Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
In 2019 the Red Dragon was already the second largest economy in the world, with a GDP of about USD 14 trillion it left behind the euro zone (13.4 trillion) while, according to JP Morgan, the United States retained the first place with a GDP of USD 21.3 trillion and it remained the largest economy with 27.3% of global GDP, while China (17.9%) surpassed the euro zone (17.1%).
Beijing intends to displace the Western powers economically, technologically and militarily. In less than 40 years it went from being an agrarian country, with USD 250 in annual per capita income, to an industrial giant and exceeding USD 9,000 in income in purchasing power parity. How it did it? Liberalizing the market.
In other words, since violence is destructive, the less the State interferes – the monopoly of violence, its police power with which it imposes «laws» – the less it destroys what private people build and the more the economy grows. Thus, crises are solved by the private sector when the State worsens them, like vaccines (assuming they are not counterproductive) from the private company Pfizer that were achieved without public money: «You have to get rid of bureaucracy. The subsidy always comes with ties, «argued the company.
Although the US is freer than China – except for Hong Kong – the fact of having about four times more inhabitants makes the red GDP approach that of the first power. Now, according to the IMF’s multi-state bureaucracy, the US economy (given the quarantines and other state repressions) will fall -4.3% in 2020 and grow 3.1% in 2021, while China lifted the lockdowns and will grow 1.9% in 2020 and 8.2% in 2021.
But Beijing today has a more authoritarian leadership and is slowing the liberalization of the market, while the US increases state interference with the recent elections being a clear indication. Where the State has little weight, citizens have little interest in politics. On the contrary, where the state has a lot of interference, citizens are very concerned about who is in power.
In the recent elections, citizen participation reached a record 66.3%, and Joe Biden was elected with another record of 74.9 million votes surpassing Obama’s 68.4 million which Trump also surpassed by obtaining almost 70 million. Interestingly, by the way, the «revolutionary» Biden is the oldest president in history: 78 years. It brings to my mind the “revolutionary” Fidel whose Cuba was so conservative that the vehicles on the streets were from the 1950s.
And the current Chinese leader has clear «imperialist» intentions and he shows it with his «Belt and Road Initiative» (BRI) or «New Silk Road Initiative», the megaproject that in its beginnings in 2013 was limited to neighboring countries , and its purpose was the construction of infrastructures for interconnection, but it has expanded geographically and sectoral. More than a hundred countries have already joined and it covers trade, finance, security, culture and tries to get other countries to adopt Chinese technology standards, such as 5G telephony and, in general, expands its global influence.
More state interference in the US and slower liberation in China will bring less growth. Thus, supposing that the US grows at 2% in ten years, it will achieve a GDP of USD 25 trillion, and if China grows at 6% in a decade it will exceed 27 trillion.
* Senior Advisor at The Cedar Portfolio and Member of the Advisory Council of the Center on Global Prosperity, de Oakland, California