- October 2012: Vol. 24 No. 9

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Enter the Dragon: China May Be Poised to Supersede the U.S. Economy, but the Nation is Rife with Structural and Demographic Problems

by Susan Fornoff

Sit down with a calculator and plug in some numbers. If China’s current $7.3 trillion economy grows at an annual rate of 8 percent (enough to satisfy its Politburo) and the United States’ $15 trillion economy grows the expected 4 percent to 6 percent slower than China, reckoning day will come.

One day, U.S. political and business leaders will awaken to stark numbers certifying that its GDP no longer ranks first on the globe but second to that of China. The year cited most often by economists is 2020, which means it could even happen on a day that China wins more Olympic medals than the United States.

Imagining turbulence on Wall Street? Mass migration to Canada? A rush to Mandarin language classes? Expect a silent shrug from American economic experts and investment professionals. But as for the masses...

“It will be very symbolic,” says Marvin Zonis, professor emeritus at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “What’s going to happen

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