传统基金会 中国的超级大国经济

上一篇 / 下一篇  2008-01-01 11:51:24


  尽管媒体令人喘不过气地报道说世界银行往下修正了它对中国经济规模的评估,但这些数据实际显示的是中国在制造业产出方面确实超越美国。中国作为一个工业巨人,我们需要认真地把它当作一个国际经济大国以及战略军事大国来看待。

  中国的新地位并不出人意料。几年来,中国一直引领钢铁、铜、铝、水泥和煤的生产。中国作为一个消费者,在2005年就超过日本成为全球第二大石油进口国。2006年,中国超过日本成为世界第二大汽车市场销售总额为720万辆,生产额度为730万辆。在2007年,中国还成为世界顶级的商船生产国。简言之,人们不需要世界银行的数据把戏就可以知道中国是经济超级大国。

  但世界银行修正的数据可能令人低估中国令人印象深刻的增长。大多数评论家称新的世界银行数据显示中国“缩水”。事实上,世行只是降低了中国购买力平价(PPP)的系数,PPP是经济学家用以对全球经济体进行比较切合实际的比较的乘数。

  在2006年,美国制造业生产大约2.7万亿美元的商品。中国制造业生产大约8.74万亿元人民币的商品,或者以主流的人民币对美元汇率7.77:1来算,大约是1.124万亿美元。但根据世行2005年的价格研究,中国产出的真实价值是汇率值的两倍。

  世行“国际比较计划”发表于2007年12月17日的详尽报告认为,在中国,人们只需要花3.4元人民币就可以买到相当于一美元在美国市场能买到的商品——比按官方汇率的一半还少。因此,世行降低了中国的PPP(上次的设定在20世纪80年代)——从名义汇率的约3.94倍降到名义汇率的约2.38倍。

  别惊讶,《经济学人(2007年2月1日发行)》杂志通过参考 “Big Macs”汉堡在麦当劳全球餐厅的价格,得出类似的PPP数字。一个“Big Macs”在弗吉尼亚州里士满市卖3.22美元,而在广州卖11元人民币(按汇率折合约1.41美元)。

  世行的研究不过是确认这一折价因子(deflator)可以有效推广到整个中国经济。运用2.38的PPP系数,中国价值1.124万亿美元的产出在美国市场将值2.717万亿美元——比美国2.7万亿美元的制造业产出略高。

  现在,中国的制造业已经超过美国,美国的政治领袖必须开始思考中国经济在未来五年将是什么样子的。它很可能比美国的工业大1.5倍,让中国获得聚集构建军事超级大国的材料的能力。

  中国的繁荣对美国而言不一定是坏消息。但它意味着华盛顿再也不能带着优越感,把中国视为需要美国纳税人的钱来建设能源、环境等项目的“发展中”国家。中国有足够的金钱和资源来支付这些项目。而且它还有潜力建立超级大国军事。中情局表示中国把3.8%的GDP用于武器。这才是中国经济繁荣的真正坏处。(作者 John J. Tkacik, Jr.)

英文原文:

China's Superpower Economy
WebMemo #1762

Despite breathless media reports about the World Bank revising downward its estimate for the size of China's economy,[1]what the figures really show is that China has indeed overtaken the United States in manufacturing output. As an industrial giant, China needs to be taken seriously as an international economic force and a strategic and military power. 

The World Bank's Figures

China's new status is not surprising. China has been the world's leading producer of steel, copper, aluminum, cement, and coal for several years. As a consumer, China surpassed Japan as the globe's second largest importer of petroleum in 2005. In 2006, China surpassed Japan as the world's No. 2 auto market, with total sales of 7.2 million vehicles and production of 7.3 million. In 2007, China also became the world's top producer of merchant ships.[2]In short, one needs no number-juggling from the World Bank to know that China is an economic superpower.

