China will overtake the U.S. as world’s top economy in 2020, says Standard Chartered Bank

The report also predicts India's economy will surpass the U.S. by 2030.

China will overtake the U.S. as world’s top economy in 2020, says Standard Chartered Bank
  • The Standard Chartered Bank, a British multinational banking and financial services company, recently issued a report to clients outlining projections about the world economy up until 2030.
  • The report predicts Asian economies will grow significantly in the next decade, taking seven of the top 10 spots on the list of the world's biggest economies by 2030.
  • However, the researchers formed their predictions by measuring purchasing power parity at GDP, which is an approach that not all economists would use in these kinds of projections.

China is poised to overtake the United States as the world's top economy as early as next year, according to a new report by the Standard Chartered Bank. Its analysts discovered this new status by surveying countries' purchasing power parity (PPP) exchange rates and nominal GDP.

The shakeup will be fueled largely by a strengthening of the middle class in Asian countries, suggests the report, which was covered by MarketWatch. "The global middle class is at a tipping point," Standard Chartered researcher Madhur Jha said in the report. "By 2020, a majority of the world population will be classified as middle class. Asia will lead the increase in middle-class populations even as middle classes stagnate in the West."

India is also estimated to overtake the U.S. economy by 2030, largely thanks to rapid urbanization.

"India will likely be the main mover, with its trend growth accelerating to 7.8 percent by the 2020s partly due to ongoing reforms, including the introduction of a national goods and services tax (GST) and the Indian Bankruptcy Code," Standard Chartered said.

The researchers wrote that Asia will see significant economic growth as the size of economic output begins to match the size of population."Our long-term growth forecasts are underpinned by one key principle: countries' share of world GDP should eventually converge with their share of the world's population, driven by the convergence of per-capita GDP between advanced and emerging economies," the report states.

Meanwhile, the researchers predicted that the economies of Europe and the U.S. will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate, and that wealth inequality will continue to worsen in the U.S.

Visual Capitalist created a graphic that illustrates the report's projections for how the world's top economies will stack up in 2030.

If the predictions come true, countries such as Canada, France, and the U.K. would be edged out of the top 10 global economies.

Not so fast: Different measurements keep the U.S. on top

It's important to note that the report forms its predictions by measuring PPP at GDP, while some economists would use market exchange rates instead of PPP (you can read about the differences in these economic approaches here).

"By [using simple market exchange rates] the U.S. is still today the world's biggest economy, with a $7 trillion lead over China," wrote Ben Chu for The Independent. "Using market exchange rates rather than PPP would also most likely change the 2030 picture. The International Monetary Fund does not forecast beyond 2023, but at this date the Fund thinks the U.S. will still be the world's largest economy at market exchange rates and that the U.K. will still have a comfortable lead over the likes of Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, Russia and the rest with little evidence of catchup."

Chu continued: "The reason why China is larger than the U.S. at PPP exchange rates is because it has a population four times larger. If one measures GDP at PPP per person a very different picture emerges, with China on $18,000 and the US on $63,000."

What's more, the most important thing to keep in mind when considering these kinds of economic predictions is probably the fact that none of these measurements necessarily gives you an accurate picture of the standards of life in a given country. So, just because a country has a bigger economy doesn't necessarily mean it has more freedom, higher wellbeing or better institutions.

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U.S. Navy ships

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CRISPR therapy cures first genetic disorder inside the body

It marks a breakthrough in using gene editing to treat diseases.

Credit: National Cancer Institute via Unsplash
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published by our sister site, Freethink.

For the first time, researchers appear to have effectively treated a genetic disorder by directly injecting a CRISPR therapy into patients' bloodstreams — overcoming one of the biggest hurdles to curing diseases with the gene editing technology.

The therapy appears to be astonishingly effective, editing nearly every cell in the liver to stop a disease-causing mutation.

The challenge: CRISPR gives us the ability to correct genetic mutations, and given that such mutations are responsible for more than 6,000 human diseases, the tech has the potential to dramatically improve human health.

One way to use CRISPR to treat diseases is to remove affected cells from a patient, edit out the mutation in the lab, and place the cells back in the body to replicate — that's how one team functionally cured people with the blood disorder sickle cell anemia, editing and then infusing bone marrow cells.

Bone marrow is a special case, though, and many mutations cause disease in organs that are harder to fix.

Another option is to insert the CRISPR system itself into the body so that it can make edits directly in the affected organs (that's only been attempted once, in an ongoing study in which people had a CRISPR therapy injected into their eyes to treat a rare vision disorder).

Injecting a CRISPR therapy right into the bloodstream has been a problem, though, because the therapy has to find the right cells to edit. An inherited mutation will be in the DNA of every cell of your body, but if it only causes disease in the liver, you don't want your therapy being used up in the pancreas or kidneys.

A new CRISPR therapy: Now, researchers from Intellia Therapeutics and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have demonstrated for the first time that a CRISPR therapy delivered into the bloodstream can travel to desired tissues to make edits.

We can overcome one of the biggest challenges with applying CRISPR clinically.

—JENNIFER DOUDNA

"This is a major milestone for patients," Jennifer Doudna, co-developer of CRISPR, who wasn't involved in the trial, told NPR.

"While these are early data, they show us that we can overcome one of the biggest challenges with applying CRISPR clinically so far, which is being able to deliver it systemically and get it to the right place," she continued.

What they did: During a phase 1 clinical trial, Intellia researchers injected a CRISPR therapy dubbed NTLA-2001 into the bloodstreams of six people with a rare, potentially fatal genetic disorder called transthyretin amyloidosis.

The livers of people with transthyretin amyloidosis produce a destructive protein, and the CRISPR therapy was designed to target the gene that makes the protein and halt its production. After just one injection of NTLA-2001, the three patients given a higher dose saw their levels of the protein drop by 80% to 96%.

A better option: The CRISPR therapy produced only mild adverse effects and did lower the protein levels, but we don't know yet if the effect will be permanent. It'll also be a few months before we know if the therapy can alleviate the symptoms of transthyretin amyloidosis.

This is a wonderful day for the future of gene-editing as a medicine.

—FYODOR URNOV

If everything goes as hoped, though, NTLA-2001 could one day offer a better treatment option for transthyretin amyloidosis than a currently approved medication, patisiran, which only reduces toxic protein levels by 81% and must be injected regularly.

Looking ahead: Even more exciting than NTLA-2001's potential impact on transthyretin amyloidosis, though, is the knowledge that we may be able to use CRISPR injections to treat other genetic disorders that are difficult to target directly, such as heart or brain diseases.

"This is a wonderful day for the future of gene-editing as a medicine," Fyodor Urnov, a UC Berkeley professor of genetics, who wasn't involved in the trial, told NPR. "We as a species are watching this remarkable new show called: our gene-edited future."

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