For Forbes, Joel Kotkin writes that both liberal and conservative pundits who assume the rise of China and accompanying demise of America are missing several important points, especially demographics:
It is a sign of the times that conservatives as well as liberals often underestimate the Middle Kingdom’s problems–in addition to America’s relative strengths.
Rarely mentioned in such analyses is China’s own aging problem. The population of the People’s Republic will be considerably older than the U.S.’ by 2050. It also has far more boys than girls–a rather insidious problem. Among the younger generation there are already an estimated 24 million more men of marrying age than women. This is not going to end well–except perhaps for investors in prostitution and pornography.
In the longer term demographic trends actually place the U.S. in a relatively strong position. By the end of the first half of the 21st century, the American population aged 15 to 64–essentially your economically active cohort–are projected to grow by 42%; China’s will shrink by 10%. Comparisons with other competitors are even larger, with the E.U. shrinking by 25%, Korea by 30% and Japan by a remarkable 44%.