Friday, September 9, 2011

Will China Eclipse the USA and Dominate the World?

Virmani (2005), concluded that "the (current) unipolar world will be transformed into a bipolar world during the first quarter of this century and into a tri polar one (China, USA, India) during the second quarter of the century."  This was based on construction of a simple new Index of Power Potential (VIPP), which took account of a country's size and technological competence measured succinctly by per capita GDP, and projection of the underlying economic/demographic variables.  These projections have been updated and refined in a series of subsequent papers and books(2006, 2009).*  My latest projections for VIPP indicate that China's Power Potential (or economic power) will equal that of the USA around 2025 and exceed it by 2030, while India's will attain the US level around 2045.  Does this mean that China will 'Eclipse' the USA or Dominate the World? Not necessarily, for two reasons.
   Firstly my analysis of the Cold War period, based on the same index, shows that at the peak of its power in the 1980s the USSR had about 25% of the power potential (VIPP) of the USA. Yet the World power structure was Bipolar and considered by everyone to be so.  Second overall power depends both on economic power and Strategic power (strategic technology and assets, including arms, nuclear and aero space) which have to be factored in to get an index of overall power (VIP).  Though China will eventually catch up with the USA on this front this will happen at least a decade or two after it equals the USA's economic power.  Based on these three factors, I conclude that the World's power structure is likely to  become Bipolar, with two superpowers  (USA-China) around 2025 and to become tri-plolar, with three super powers (US, China, India) around 2035-40.
    The greater uncertainty about the latter arises from a fourth ingredient in global power. The motivation of the country (its intellectuals, government, politicians), to obtain and use global power (the 'Will to Power").  Both the USA and China have this 'will' as did the USSR, and therefore the US will eventually do all in its power to maintain its strategic lead, not least by resisting by countering China's strategy of acquiring technology by every conceivable means.  On the other hand it is not clear that India has this global motivation!  If it develops the 'will' then India will become a 'super power' by 2035, if not then it may not happen till a decade later.
*See earlier blogs or

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