Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Now There Are Two

It appears the United States' brief reign as the World's lone superpower is over. After a multi-century hiatus, China is once again a true superpower. Keith Bradsher reports in this New York Times story that:

The Chinese economy grew 9.9 percent last year, the third year in a row of roughly 10 percent growth, government statisticians announced in Beijing on Wednesday.

The Chinese statistics, showing a national economic output of $2.26 trillion, sent China soaring past France, Britain and Italy to become the world's fourth-largest economy, after the United States, Japan and Germany.

Because the Yuan is clearly undervalued, this number almost certainly understates the true size of China's economy. The CIA World Fact Book's purchasing power parity rankings look like this:

1 World $ 59,380,000,000,000 2005 est.
2 United States $ 12,370,000,000,000 2005 est.
3 European Union $ 12,180,000,000,000 2005 est.
4 China $ 8,158,000,000,000 2005 est.
5 Japan $ 3,867,000,000,000 2005 est.
6 India $ 3,678,000,000,000 2005 est.
Europe, which once looked like a potential superpower, now looks like a bunch of quarelling mini-states, unlikely to be a big factor in the next twenty years. China is looking like it could soon have military power compared to the old Soviet Union with a much larger economy.

It's a shame that this big threat emerged when we are ruled by a bunch of wacko ideologues and religious idiots.