Posted by: CJ | March 23, 2010

Scott Sumner Speaks Sense

This is probably the most sensible thing I’ve read today.

China is a very, very, big country.  We all read about its 1.4 billion population, but I don’t know if that has really sunk in.  It’s roughly the population of North and South America, and Western Europe, combined.  The policies China adopts will have a bigger effect than the same policies pursued in smaller countries.  We need to get used to the fact that we are living next to an elephant.  That shouldn’t be so hard; the Canadians have been doing that for decades.  I recently saw this line in someone’s blog:

It’s China’s world, we just live in it.

We haven’t quite reached that point, but we’re getting close.  I get very frustrated when I read Western commentators talk about China as if they are addressing a naughty schoolboy.  It’s not that they aren’t naughty at times, the problem is that there seems to be no awareness that it not “our world” anymore.  These Asian countries shouldn’t be treated as children.  We used to treat Japan the same way. The Economist recently pointed out that in 18 of the last 20 centuries more than half the world’s GDP was in Asia.  And in a few more decades they will regain a majority of world GDP.  Each year the world economy will look a little more like the typical Asian economy.  Maybe it’s time we stopped lecturing them about saving too much, and ask ourselves whether we are saving too little.

None of the above should be construed as social-safety net bashing. Merely that Sumner is making extremely sensible points, at least to my mind.

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