China is #2

By Razib Khan | August 16, 2010 2:35 am

China Passes Japan as Second-Largest Economy:

After three decades of spectacular growth, China passed Japan in the second quarter to become the world’s second-largest economy behind the United States, according to government figures released early Monday.

The milestone, though anticipated for some time, is the most striking evidence yet that China’s ascendance is for real and that the rest of the world will have to reckon with a new economic superpower.

The recognition came early Monday, when Tokyo said that Japan’s economy was valued at about $1.28 trillion in the second quarter, slightly below China’s $1.33 trillion. Japan’s economy grew 0.4 percent in the quarter, Tokyo said, substantially less than forecast. That weakness suggests that China’s economy will race past Japan’s for the full year.

Lots of prose. Here’s another way to explore relationships, via Google Data Explorer.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: International Affairs
MORE ABOUT: China
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  • Chris T

    A lot of distance to cover to top the US. I personally don’t think they’ll quite make it; too many internal issues.

  • Brian Too

    Wow, that really is a milestone. Is Russia that far behind, or have they been excluded from the datasets? Also, where is India on these metrics?

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan
  • LongMa

    In any case China has several decades before it overtakes America, by then the average citizen in China will likely be only as rich as the average Thai or Malaysia, America will still have a formidable military, but will have to get use to sharing the South China Sea and Indian ocean I’m sure, because that alliance that America is trying to put together to contain China (India, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, etc) is not going to hold, due to geopolitics…you side with your neighbors, especially if they are rich, not the guy way way way far away…especially if they are not your leading trade partner.

    Right now China has serious demographic problems, a extreme and growing wealth gap between rich and poor (especially in Eastern cities in rural areas, especially the Western provinces, there are 1,000s of small riots (“mass disturbances” every year in China, usually over corruption, that are not reported in the media here). Yes, 1000′s. That is correct, in fact I believe the Chinese government stopped counting in the early 2000′s, when the number reached like 26,000 or so in one year. Not nice stats to impress investors with. Smile

    There are still people in China in the Western areas who have dirt floor homes, live in caves (yes, live in CAVES, google it.)

    They got a ways to go, if they can maintain their stability, and not drift into civil war, etc. They will likely make it though.

    Also Japan is still far more productive, especially if you consider it is the size of California, with 1/3 the U.S. population and overwhelming majority of the land not inhabitable (also earthquake prone).

  • Chris T

    “you side with your neighbors,”

    You mean the country that has been China’s mortal enemy for centuries and has committed atrocities against its people in living memory? Not likely.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    You mean the country that has been China’s mortal enemy for centuries and has committed atrocities against its people in living memory? Not likely.

    this is a good point. but how about germany after world war ii?

  • Eric Johnson

    That living memory is fading. And it’s not like Japan is going to invade China now. With nuclear missiles and inverted age distributions, the time for that sort of thing is past.

  • Chris T

    “but how about germany after world war ii?”

    The world’s ability to separate Germany from the actions committed by the Nazis is rather fascinating actually. My guess is their actions were simply so horrible that no one wanted to believe an entire people were capable of carrying them out and so only a small group of people were held responsible. There was also the issue of heavy ethnic integration with the victorious powers which would have led to some rather uncomfortable questions if they didn’t blame it on a small group. China and Japan consider themselves separate people and ethnic animus is much easier.

    “That living memory is fading. And it’s not like Japan is going to invade China now.”

    China’s history is several thousand years old. To us, the Rape of Nanking is ancient history, to them it was yesterday. Ethnic grievances don’t easily fade with time, just look at the Balkans.

    “With nuclear missiles and inverted age distributions, the time for that sort of thing is past.”

    Human nature hasn’t changed.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    The world’s ability to separate Germany from the actions committed by the Nazis is rather fascinating actually.

    where is this “world” you speak of? de-nazification was a pragmatic decision once the cold war ramped up. but the victims of the nazis haven’t forgotten from what i have seen & heard, and most americans have nazism as one of the top associations with a german accent from what i can tell :-) * the greeks pulled the nazi card immediately when the germans started riding them about their debt problems.

    * i had to giggle every time a german customs official at a gate in germany would ask me for “my papers” in that accent.

