The Economist says "China’s GDP, measured in nominal dollars, will be the world’s largest by 2018". Michael Pettis at China Financial Markets disagrees and says I would like to make a bet with The Economist.
I recently read in The Guardian an article by enthusiastic orientalist Martin Jacques in which he says that The Economist has just predicted that China’s GDP, measured in nominal dollars, will be the world’s largest by 2018. Earlier estimates, he says had China becoming the largest economy in the world by 2027.
I have always been a little skeptical about the 2027 claim ... given how much we would have to assume about the sustainability of Chinese growth, about the likelihood of current GDP numbers not having been vastly inflated by an over-investment boom, and about the unstable range of political outcomes. It seemed to me to be a prediction about as valuable as the world-beating predictions about the USSR in the 1960s or Japan in the 1980s.
Still, this 2018 prediction deserves I think more than a little questioning — it requires that nominal Chinese GDP growth in dollars outpace nominal US GDP growth by 12% a year.
So I am wondering whether we could set up a friendly bet — not for too large stakes. I would like to bet that by the end of 2018 China will not be the largest economy in the world.
If I win, perhaps The Economist could invite a very cool underground Chinese band of my choice to perform at their next big conference, whereas if I lose I could buy four-year subscriptions (student rates, please) to a group of Peking University freshmen. Everybody would end up feeling pretty pleased with themselves no matter who wins, right? So?