Reversion to the Mean—China as the World’s Largest Economy, Again

Sol 太阳 솔
3 min readApr 5, 2020

Here’s a quick macro-historic analysis of China’s economy as a percentage of global GDP over the last 2000 years. Data from the Madison Project (I have the Excel which is extensive country-level data, there are gaps, but more than enough to produce acceptable curves).

Note that China has been the world’s largest economy, or second largest, for thousands of years. This is the norm. During the last 180 years there’s been a blip, and now a reversion to the mean.

The obvious question, what’s this blip? America!? You’ve already heard the story about innovation, freedom, democracy, liberalism, and how this unicorn society propelled itself into the heavens all by itself. Here’s the part excluded from Western history books…

The “Century of Humiliation” (CoH) is what China calls the period from 1840 to 1949. Instead of having to pay money for desirable Chinese goods, foreign powers decided they would just take them — divide China’s piece of the pie amongst themselves (UK, US, JP, others). This was done thru “trade deals,” seizing ports, and territories (Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc).

Referencing the chart, from just prior to 1840 there is a strong inverse correlation; China’s economy is divided amongst Western Europe and the United States. This goes on for decades. But when nothing is left to steal, thieves go home. Then in 1949 the Communist Party takes over and declares an end to the CoH. Shortly thereafter, return of market share begins with China defending borders, setting new policies and catching up with the industrial revolution — which happened largely while they were trapped in white supremacist hell.

Now, starting from a macro-understanding of history, we can actually understand what’s happening today and forecast what’s coming…

  1. Lindy Effect: the time a trend has remaining, is proportionate to the time it has persisted; i.e. things that last long have underlying reasons which make them last longer still. The United States, a country which is 244 years old, tends to think of its existence as the history of the world, and all future time. From that perspective things are changing radically and scarily (for ‘Merika), but really things might just be staying the same (for the world).
  2. We can’t comment on effects without causes. Western discussion of the CCP’s policies NEVER include themselves in the narrative. China built the Great Wall, not for love of isolation, but to keep foreign barbarians out. Today defense requires keeping Western propaganda out and monitoring locally due to the West’s method of attack (divisive media, grows civil unrest, for regime change, and social engineering). China is at war, and has been for 180 years. Xi’s are wartime policies. Don’t want the policies? Don’t bring war.
  3. The CCP isn’t going to let the CoH happen again, because the public won’t tolerate it. They have no options here. When Trump starts “trade deal” talk, everyone (in China) knows it’s happening all over again. Unlike naive countries who have become vassal states, notice the CCP has guarded China’s sovereignty every step of the way. Particularly from Deng-era they have been hoping for the best, but preparing for white supremacy imperialism round #2. Now it’s here. But this time traps are set; China wrote the Art of War.
  4. Since China will NEVER again allow themselves to become enslaved, and America will NEVER accept another country’s sovereignty, nor will hegemony accept another becoming the world’s largest economy — this creates an irreconcilably conflict. That’s a dangerous situation for everyone in the world.
  5. Furthermore, no empire has ever controlled the whole world, ever. Roman, British, Nazi-attempt, American — none made it further than about 2/3, and then receded. Here too macro-historic analysis tells us something; America’s unrealistic plan of global authoritarian control almost certainly won’t work.

The problem this century — how does child America grow up and find their natural place in the world, in a way that respects other nations’ sovereignty?



Sol 太阳 솔

DIY Confucian scholarship: the Four Books 四書 (Great Learning, Analects, Mengzi, Doctrine of the Mean), and Zhu Xi studies. Pro-MSG. 聽天安命