Will China’s growth outdo the West?

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Recent crises and the "lost decade" in Japan worry many that the philosophy of permanent growth may be not as sound as hoped for. Some months ago the topic was addressed in the "Economist" and now, in the “New York Times”, Uwe E. Reinhardt reflects on the issue comparing the prospects of the US and China.
 
Growth rates of less than 3% characterize the US and Europe and compare to 6 % for India and Brazil and 8% for China. The IMF predicts that with its GDP in a few years’ time China will overtake the US. Reinhardt points out however that a comparison of GDPs can be misleading since it disregards the significant difference in population size. On a per-capita level China and India will continue to stay far behind the West for a long time; nevertheless, the times of strong growth in the West may be over. As Robert J. Gordon argues in an in-depth analysis, the West seems to have fully exploited the fruits of three industrial revolutions in the last 250 years. He sees especially demographic problems and accumulated debt having the potential to stifle growth significantly.
 
Gordon’s profound analysis questions the assumption of eternal economic growth. Of course a further revolution may be in the making, but social policy cannot be based on such speculations. The BRIC and other developing countries have the potential and the need to grow within the limits of the past revolutions for some time yet. One could ask if the West needs a new revolution to save it from the mountains of accumulated debt.