Twofish's Blog

April 18, 2008

Climbing Mount Nebo and reading Chinese GDP figures

Filed under: china, finance, globalization, taiwan — twofish @ 8:55 am

One odd thing about globalization is that you end up with different ideas hitting each other.  Every time I read GDP projections about China, I always think about a passage from the Bible in Deuteronomy 34, which I learned when I was very small.

34:1 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho. And the Lord showed him all the land, Gilead as far as Dan 2. all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the western sea, 3 the Negeb, and the Plain, that is, the Valley of Jericho the city of palm trees, as far as Zoar. 4 And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” 5 So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord,

Even given the most optimistic growth rates, the GDP and standard of living of China is not going to reach developed world status until at least the second half of the 21st century.  With all of the talk of China’s rise, people forget these constraints which were known by Deng Xiaoping when he started all of this in 1978.

The result of this is that I can see the promised land, but I’m not going to ever live in it.  It’s interesting to be part of a massive historical drama that started long before I was born, and is going to continue long after I die.



  1. what standard of living criteria are you using? GDP per capita? Also, the incomes of people in big cities are much higher than those in rural areas, and there are big gaps between east and west. Actually I don’t the living standard of a person with good education (and thus decent income) in nowaday China is that much lower than in US.

    Comment by caoshiren — April 18, 2008 @ 1:53 pm

  2. Dude, you write good blogs, but you are way too pessimistic about your own mortality (unless you are way older than I thought you are). My plan to live in the promise land is to continue to surf everyday in the relatively clean ocean water off OC that when I retire my SoCal toughened body to Hainan in 2050, China’s environment would’ve been all cleaned up already.


    Comment by Cao Meng De — April 18, 2008 @ 9:58 pm

  3. True, but the number of people with good education that live in the cities is a small fraction of the total number of people in China.

    I’m close to 40 which means that I’ll likely be dead by 2070.

    Comment by twofish — April 19, 2008 @ 12:27 am

  4. Dude,

    Ha, as I thought! You got less than 10 yrs on me bud. Moses didn’t have the benefit of advancement in modern diet and exercise regiment. Trust me, plenty of fresh ocean air, exercise every day and eat like Okinawans will see you thru at least til 2050.

    Not sure what you criteria is. I am not waiting for every Chinese person is as rich as average Americans , that indeed could be a looooong time in making. But I am pretty sure total Chinese GDP would’ve been No. 1 then, and hopefully, I will own a healthy chunk of it by then.

    Comment by Cao Meng De — April 20, 2008 @ 4:15 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: