An abiding belief held by many about the global economy is that the East is one gigantic Foxconn-shaped, steroid-boosted manufacturing facility, pumping out iPhones, shoes, clothing, refrigerators, air-conditioners, and defective toys that its own people could never afford. In this narrative, the only reason that measured Eastern GDP shows any kind of life is because the Western consumer steps into the breach to buy up these manufactures.
The confirming natural experiment would then be what was sure to occur post-2008, when Western imports collapsed. Here is what actually happened:
China became the single largest contributor to world economic growth, adding to the global economy 3 times what the US did. Since this chart shows GDP at market exchange rates, those who have long argued China’s RMB is undervalued must be standing up now to say that China’s real contribution is likely even larger. Sure, China undertook a massive fiscal expansion beginning November 2008. But, hey, everyone fiscal-expanded.
In number two position among the contributors to global growth is Japan. Yes, “Lost Decades” Japan helped stabilize the global economy more than did the US. Among the other top 10 contributors are the other BRIC economies, and Indonesia.
How is East Asian or emerging economy growth merely derivative when they had nothing among Western economies from which to derive?
Here’s the other interesting fact:
This chart addresses the question: How has Germany remained a successful export-oriented growing economy when its domestic demand is weak, the Eurozone is buying hardly anything these days, and German exports to the US have collapsed in the wake of the 2008 Global Financial Crisis? The chart shows that today Germany exports 30% more to developing Asia than it does to the US. And this is not just a China effect: German exports to China account for just two-thirds of exports to Developing Asia overall. Also notice how as late as 2005, German exports to the US were still double those to Developing Asia.
The East grows only because the West consumes. It’s a hypothesis.
This piece is cross-posted from Danny Quah.
3 Responses to “The East Grows Only Because the West Consumes…It’s a Hypothesis”
That Quah describes China's post-crisis stimulus package as fiscal expansion – when in reality it was 90 per cent monetary – is a good guide to the accuracy of the rest of his piece. Do they really teach this kind of guff at the London School of Economics?
[...] “The East Grows Only Because the West Consumes… It’s a Hypothesis”, EconoMonitor, 22 October 2012 [...]
90 per cent monetary?
“09 November 2008, SHANGHAI — China announced a huge economic stimulus plan on Sunday aimed at bolstering its weakening economy, a sweeping move that could also help fight the effects of the global slowdown.
At a time when major infrastructure projects are being put off around the world, China said it would spend an estimated $586 billion over the next two years — roughly 7 percent of its gross domestic product each year — to construct new railways, subways and airports and to rebuild communities devastated by an earthquake in the southwest in May.
The package, announced Sunday evening by the State Council, or cabinet, is the largest economic stimulus effort ever undertaken by the Chinese government.”
(From: David Barboza. “China unveils sweeping plan for economy”, 09 November 2008 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/10/world/asia/10ch…