Slate is touting this blog post as “The one graph that explains why America is losing power so quickly.” Well, that sounds promising. Let’s see it!
That may look scary, but notice that the big convergence occurs after 2010-2011. More importantly, look how straight the projection lines are!
And yet, the lesson of the first half of the graph is that conditions are often unpredictable. A straight line projection from 2000 would have drastically understated India and China’s growth and overstated Russia’s. Similarly, a straight line projection may under- or over-state their growth in the future.
There are signs of slowing in Chinese GDP. And frankly, China may not want that level of growth for too long.
I’m not saying that China won’t surpass American GDP. They have a billion people and a sea of capital; I’m sure they’ll do it sooner rather than later. But despite the bold straight-line predictions of the graph, such projections are almost always wrong. (See the housing bubble.)