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.

This is what aliens would 'hear' if they flew by Earth

A Mercury-bound spacecraft's noisy flyby of our home planet.

Image source: sdecoret on Shutterstock/ESA/Big Think
Surprising Science
  • There is no sound in space, but if there was, this is what it might sound like passing by Earth.
  • A spacecraft bound for Mercury recorded data while swinging around our planet, and that data was converted into sound.
  • Yes, in space no one can hear you scream, but this is still some chill stuff.

First off, let's be clear what we mean by "hear" here. (Here, here!)

Sound, as we know it, requires air. What our ears capture is actually oscillating waves of fluctuating air pressure. Cilia, fibers in our ears, respond to these fluctuations by firing off corresponding clusters of tones at different pitches to our brains. This is what we perceive as sound.

All of which is to say, sound requires air, and space is notoriously void of that. So, in terms of human-perceivable sound, it's silent out there. Nonetheless, there can be cyclical events in space — such as oscillating values in streams of captured data — that can be mapped to pitches, and thus made audible.

BepiColombo

Image source: European Space Agency

The European Space Agency's BepiColombo spacecraft took off from Kourou, French Guyana on October 20, 2019, on its way to Mercury. To reduce its speed for the proper trajectory to Mercury, BepiColombo executed a "gravity-assist flyby," slinging itself around the Earth before leaving home. Over the course of its 34-minute flyby, its two data recorders captured five data sets that Italy's National Institute for Astrophysics (INAF) enhanced and converted into sound waves.

Into and out of Earth's shadow

In April, BepiColombo began its closest approach to Earth, ranging from 256,393 kilometers (159,315 miles) to 129,488 kilometers (80,460 miles) away. The audio above starts as BepiColombo begins to sneak into the Earth's shadow facing away from the sun.

The data was captured by BepiColombo's Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) instrument. Says Carmelo Magnafico of the ISA team, "When the spacecraft enters the shadow and the force of the Sun disappears, we can hear a slight vibration. The solar panels, previously flexed by the Sun, then find a new balance. Upon exiting the shadow, we can hear the effect again."

In addition to making for some cool sounds, the phenomenon allowed the ISA team to confirm just how sensitive their instrument is. "This is an extraordinary situation," says Carmelo. "Since we started the cruise, we have only been in direct sunshine, so we did not have the possibility to check effectively whether our instrument is measuring the variations of the force of the sunlight."

When the craft arrives at Mercury, the ISA will be tasked with studying the planets gravity.

Magentosphere melody

The second clip is derived from data captured by BepiColombo's MPO-MAG magnetometer, AKA MERMAG, as the craft traveled through Earth's magnetosphere, the area surrounding the planet that's determined by the its magnetic field.

BepiColombo eventually entered the hellish mangentosheath, the region battered by cosmic plasma from the sun before the craft passed into the relatively peaceful magentopause that marks the transition between the magnetosphere and Earth's own magnetic field.

MERMAG will map Mercury's magnetosphere, as well as the magnetic state of the planet's interior. As a secondary objective, it will assess the interaction of the solar wind, Mercury's magnetic field, and the planet, analyzing the dynamics of the magnetosphere and its interaction with Mercury.

Recording session over, BepiColombo is now slipping through space silently with its arrival at Mercury planned for 2025.

Learn the Netflix model of high-performing teams

Erin Meyer explains the keeper test and how it can make or break a team.

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  • There are numerous strategies for building and maintaining a high-performing team, but unfortunately they are not plug-and-play. What works for some companies will not necessarily work for others. Erin Meyer, co-author of No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, shares one alternative employed by one of the largest tech and media services companies in the world.
  • Instead of the 'Rank and Yank' method once used by GE, Meyer explains how Netflix managers use the 'keeper test' to determine if employees are crucial pieces of the larger team and are worth fighting to keep.
  • "An individual performance problem is a systemic problem that impacts the entire team," she says. This is a valuable lesson that could determine whether the team fails or whether an organization advances to the next level.
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Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash
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