Op-Ed Contributors

Moving toward multipolar world

By Yu Zhongwen (China Daily)
Updated: 2010-08-12 07:52
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The suggestion that global power is now shifting from the West to the East is at best a half-truth and therefore misleading.

The power-shift theory is basically drawn from a judgment that the next few years will see a dramatic acceleration in the shift of global economic powers eastward. But it ignores the very fact that a majority of nations in the East are largely developing and poor.

The theory has gained more ground of late as major developing countries such as China and India have been doing well in warding off the impact of the global financial crisis while most rich nations suffered from a severe economic downturn.

With a combined population of some 2.4 billion at present, China and India, the two vast countries of the East, will reclaim their positions as economic giants in this century, some Western media outlets have proclaimed.

This power-shift theory may, however, have ignored an obvious fact that the two Asian countries are only developing nations, with their per capita GDP lagging developed countries despite rapid economic strides made over the past decades thanks to their economic reform and opening-up policies.

The World Bank put China and India's per capita GDP in 2009 at $3,687 and $1,122 respectively, ranking 103 and 140 worldwide, whereas the per capita GDP of the United States amounted to $46,436 in the year.

Therefore, the significance of China's and India's soaring GDP should not be exaggerated, considering the real scenario where a large proportion of the populace in both nations is leading a relatively poor life, not to mention the huge gaps between the East and the West in technological know-how, military capability and political influence in international affairs.

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