Long-anticipated, and now officially recognized:
The Chinese economy just overtook the United States economy to become the largest in the world. For the first time since Ulysses S. Grant was president, America is not the leading economic power on the planet.
It just happened — and almost nobody noticed.
The International Monetary Fund recently released the latest numbers for the world economy. And when you measure national economic output in “real” terms of goods and services, China will this year produce $17.6 trillion — compared with $17.4 trillion for the U.S.A. […] As recently as 2000, [the US] produced nearly three times as much as the Chinese.
To put the numbers slightly differently, China now accounts for 16.5% of the global economy when measured in real purchasing-power terms, compared with 16.3% for the U.S. […] This latest economic earthquake follows the development last year when China surpassed the U.S. for the first time in terms of global trade. […]
… the moment came sooner than … predicted. China’s recent decision to bring gross domestic product calculations in line with international standards has revealed activity that had previously gone uncounted.
I’m expecting more discomfort than triumphalism from a China that is being pushed into the lime-light faster than it is ready for. The political advantages of catch-up might not match the economic ones, but they are by no means inconsiderable.
Some gentle snark from Glenn Reynolds: “Well, in recent years both China and the United States have been fundamentally transformed.”