Who Glossed China? – Eamonn Fingleton

From The American Prospect:

After the economist Nicholas Lardy visited China in the mid-1980s, he came away distinctly skeptical. While Chinese leaders were gearing up for a huge export drive, Lardy predicted “a marked slowing in China’s trade expansion in the years ahead.” In particular he questioned Beijing’s reported plan to boost total Chinese trade (imports plus exports) to more than $200 billion by 2000. In a monograph published by the Asia Society in 1987, China’s Entry into the World Economy, Lardy suggested the target was implausibly high.

In the event, Chinese policy-makers far exceeded their goal. China’s exports alone in 2000 came to $249 billion and its imports came to $225 billion, making a grand total of $474 billion, more than double the ambitious target. Economists’ predictions are often wrong, of course, not least about East Asia. But Lardy’s errors are systematic. For two decades he has almost invariably undershot in predicting China’s economic trajectory. Yet, despite these mistakes, Lardy remains one of Washington’s preeminent experts on Sino-American economic relations. [Full text]

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