In the decade to come, the United States, Europe, and Japan are likely to grow slowly. Their sluggishness, however, will look less worrisome compared with the even bigger story in the global economy, which will be the three to four percent slowdown in China, which is already under way, with a possibly deeper slowdown in store as the economy continues to mature. China’s population is simply too big and aging too quickly for its economy to continue growing as rapidly as it has. With over 50 percent of its people now living in cities, China is nearing what economists call “the Lewis turning point”: the point at which a country’s surplus labor from rural areas has been largely exhausted. This is the result of both heavy migration to cities over the past two decades and the shrinking work force that the one-child policy has produced. In due time, the sense of many Americans today that Asian juggernauts are swiftly overtaking the U.S. economy will be remembered as one of the country’s periodic bouts of paranoia, akin to the hype that accompanied Japan’s ascent in the 1980s.
See on www.foreignaffairs.com