Sunday, June 5, 2011

China's Economy Already Larger Than America's

China's green energy business
In response the question how large is the Chinese GDP, Peking University Professor Michael Pettis writes:
…My calculations ... show that the size of the Chinese economy in 2010 was about $14.8 trillion dollars—surpassing that of the United States.
Which makes sense.

With five times as many people, China must produce something like five times as much food as the United States.

China's crude steel production accounts for 46% of the World's total, and almost seven times America's.

China's cement consumption accounts for about half the World's total.

And China leads the World in the emission of Carbon Dioxide with 22.3% of the World's total in 2007, a number that must have been far surpassed by now.

China is now the World's Number 1 producer of automobiles, and the World's largest exporter.

In the next five years China will invest US$1.5 trillion to construct 30,000 km of high speed rail, during which time America will stick with its 225 miles between Washington and New York (with a planned extension to Boston), with trains running at peak speeds of 150 miles per hour, although average speeds are much lower due to the poor track which was not designed for high speed rail.

So in terms of gross material and energy use, China is already way ahead of the US.

True, amount of stuff is not what economists measure when calculating GDP, they look at the monetary value of output. There the US is way ahead of China in many areas. In legal services, for example, Americans are so much better off than the Chinese.

Then there's healthcare. Americans don't live any longer than most other people, but they spend a heck of lot trying to -- about $2 trillion a year.

And they excel at spending on education, entertainment and advertising, with, surely, beneficial results.

But where American wealth is most evident is in the realm of organized violence. Who else could afford everlasting multi-trillion dollar wars?

So maybe the Chinese have more stuff. But when it comes to the things that really matter, America still leads the World.


  1. I love the sarcasm. Yes, America does "lead the world" in legal services. Yay for us!

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    I love Americans.

    But, wow, things don't look to be going well for them. One would like to see America take a new direction and regain the respect and affection of the World.