But the revised World Bank numbers have the effect of minimizing the impact of China's impressive growth. Most commentators claimed the new World Bank numbers showed China "shrinking."[3]In fact, the Bank merely lowered the factor for China's purchasing power parity (PPP), a multiplier used by economists to make realistic comparisons of global economies.

In 2006, America's manufacturing sector produced about $2.7 trillion in goods. China's manufacturing sector produced about 8.74 trillion yuan in goods, or about $1.124 trillion at the prevailing exchange rate of 7.77 yuan to the U.S. dollar. But the real value of China's output is more than twice the exchange-rate value, according to price studies done by the World Bank for the year 2005.

In an exhaustive study published on December 17, 2007, the World Bank's International Comparison Program (ICP)[4]determined that, in China, one only needs about 3.4 yuan to buy what would be a dollar's worth of goods on the U.S. market—far less than half of the official exchange rate. So, the World Bank lowered China's PPP—last set in the 1980s—from about 3.94 times the nominal exchange rate to about 2.38 times the nominal exchange rate.   

Not surprisingly,The Economistmagazine arrived at a similar figure for PPP simply by checking the prices of "Big Macs" at McDonald's restaurants around the world (The Economistsharpened the figure to 3.42 in its February 1, 2007 issue).[5]Sure enough, a Big Mac that cost $3.22 in Richmond, Virginia, sold for 11.00 yuan (or about $1.41) in Guangzhou. 

The World Bank study simply confirmed that this pricing deflator is valid across the entire Chinese economy. Applying the PPP factor of 2.38, China's $1.124 trillion worth of manufacturing output would be worth $2.717 trillion on the U.S. market—slightly higher than America's $2.7 trillion in manufacturing output.

Implications for the United States

Now that China's manufacturing sector has nosed past the United States, America's political leaders must begin to contemplate what China's economy will look like in another five years. It will likely be half-again bigger than America's industrial sector, giving China the capacity to assemble the building blocks of a military superpower.

China's boom is not necessarily bad news for the United States. But it means that Washington can no longer condescend to China as a "developing" nation in need of U.S. tax dollars for programs relating to energy, environment, and the like. China has ample money and resources to pay for these programs by itself. It also has the potential to build a superpower military. The Central Intelligence Agency suggests that China spends 3.8 percent of its GDP on arms. Therein lies the real downside of China's economic boom.   

John J. Tkacik, Jr., is Senior Research Fellow in China, Taiwan, and Mongolia Policy in the Asian Studies Center at The Heritage Foundation.



[1]For example, see "China's economic muscle ‘shrinks'," BBC News, December 17, 2007, athttp://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/7148695.stm.

[2]In terms of deadweight tonnage; see Jamil Anderlini and Song Jung-a, "China vies for top shipbuilding slot,"The Financial Times, September 12, 2007, atwww.ft.com/cms/s/0/ef018430-6157-11dc-bf25-0000779fd2ac,
dwp_uuid=9c33700c-4c86-11da-89df-0000779e2340.html
.
See also "China Tops Korea Again for New Ship Orders,"Chosun Ilbo,English-language Internet edition, March 20, 2007, athttp://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/
news/200703/200703200009.html
.

[3]Eduardo Porter, "Editorial Notebook–‘China Shrinks',"The New York Times, December 9, 2007,
www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/opinion/09sun4.html. See Also Keith Bradsher "A Revisionist Tale–Why a Poor China Seems Richer,"The New York Times, December 21, 2007, at
www.nytimes.com/2007/12/21/business/21yuan.html.

[4]See "The 2005 International Comparison Program—Preliminary Results," The World Bank, December 17, 2007, athttp://siteresources.worldbank.org/ICPINT/Resources/summary-tables.pdf. The China figures are athttp://siteresources.worldbank.org/ICPINT/Resources/
ICPregionalsummaries_EAP.doc
.

[5]"The Big Mac index,"The Economist, February 1, 2007, atwww.economist.com/markets/indicators/displaystory.cfm?
story_id=8649005
.


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