Learning from China: Why the Existing Economic Model Will Fail

October 24, 2011 • Daily Email Recap

Thank to Lester Brown for this article. See: http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights18

Learning from China: Why the Existing Economic Model Will Fail
By Lester R. Brown, September 8 2011

For almost as long as I can remember we have been saying that the United States, with 5 percent of the world’s people, consumes a third or more of the earth’s resources. That was true. It is no longer true. Today China consumes more basic resources than the United States does.

Among the key commodities such as grain, meat, oil, coal, and steel, China consumes more of each than the United States except for oil, where the United States still has a wide (though narrowing) lead. China uses a quarter more grain than the United States. Its meat consumption is double that of the United States. It uses three times as much coal and four times as much steel.

These numbers reflect national consumption, but what would happen if consumption per person in China were to catch up to that of the United States? If we assume conservatively that China’s economy slows from the 11 percent annual growth of recent years to 8 percent, then in 2035 income per person in China will reach the current U.S. level.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.earth-policy.org/data_highlights/2011/highlights18


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