Opinion / Chen Weihua

US should pivot away from containment

By Chen Weihua (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-26 07:54

Joseph Stiglitz, one of the world's most influential economists today, sounded stern warnings to US policy and lawmakers in his article "China Century" in the January edition of Vanity Fair magazine.

The Nobel laureate in economics described 2014 as the last year in which the United States could claim to be the world's largest economic power. "China enters 2015 in the top position, where it will likely remain for a very long time, if not forever. In doing so, it returns to the position it held through most of human history," he wrote.

Such a conclusion is based on a recent International Monetary Fund report which said, when measuring national economic output in real terms of goods and services, China will produce $17.6 trillion this year, above the $17.4 trillion for the US.

Stiglitz interpreted the fact that China is not eager to be in the No 1 position because being No 1 comes with a cost, such as paying more support to global bodies such as the United Nations.

While there may be some truth to this, most Chinese truly don't see their country as No 1 except in population size, and that might be overtaken by India around 2028.

As Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Yang said in Chicago last week, anything multiplied by 1.3 billion people is huge while anything divided by 1.3 billion is tiny. Wang was not shy in saying that the US will continue to be the most powerful nation and lead the world.

Being No 1 by sheer size is often misleading. China's per capita GDP ranks 89th in the world according to IMF and 85th according to the World Bank; behind Iraq.

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