news flash: China is not the world’s largest economy


Sorry about that folks. China is the number two <and trying harder I believe> economy.

They overtook Japan as world’s second-biggest economy (Japan’s economy was worth $5.474 trillion -£3.414 trillion- at the end of 2010. China’s economy was closer to $5.8 trillion in the same period).

Japan has been hit by a drop in exports and consumer demand, while China has enjoyed a manufacturing boom.

World’s 10 biggest economies (according to IMF 2010):

1. US

2. China

3. Japan

4. Germany

5. France

6.  UK

7. Italy

8.  Brazil

9. Canada

10. Russia

I begin with this because it seems like I have recently had a bunch of conversations about (1) how bad the American economy is <and the future of it> and (2) how China is kicking everyone’s ass <economically … although I imagine militarily they would if they elected to>.

Some perspective folks.

Please. Some perspective.

Even using current trends, which assume America will not resolve some of its economic issues and China maintains their current growth <both flawed assumptions>, America will remain the world’s largest economy for the foreseeable future (at its current rate of growth, analysts see China replacing the US as the world’s top economy in about a decade … and the US economy is currently almost three times the size of the Chinese economy in dollar terms).

America generates lots of jobs, lots of stuff, lots of money and lots of doom & gloom attitudinally. I am not suggesting some major things don’t need to be fixed but people need to discern attitudes <fear that things are bad in the economy> versus reality <how bad is their own life>.


All that said, yes, the mood about economics is exceedingly gloomy around the world.

In a recent PewGlobalAttitudes survey of 21 countries a median of just 27% think their national economy is doing well.

Only in China, Germany, Brazil and Turkey do most people report that current national economic conditions are good.

Less than a third of Americans (31%) say the U.S. economy is doing well.

That figure is up 13% points from 2011 <but it is down 19 points from 2007 which was the year before the financial crunch began>.

A median of just 16% of Europeans surveyed think their economy is performing up to par. That includes just 2% of the Greeks and 6% of the Spanish and Italians.

Among Europeans, only the Germans (73%) give their economy a positive.

Oddly just 7% of Japanese believe their economy is doing well <despite the fact the country has the third largest economy in the world>.


Here is an interesting point to make.

In the study people are generally far more positive about their personal economic condition than they are about their nation’s economic situation. A median of 52% in the 21 nations surveyed feel satisfied with their own circumstances.

And Americans are twice as likely to say their family finances are in good shape as they are to say that the national economic situation is good.

There are larger differences in Britain and Japan, where those who rate their personal economic situation as good exceed the number who have positive views of the national economy by more than four-to-one.

Only the Chinese are significantly more likely to say the national economy is doing better than their families’ finances.


Capitalism <or the concept of it and how people feel about it>.

The global economic crisis has dented capitalism’s image.

In 11 of the 21 nations surveyed, half or fewer now agree with the statement that people are better off in a free market economy even though some people are rich and some are poor. And such backing is down in 9 of 16 nations with comparable data since 2007, before the Great Recession began.



Being #1 or being #3 or any number in say the top 5 is kind of irrelevant in a reality-based discussion. All in the top 5 generate gobs of revenue & jobs & opportunities. So even if America “slips” from the numero uno slot 10 years from now is the issue pride and attitude or real economic issues? <I will get back to you 10 years from now on that question>.

For now? America is number one. And approximately 3x, yes … 3 frickin’ times the size of number 2 <by the way … number 2 has 3x more people … uhm … gee … what would be the personal net worth evaluation on that?>.

I share this information with a couple of thoughts in mind:

–          We americans act like … well … a leader who is whining so much we are forgetting we are a leader. Our economy makes shit happen. Globally.

The point? Leaders lead. Cause if they don’t they end up following at some point.

–          Facts. Whew. The media sure does stir us up. And, yes, it all does sound like monopoly money at times in mind boggling ways. A trillion dollars, to me, is the kind of number that sends a shiver up my spine when I think of my own bank account. And maybe that is the issue … a country’s bank account doesn’t look anything like mine. Heck. Its balance sheet looks nothing like mine. I may have this wrong <because with all the frickin zeroes I think I misplaced some commas> but according to the Economist Pocket World of Figures America has a $14+trillion annual economy. That’s GDP. That’s a lot of money.

When my friends share a beer and talk about how if they can balance their business balance sheet or their personal balance sheet why can’t the country … well … in some ways I think it is almost apples and oranges <although both are fruit>. I cannot fathom the sheer amount of ledger entries you would have to make daily, let alone hourly, if you tracked a country as a true business.

Anyway. We act like our economy is the size, and acts like, Greece. Well. We may not have the nifty ruins or the ouzo but we have more money. Lots more. In fact 3 times more than … well … number 2 <and that ain’t Greece>.


Done with this topic. America has a large economy. Even on its worst day it is still very very large. And I wish not only more people recognized this but also recognized the only one who can truly kick america’s economic ass is probably … well .. itself.

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Written by Bruce