As artificial intelligence reshapes the global economy, economists who once argued that China’s massive population would propel it to superpower status should rethink that assumption. In fact, as the global economy reaches higher stages of development, China’s labor advantage today could become a handicap tomorrow.
.. Many economists, including many of the same experts who see China’s huge labor force as a decisive advantage, also worry that robots and artificial intelligence will eventually take away most jobs, leaving most humans to while away their time engaged in leisure activities.
Which is it? Over the next 100 years, who takes over, Chinese workers or the robots? If robots and AI are the dominant drivers of production in the coming century, perhaps having too large a population to care for – especially one that needs to be controlled through limits on Internet and information access – will turn out to be more of a hindrance for China. The rapid aging of China’s population exacerbates the challenge.
.. China’s gains still come largely from adoption of Western technology, and in some cases, appropriation of intellectual property.
.. In the economy of the twenty-first century, other factors, including rule of law, as well as access to energy, arable land, and clean water may also become increasingly important.
.. Yes, the US faces vast challenges as well. For example, it must devise a way to retain dynamic technological growth while preventing excessive concentration of wealth and power.