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« The Real Debate | Main | Routing Around The Disruption »

The Great Fall Of China

Or...Honey, I shrunk the economy!

China's GDP is forty percent smaller than previously assumed. Walter Russell Meade considers the implications.

One that he doesn't point out is the hysteria by some (including the NASA administrator, except that in his case I suspect that it's just a cynical attempt to scare Congress into giving him more money for "Apollo on steroids") that they will beat us back to the moon is even less justified than it was at the higher number.

China not only has a much smaller economy than ours after the PPP recalculation, but it has a much smaller economy per capita, since their population is over four times ours (resulting in average per capita income of about an eighth of ours), with a much smaller middle class. That means that the Chinese peasants, the vast majority of whom are still in poverty by US standards, are likely to be even less happy about boondoggles to the moon than we are.

And as Meade points out, the government is not sufficiently stable to risk the popular uproar that might be engendered by large numbers of people who are unhappy to see their national wealth spent to send a few taikonauts off to Luna, while they continue to have no running water. I expect the Chinese program to continue at its current snail's pace, but to think that they will beat us back to the moon any time soon, or at all, remains a fantasy.

[Via Instapundit]

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 30, 2007 09:43 AM
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