Why China Surpassing America’s Economy Isn’t a Sure Thing

China’s climb to the top of world economic rankings is considered a foregone conclusion in many circles, especially those inside the Chinese Communist Party. But all is not assured: Beijing faces economic and demographic challenges that make surpassing the U.S. less of a no-brainer than one might think.

On this week’s podcast, host Stephanie Flanders steers a lively debate on global domination between Bloomberg Chief Economist Tom Orlik and George Magnus, a research associate at Oxford University’s China Centre. At present, China’s $14.7 trillion gross domestic product is 70% of America’s $20.9 trillion economy. In China’s best-case scenario, it could overtake its Western rival by 2031, according to research by Orlik and Eric Zhu, a Bloomberg economist based in Hong Kong. In a worst case scenario, a combination of stalled reforms, international isolation and financial crisis could relegate China to permanent second place. Magnus is skeptical of China’s chances of passing the U.S., arguing that its most productive periods were during liberal economic reform, which is hardly the state of affairs under President Xi Jinping. 

In a second segment, London-based economy reporter Lizzy Burden shares how some U.K. corporations are speaking more openly about menopause, something 1 in 4 women around the world may be facing by 2030. A rising number are leaving the workforce as a result, which is prompting business leaders to finally address the sometimes taboo subject. 

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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