On the economic rise of China

Yes, number two economy now. However, the important number is not the aggregate one, but the per capita one. And yes, we should also adjust for PPP, as whjat we really are interested in is living standards and things do cost different amounts in different places (as a trivial example, and iPod costs roughly the same everywhere but a cleaner is much, much, cheaper in a poor country).

And the last time the U.S. had per-capita GDP of $6,567 was back in 1932.

If it hadn\’t been for Mao, how far would China have got do you think? 1950? 1960? 1980 even?

9 thoughts on “On the economic rise of China”

  1. “If it hadn’t been for Mao” it might not have been one country. Though who knows if that might have been better?

  2. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme, it still is not one country. Taiwan remains outside the Motherland. (Actually the Ancestor’s land in China). That is, Mao’s China was and is smaller than China was in 1945.

    Under Jiang and his heirs, Hong Kong and Macao would have still come back. So why would it be more than one country? The only threat to China’s unity in 1945 was the Soviet Union’s puppet state in the Ili region, the ETR. Know anyone who has ever heard of it?

  3. “The only threat to China’s unity in 1945 …”: there’s always a threat to China’s unity – look at her history. She’s a great big empire put together with God knows how much in the way of ethnic cleansing, and frequently held together by gangsters like Mao. All I was doing was poking fun at the unreflective assumption that you could subtract the old mass murderer from history and you would find yourself with the same China on the map, with only some economic differences. It’s perfectly possible but not especially likely. Similarly when people romance on about how rich and powerful China is bound to be in forty years time – maybe. But then again she may no longer be one country, or may have been ruined by civil war, or a plague, or….. Stuff, as the Yanks so wisely observe, happens.

  4. Taiwan remains outside the Motherland.

    Somebody needs to remind the Chinese that empire building is so 19th century. Insisting Taiwan belongs to China is like insisting South Sakhalin belongs to Japan: they lost it, get over it.

  5. In 1945 China was split between the communists in the north and the KMT in the south. Had Mao not existed then there still might have been a communists, and they still might have forced the KMT off to Taiwan. However if the KMT had won on the mainland rather than the communists then we can guess that there development path would have been similar to that on Taiwan. Bloody and repressive to begin with (though probably at least an order of magnitude less than the communists), but then shifting towards a more liberal approach because their market based economic system actually worked.

  6. if china can continue to look after number one and not get involved with things like climate change ideology then china may well own all tthe money in the world and soon.

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