Playing with Fire

One of the popular predictions of the past few years has been to declare China as the next world superpower. The most populated country in the world has experienced tremendous growth for some time, and given their size, growth, and stability, many view China as the United States’ next competitor for worldwide dominance. While I am not speculating as to China’s social or political future, I strongly believe that their growth-oriented policies will eventually — and inevitably — bring about economic consequences.

As children we all learned the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” By pursuing policies aimed at maintaining their meteoric growth, China has consistently cast inflation aside. With rates currently hovering around 8%, China will eventually have to work harder to contain this figure. Their growth of over 10% per quarter has been able to overshadow most other economic problems. However, in response to those numbers I’ll put forth another saying from childhood, “nothing lasts forever.”

China’s astronomical growth will slow, with some — including myself — believing that this slowdown will take place after the Olympics this summer. At that time, the following question will take center stage: will the Chinese economy be able to grow rapidly enough to make up for high inflation, an appreciating Yuan, and a swiftly rising standard of living? I predict no, and hence foresee and economic slowdown occurring in China by the onset of 2009.

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