My outlandish prediction, going against the commonsense of the day:

The Chinese Century will be abortive.

A lot of people are convinced that the coming century will be shaped by China’s pre-eminence. I am less convinced. [1]


I think the sources of current Chinese vigour will run out sooner than people think. Wages are already seriously starting to rise because China is starting to run out of peasants, which puts its current growth model in serious peril.

Add to that the fact that[i]n 2015, China’s working population below the age of 65 will begin to shrink. Meanwhile, the number of people over 65 will be rising to 300 million by 2050, a threefold increase.” Demography is Destiny after all.

Secondly, I think that Democracies perform better than autocracies.

In short, Democratic counties are better at dealing with external shocks and at maintaining stable economies, in the long run this matters more as to who is successful. India has many institutions, like Parliamentary Democracy, a loyal opposition and recourse to the law, which are lacking or underdeveloped in China. If this is added to the fact that China is more vulnerable than India to internal and external shocks then we can see that the fate of the world remains, thankfully, democratic.

Lastly, I think the idea that a country can have momentum foolish, there has been a Divergence, Big Time in income since the start of the 19th Century.

I think that future Chinese growth is by no means assured by their current explosive performance. Successful countries and regions can screw up. People used to say “as rich as an Argentine”, now Argentina is a country best known for nearly bringing down the world financial system… twice. I predict China will get to about Turkey’s per capita income and then find things get really difficult if it is not waylaid by an internal or external crisis first.

So, China will stumble, not necessarily fall, but it will pull up its poor more slowly and have a much harder time turning its size into geopolitical clout than is assumed: No Chinese Century.

Luckily, by the end of the century, I will be dead and our new Chinese Overlords will be unable to punish me for my insolence.

So what are your outlandish predictions? [2]

This meme is sponsored by my inability to blog properly due to homelessness, commuting and being mentally knackered from my course and I tag Rumbold, Paul, Dr Phil, Carl, Paul, Hopi, Jamie, Tom and Tim and anyone else who wants to join in.


[1] A Pacific Century focussed around the India/China and America’s Pacific Coast I can see.

[2] No you can’t have the imminent coming of a Socialist Utopia, someone has already claimed that.


7 thoughts on “My outlandish prediction, going against the commonsense of the day:

    1. Thank you, please throw in an outlandish prediction or two this is an open meme!

      China is a fascinating place, with a vast history and a vast and diverse internal structure and society, so any prediction at all on China is outlandish, but I have a sinking feeling that the Chinese may not get much wealthier for much longer without some sort of horrible crisis.

  1. A few of the same people who made a lot of money from predicting the financial crisis and Enron’s collapse are similarly sceptical about China.

    The corollary of your outlandish prediction I guess is that the US will still be the obvious dominant power in 20-30 years’ time.

    My own outlandish prediction: global warming will be dead as an issue within the next 20 years.

  2. “My own outlandish prediction: global warming will be dead as an issue within the next 20 years.”

    I hope you’re right, but I doubt it. There could be a lot of money to be had if you short some carbon credits.

    I don’t think the collary is a supreme US, but a more multi-polar world like the 19th Century, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Austro-Hungary etc: That went well 1815-1914…

  3. Perhaps – though I probably should have said US-Europe/NATO.

    China on the other hand is treated with intense suspicion in the region of course.

    Who is its only formal ally – North Korea!!

  4. “furious competition for sexual/marital partners” sounds like a bad Mandarin translation of “Blind Date.”

    Its true, there aer major demographic problems for China. Not least of all that lots of single young men will tend to be a bit violent, and wil tend to produce a rather large sex industry (from something I saw sex work was about 6% of GDP in the mid-00s. If China’s growth stalls then jobless lonely men are going to make that country a nightmare.

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