Jürgen Schmidhuber's Newsweek comments
on China's rise and the Mongolian Empire
May 29, 2004
& July 4, 2005
newsweek cover 9 may 2005


newsweek cover 4 july 2005
The letter to the right appeared in Newsweek (July 4, 2005) in response to Zakaria's commentary (May 9, 2005) on China's rise
China's Rise. Zakaria's evaluation of China's rise (Newsweek May 9 2005) may seem optimistic to some, but I feel its predictions are actually on the shy side. At the beginning of the 20-th century Europe's economy still was much larger than America's. At the end both were roughly equal, each about 30% of the world's. In the 21st century, China is set to rise even faster than the US in the 20th, starting from a lower relative output per capita and almost twice the population of Europe and America combined. Ignoring the possibility of unexpected disasters, within a few decades China will economically surpass not only all individual Western nations but the entire West. And the resulting new world order won't even be that new! Zakaria's limited history window of 400 years is too short to show that for many centuries China had the economically, technologically, and culturally most advanced society on Earth, far ahead of Europe's. Just look at Marco Polo's tales of far east wealth (in the 13th century) and fundamental Chinese inventions like paper, bookprint, gunpowder, the compass, rockets, calculation tools, etc. China's current rise is just going to re-establish its traditional role. -JS
Revisiting the Empire. Your article "American Terminator" (Issues 2004) claims that the British Empire accounted for less than 10 percent of global production (compared with 30 percent for the United States today). This may have been true in the empire's final days. But there was a time when it boasted about 75 percent of the world's industrial output. After all, the Industrial Revolution originated in Britain. As for total output, both the former United Kingdom and the present United States are little fish compared with the unmatched Mongolian Empire, which presumably included more than half of humanity, including the two most advanced economies: China and the Arab world. Empires come and go. So does hype. Who remembers that just 25 years ago Tokyo boasted the world's biggest stock market and the richest businessmen, and Japan was considered the land of the future? -JS
The somewhat related letter to the left earlier appeared in Newsweek (May 29, 2004)