means that novel computer processors will no longer issue from the US. I'm willing to bet that the new Israeli designs end up being a disappointment. The (((chosenites))) are not quite as clever as they think they are. Cunning, certainly, but clever, not so much... and building up a huge mountain of karma which will someday bury them as the Universe evens things out.

I even have an example of Intel cunning vs. cleverness. AMD has a hot new processor called the "Threadripper" I believe - Intel has pretty much dominated with the I7 for years now. So, Intel's answer to the ThreadRipper? The I9 - has a few of the same features as the AMD, but under the hood pretty much a I7 with more bus lanes into the CPU. I7 even still beats the I9 on lots of benchmarks. So much for Intel leading edge. And... comes the I9 with extra features but you have to buy a LICENSE to use them...

roddy6667's picture

Go into any retail establishment in Am erica and look at the country of origin sticker. America can't make anything. China has mutually beneficiall agreements with many countries to keep their country stocked with fuel and food. America is invading small countries that can't defend themselves and supporting military bases in 130 countries.

Itinerant's picture

The countries that score highest on education and that are best informed (with the exclusion of Asian neighbours) think China.

Many people in Asian countries probably still idolize America much more than is warranted by up closer scrutiny, such as Swedish journalists, German tourists, or Dutch exchange students give the country.

Déjà view's picture

• What does Chicom produce that is 100% developed by a 100% Chicom company..other than filth and fakes...
• Ask Any Chicom ASEAN neighbor how they feel...will not get any sympathy from former brethren 'Vietcom'...
• Previously long term Japanese occupied nations learned discipline and organization...e.g. S. Korea...Taiwan...DPRK-Chicom values...HOW IS THAT WORKING?
• Why are there many videos of crude & rude Chicom tourists...aka niggers of Asia...
• Why do Chicoms buy foreign RE and send their kids to schools overseas?
• Why did Kim study in CH...not Chicom?
• Why does Chicom require assistance for construction of N-power plants, aircraft carrier, high speed train, aircraft...etc...etc...

Ramesees's picture

Yet America remains by far the No. 1 manufacturing country. It out-produces No. 2 China by more than 40 percent. U.S. manufacturers cranked out nearly $1.7 trillion in goods in 2009, according to the United Nations.

order66's picture

China's numbers are more fake than the U.S.

So, U.S. still in the lead.

Déjà view's picture

$2Tn U.S. debt held by Chicom and $350Bn p.a. trade surplus...
Imagine...leverage Chicom would have if roles were reversed...
Chicom would use those levers to their advantage...

Ben A Drill's picture

Corporations are the #1 superpower.

hoist the bs flag's picture

HAIL TRUMP faithless worms!

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Learn the meaning of purchase power parity so you get away from the bullshit of "dollar" weighted trade.  China won this battle a few years ago.  Lots of countries now bypass dollars and deal bi-laterally. They say screw FRN's.

Now intellectual prowess, thats another story.  High tech, for now, we win.  But not for long.  The christian madrasas in our learning institues will bring us down to middle eastern level pretty soon and internal tribal warfare will engulf our exceptional asses.  All it will take is one good 30% dow crash.  Won't happen soon, but it will happen.  In the meantime, as the Chinese say, it's burrish, buy stawks!

hoist the bs flag's picture

TRUMP will fix it!



EternalAnusocracy's picture

either use a fucking /s    or get back on meds.

Consuelo's picture



"The christian madrasas in our learning institues will bring us down to middle eastern level pretty soon and internal tribal warfare will engulf our exceptional asses."

That was unique...   Got any more...?

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Got a lotta mo.  Stay tuned Consuelo, stay tuned!

uhland62's picture

That 30% Dow crash is a fascinating thing to mention.

As part of the WSJ, the Dow is now owned by Murdoch & Co. Do you trust him/them not to manipulate? When he dies, do all his successors have the manual for manipulating it right? Or will his passing cause confusion in the company that will then cause that 30% crash? Does anyone ever check if the Dow is kosher now? 

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Excusing the neanderthals and exceptionals here, you are the only one who picked up on 30%.  The number was NOT chosen at random.  You Sir are a clever boy!

PrezTrump's picture

using a puppet account to agree with yourself. eat shit.

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Nope and fuck you Orange tweeter. bigly.

Golden Phoenix's picture

For his next act he'll be kissing a mirror while fapping furiously. Then he'll text himself how good he was.

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

Another newbie!  What you got maybe a year and half here? Just got out of mommys basement?  You and preztrump kid must be rumpranger roommates. Downvote all of my posts.  I scan ZH regularly just to enjoy upsetting exceptional, neanderthal, snowflakes.  I simply love driving.tards crazy.

Nexus789's picture

GDP is pointless measure and in fact hides how much an eonomy has lost its 'competitiveness'. A large part of US GDP is pumped up via debt/finance transactions and transactions related to health. None of which contributes to national economic wealth via increased real incomes and a positive trade balance.

ReturnOfDaMac's picture

All true but thats all we got. At least thats what everyone agrees to use.