My son and his partner recently won silver in the Alberta Junior Open Debating provincial championship. They are both in Grade 8 and competed against Grade 9s all year. Their loss in the final was their first in two years of debating. They are on to nationals in Montreal at the end of April.
The topic in regionals and provincials this year was “Be it resolved that: This century will be China’s Century”. I judged the division below (grade 7s and 8s) my son’s for both regionals and provincials. I was particularly impressed when one team arguing against China cited a rationale against using linear projections based on recent performance and compared China with Japan.
Pettis, my favorite China watcher, recently made this comparison on his blog. He just bet the Economist Free Exchange that China would average sub 3.5% real growth for the rest of the decade.
“But of course in spite of the growing group of worriers and extreme skeptics my “barely 3%” growth prediction is still very
much an outlier. This worries me a little, of course, because one always assumes that conventional opinion must have some value, but I do remember that even the greatest skeptics about earlier investment-driven growth miracles seriously underestimated how difficult the adjustment was going to be, and that gave me some comfort.
Even after the skeptics became concerned about Brazil’s growth miracle in 1980-81, for example, no one, as far as I know, predicted negative growth for rest of the decade. And to take another example in Paul Krugman’s famous 1994 Foreign Affairs
article, “The Myth of the Asian Miracle”, he warned – against all the hype of Japan‘s being the world’s largest economy before the end of the century– that Japan’s annual growth rate was unlikely to exceed 3% for any long period of time and that even by 2047 Japan would “probably” not overtake the US.
Probably? In retrospect Krugman’s “probably” seems almost perverse given two decades of near-zero growth, but it does contain an important warning. If even the very skeptical Paul Krugman wasn’t able to come close to predicting how bad things would get, why should we assume that we are a whole lot better today at understanding how difficult the adjustment process can be?”
Being against China is an uncomfortable position to take given the China love fest that abounds. My son’s and his partner lost the provincial final arguing against China –sadness!
This is how money mangers who recently doubled down on China are going to feel.