  • Chris T

    “where is this “world” you speak of? de-nazification was a pragmatic decision once the cold war ramped up. but the victims of the nazis haven’t forgotten from what i have seen & heard, and most americans have nazism as one of the top associations with a german accent from what i can tell”

    I suppose I was a bit absolute when I made that statement. It’s true that many still hold Germans as a people responsible to varying degrees, but there’s been a definite move to link the atrocities of WWII solely to the Nazis. Time will tell how successful it will be.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    It’s true that many still hold Germans as a people responsible to varying degrees, but there’s been a definite move to link the atrocities of WWII solely to the Nazis. Time will tell how successful it will be.

    hm.

    1) my understanding was that the de-nazification program and the zeitgeist of post-world war 2 germany did pin the whole blame on the nazis, though by the 1960s many leftist germans rejected this narrative. i don’t know how the typical german feels about this because i am not in the habit of seriously discussing this issue with them.

    2) but, i have had discussions with plenty of americans about the topic, and the consensus i found is that the perception was that we had to pretend like it was about the nazis singularly, but none of us believed that. kind of like we pretend that islam is a ‘religion of peace’ just to get along as a practical matter since there are 1.5 billion of them and all. though i’m not claiming that the consensus was that germans were ‘hitler’s willing executioners’ or anything that grand. would be interesting to get a survey on the issue for americans vs. germans.

  • Brian Too

    My thesis is that our relations with Germany are comfortable now because things really did change in Germany. The Allies did not merely defeat a country, they defeated an idea.

    I think the Germans themselves recognized, not solely the damage that Nazism and aggression had caused in the world, but that rebounded and became a catastrophe for Germans themselves. Then the EEC (now EU) was largely successful in reshaping European politics, weakening national bonds somewhat and developing a stronger European identity.

    Now look at the outcome. Europe is reluctant to go to war over nearly any issue, whether inside, bordering, or far outside EU boundaries. Prior to WWII war was commonplace and frequently ravaged the continent.

    The Japanese situation is more complicated.

  • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/gnxp Razib Khan

    Now look at the outcome. Europe is reluctant to go to war over nearly any issue, whether inside, bordering, or far outside EU boundaries. Prior to WWII war was commonplace and frequently ravaged the continent.

    just a minor note. between the napoleonic wars and world war 1, europe did have relative peace. there were the wars between prussia & austria and prussia & frace, and the crimean war, as well as political disturbances such as 1848, but it was really pretty stable for a while. one model is that world war 1 was so feverish because of the fact that people had forgotten how horrible mass warfare was (the napoleonic era being the last time that had happened).

    i do agree that german and japanese cultures have shifted into another “equilibrium.” national characters can flip rapidly. the nordic nations used to mix it up in european wars a lot. sweden was a major power with adventures in central and eastern europe. but after exhausting wars which it didn’t have the manpower to maintain it seems that the national culture decided that it was best to take advantage of their relative out of the way location and just stay out of dust-ups.

  • Brian Too

    OK, those Google charts are sweet! Dynamic plots, including dynamic scaling, no explicit refreshes. Makes me wish I had written that code. Very elegant interface.

  • Chris T

    “the consensus i found is that the perception was that we had to pretend like it was about the nazis singularly, but none of us believed that.”

    We’re good at creating convenient fictions when the truth is too terrible to face, even if we admit it is a fiction when pressed. None of us would get through our own lives otherwise if we didn’t lie to ourselves from time to time.

    “one model is that world war 1 was so feverish because of the fact that people had forgotten how horrible mass warfare was (the napoleonic era being the last time that had happened).”

    It can be fairly readily explained by the Napoleonic wars making a complete mess of the geopolitics of Europe. Most countries were inward facing at the time and Britain was essentially unchallenged in military supremacy until the other European powers got it together enough to actually look outwards (about the 1870′s). Even then, great power wars came close quite a few times prior to WWI (GB v. France and GB & France v. Russia).

    Read Dreadnought by Robert K. Massie. He goes into the power plays and personalities that ultimately led to to WWI in great detail.

    I think WWII stands alone as a war that completely burned any interest in war out of its participants for generations. Sadly, I think it also burned out any interest in pursuing any ideals or bold aspirations as well. Europe mostly seems content surviving.

  • Chris T

    “The Japanese situation is more complicated.”

    Japan seems to be steadily moving towards a more aggressive stance in world affairs (partially out of necessity). This isn’t widely known, but their military is actually one of the best in the world. My guess is that in another generation, they’ll have amended their constitution and fully cast off their pacifistic stance.

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This blog is about evolution, genetics, genomics and their interstices. Please beware that comments are aggressively moderated. Uncivil or churlish comments will likely get you banned immediately, so make any contribution count!

About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com

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