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April 5, 2002

Is China growing? Brink Lindsey wonders:
Taiwan’s GDP grew a cumulative 49.7 percent during 1967-1971; that growth was matched by an 85.2 percent increase in energy consumption, a 17 percent rise in employment, and a 20.6 climb in consumer prices. In South Korea during 1977-1981, a very similar story: GDP up 21.6 percent, energy consumption up 33.6 percent, employment up 9.4 percent, and consumer prices up 111.7 percent. Yet in China during 1997-2001, while GDP supposedly grew a total of 34.5 percent, energy consumption actually shrank by 5.5. percent, employment budged upwards only 0.8 percent, and consumer prices fell 2.3 percent.
As Lindsey points out, China’s rulers have every reason to put out fraudulent growth figures; the idea that China’s economy has been growing at a rapid clip is about the only claim to legitimacy they’ve got left. Uh oh. [07:57 PM]
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Comments on Is China growing?:

Anonymous ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2002, 09:22 AM:

A few months ago, the world fishing industry was thrown into a panic because it turned out that the Chinese fish-harvest numbers were fake and grossly inflated. This means that the world's total take has been declining by 700 million pounds annually, rather than increasing at that rate. This is stupendously bad news because it means that the fish stock management has not been anywhere nearly as aggressive as necessary to preserve the existence of the industry. aahttp://www.enn.com/news/wire-stories/2001/11/11292001/ap_45716.aspaaWhen I first read about this, I wondered if the same could be true of the GDP numbers, but discarded that thought basically because the implications were too horrible. I desperately wanted to believe (and in fact, continue to want to believe) that a billion people are leaving poverty at a compounded per-capita GDP growth rate of 7%/year. aa- neelk