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Is global power really shifting eastward?

08-11-2010 15:20 BJT

BEIJING, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) -- The suggestion that global power is now shifting from the West to the East is at best a half-truth and therefore misleading.

The power-shift theory is basically drawn from a judgement that the next few years will see a dramatic acceleration in the shift of global economic powers eastward. But it ignores the very fact that the majority of countries in the East are largely developing and poor countries.

The theory has gained more popularity recently as major developing countries such as China and India have been doing well in warding off the impact of the global financial crisis while most rich nations were plagued into severe economic downturn.

With a combined population of some 3 billion, China and India, the two vast countries in the East, will reclaim their positions as economic giants in this century, some Western media proclaimed.

This kind of power-shift theory, however, may have neglected an obvious fact that the two Asian countries are only developing nations with their per capita GDP lagging far behind developed countries, despite economic strides over the past decades thanks to their opening-up economic policies.

The World Bank put China and India's per capita GDP in 2009 at 3,687 and 1,122 U.S. dollars respectively, ranking 103 and 140 worldwide, whereas the per capita GDP of the United States amounted to 46,436 dollars in the year.

Therefore, the significance of China's and India's soaring GDP should not be exaggerated, considering the real scenario where a large proportion of people in the two countries are leading a relatively poor life, not to mention the huge gaps between the East and the West in technological know-how, military capability and political influence on international affairs.


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