Don't Worry About China??

If you take what is reported about the output of China, you get a range of estimates, but generally the gross domestic product of China in the year 2004 is estimated to be substantially less than $2 trillion. That would roughly make it one-sixth the size of the United States economy. Yet China has nearly five times the population of the United States. That means the per capita G.D.P. of China is about one-thirtieth the per capita G.D.P. of the United States, estimated to be about $40,000 at present, in rough terms.

Consider the most optimistic C.I.A. data about China in 2004. It says China has a purchasing power parity G.D.P. of (very) approximately $8 trillion, compared with roughly $12 trillion for the United States. Again, this is for a nation with nearly five times our population. Even when using this most astoundingly optimistic estimate - I would almost say a preposterous estimate - China has a per capita G.D.P. of about $6,000, or about 15 percent of America's and well below that of any nation in Western Europe, or of Japan, Israel, Taiwan and many other countries.

But suppose that these trends continued for 25 more years. Chinese per capita G.D.P. would be about $65,000 in 2040, and American per capita G.D.P. would be about $84,000. Again, this assumes that we use the most optimistic possible estimates of current Chinese G.D.P.