Regarding “Zeihan’s been predicting china’s decline for ten years”
So have I and others. Zeihan is just the best at explaining it. I predicted in 04-06 that China’s economy would correct between 10 and 14. I was wrong. But their data is terrible, the degree to which they had done to the west’s technology and economy what America did the the european economy in the late 1800’s and the Germans after World War Two difficult is to observe from afar, and perhaps most importantly, when the State as primary investor can’t fall to fear and flight like major banks, institutional and retail investors (something the west must learn), and when they had until this year an endless labor pool to price arbitrage against the world – it was very hard to get the timing right.
The Layers of Prediction:
1. Those of us who begin with Geography and Demographics in Everything, will be right over the long term – we have to be. It’s down to physics over the long term. That’s why we must teach geography, and demographics, and end our fear of discussing the genetic differences between populations. Because those genetics generate demand for culture, and for political system, and group strategy and tactics.
2. The next layer down that determines the future is strategic power – again dependent on geography demographics economy and culture. This is why we must teach military history lest we become the victims of not doing so (like now). The left sought to claim the european industrial revolution brought a bout the end of history and the utopia of universalism. It was a false promise. (And we’re seeing the consequences)
3. The next layer down is patterns of sustainable production and trade that makes that economy and culture possible. This requires a great deal of economic knowledge by industry. While you might not think so, it’s possible to develop a basic understanding of world industries, just as it is a basic understanding of all the sciences. And thanks to technology that data is readily available.
All three of these layers provide a general understanding of the world system of human behavior, and loosely predict long term trends within which we an profit from cycles of medium and shorter term opportunities.
So by studying Trends and Risk from the top down, Zeihan, others, and we, learn of strategic, governmental, and industrial opportunities and risks in the world. And the investment and entrepreneurial sectors seek opportunities within that ‘sea of continuous global change’. And domestic entrepreneurs and political entrepreneurs learn of industrial commercial and social opportunities at home. And the difference between global thinkers is their audience. Zeihan’s audience is industrial and as a consequences of interest to the general public whose opportunities s are largely the restult of industrial and trade shifts. Friedman’s audience is more likely the state, whose opportunities are strategic and political both. In the past, under American hegemony, that was a more interesting topic for the general public. But hundreds of thousands of people in the investment economy and millions in industrial economies, all study their window into those broader world trends. (And we teach our children nothing of it other than to deride it.)
But the lesson to learn is that their ‘fascist’ state-investment economy was more successful than our ‘capitalist’ (private) at both rapid expansion, and softening decline. Fascism arose to fight global communism, just as Napoleon arose to destroy the Holy Roman Empire of the greater european peoples. Because Napoleonic France, Jewish Communism, and European Fascism make possible total war by ethnic, religious, cultural, informational, economic means in addition to military means. And that’s a hard lesson in a democracy whose econommy is governed by private investors and entrepreneurs rather than history’s traditional private-public parternships, or the less visible strategy of the Americans, which until undermined, was to use the military for basic research, and let the private sector exploit it. In other words our present values of democracy and social democracy, and consumer capitalism, are privileges of the windfall of the European unification of the world in the age of sail, and the Northern Italian restoration of empiricism by Classical Reason, German printing press, the Atlantic state age of sail in response to the Muslim conquest of Byzantium, and the subsequent rapid sequence of British agrarian, commercial, financial, industrial, revolutions, the German second scientific revolution, and the American technological revolution.
But back to China. In her rapid modernization, China didn’t emulate the global communists but the nationalist fascists. Unfortunately, the fascists were right: capitalism, socialism, and communism are incapable of long term governance since all are dependent on cheap opportunity created by the european modernization of the world. As such the world returns to historical norm as Huntington predicted as a conflict (competition) of races, civilizations, core states, demographics, genetics, and geography.
The European, British, American unification of the world by trade in an effort to continue the strategy of european aristocracy: domestication of man and his matters – ‘our burden’ – has come to an end. As our attempts have historically come to an end: because our demographic and cultural resources to do so are overwhelmed by the sheer scale of the task.