BREAKING: China Still Not Collapsing


Matt Yglesias thinks it’s time to give China a break:

I’ve lost track of how many years we’re into the story of “debt-burdened China and its unsustainable investment-fueled growth are about to crash and burn” but this morning came the news of a rebound in economic growth despite a fall in exports after a couple of down quarters. Naturally the news article is nonetheless filled with gloom and doom about bad debts and overinvestment and blah blah blah.

And to be clear, I think that two things are true. One is that as China gets richer and richer its growth rate is going to be on a downward trajectory. The other is that if you predict a Chinese financial crisis every month for enough straight months, eventually the Chinese financial crisis will occur.

True dat. Unfortunately, this is probably evidence not that China won’t crash, but that bubbles can almost always be sustained longer than people think. In the U.S. serious people started to bang the drum about the housing bubble as early as 2002, and by 2005 everyone was tired of it. But the very next year, the market peaked and started its epic collapse.

Nonetheless, I agree with Yglesias. That’s not to say China will never suffer from a recession. It will, just like every other country. But its real problems are less bubblific in nature than they are structural and long-term: aging demographics, rising wages, global competition, and the automation of the workplace. Getting to a per capita GDP of $10,000 has been an amazing achievement, but getting to $20,000 is going to be a lot harder.

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up to $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

FOLLOW THE MONEY

Corporations and billionaires don’t fund journalism like ours that exists to shake things up. Instead, support from readers allows Mother Jones to call it like it is without fear, favor, or false equivalence.

And right now, a longtime friend of Mother Jones has pledged an incredibly generous gift to inspire—and double—giving from online readers. That's huge! Because you can see that our fall fundraising drive is well behind the $325,000 we need to raise. So if you agree that in-depth, fiercely independent journalism matters right now, please support our work and help us raise the money it takes to keep Mother Jones charging hard. Your gift, and all online donations up $94,000 total, will be matched and go twice as far—but only until the November 9 deadline.

$400,000 to go: Please help us pick up the pace!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate