But the Chinese economy is growing much faster than ours and their population is four times as large. How do we protect ourselves from China’s looming world economic dominance?
One of our best weapons is a circumstance that is not widely understood and appreciated: The world is quietly getting better! In fact, half of the entire world’s 7.6 billion people are now either wealthy or middle class (see chart). A detailed discussion of the enormous human progress steadily taking place around the world is given by Steven Pinker in his recent work, Enlightenment Now.
The struggle for supremacy between the United States and China is a struggle between freedom and tyranny. Even though freedom has taken a few setbacks in recent years, there are still far more free countries than not-free countries around the world. (see second chart) Democracies seldom go to war with each other; rather they work out their problems peacefully. Even when China does surpass the U.S. economically, because the U.S. is a democracy, it will continue to have far more allies than China.
Furthermore, as prosperity continues to grow and spread more widely around the world, as it most likely will, freedom and democracy will also continue to flourish and spread more widely. This means that the U.S. should gain even more allies in the years ahead.
The U.S. cannot stop China from growing economically nor should it try to. After all, the wealthier China becomes the better off its people will be, and a more prosperous population will insist on more personal freedom.
But regardless, as a democracy, the U.S. has inherent strengths which should enable it to continue to lead the free world more many years to come.