It’s 2025 In China
Civilizations China in 2025 grows because they have an instrument of expansion, a military, religious, political, or economic organization that accumulates surplus and invests it in product innovations. Civilizations decline when they stop the application of surplus to new ways of doing things. In modern terms, we say that the rate of investment decreases.
This happens because the social groups controlling the surplus have a vested interest in using it for non-productive but ego-satisfying purposes which distribute the surpluses to consumption but do not provide more effective methods of production.–Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order.
When China in 2025 announced its intention to become a manufacturing power by 2025. Washington argued that the policy would rely on discriminatory treatment of foreign investment, forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft and cyber espionage. To show his displeasure, President Trump levied tariffs on Chinese goods and blocked Chinese acquisitions of technology firms.
But China, always an overachiever, was already closing in on its 2025 goals when they made the announcement.
The president was bluffing. China’s discriminatory treatment of foreign investment, forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft and cyber espionage have been no worse than our own–as court records reveal. The real culprit was the president’s predecessors who, starting in 1980, began reducing our investment in new ways of doing things.Today, as a share of GDP, R&D investment is down 50% from my halcyon grad school days.
The US has fallen behind China in science and technology and doesn’t know how to break the news because our media has always ignored China’s accomplishments. Here’s a backgrounder:
Today, one-fourth of the world’s STEM workers are Chinese, an intellectual workforce eight times larger, growing six times faster and graduating high school three years ahead of ours.
By 2025, China will have more technologically skilled workers than the entire OECD–the US, Canada, Mexico, Europe, Australia, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, and Turkey. By severing ties with the Chinese, we are isolating ourselves from the largest population of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in the world.
Though we are self-sufficient in most things, the US may be more dispensable than we imagine. After all, China’s most significant trade relationships are Asian nations, then Europe, with the US third. Beijing must wonder why number three just launched a trade war against number one. “America first” sounds like a great idea, except when it actually means “America alone.”
China’s 2025 plan was inspired by Germany’s earlier INDUSTRIE 4.0. It calls for the country to consolidate its manufacturing power, increase manufacturing digitalization, master core technologies and become competitive in areas like high-speed rail while improving product quality and lowering costs through innovation. At the same time, energy intensity and pollutant levels will reach those of advanced industrial countries.
Here are the technologies the plan emphasizes and their current status:
- Next-generation information technology
- China leads the world in quantum encrypted communications, 5G telecommunications, CCTV and face recognition–which the NYPD uses.
High-end numerical control tools and robotics:
- In 2016 China, now the world’s biggest robotics market, acquired cutting-edge manufacturer, Kuka and its intellectual property.
- China launched more space missions in 2018 than Russia or America and its first indigenous airliner will take to the air this year, despite FAA foot-dragging. It is the world’s leading provider of UAVs and the largest manufacturer and exporter of light combat aircraft.
Ocean engineering equipment and hi-tech ships:
- underlying China’s claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea. China is the go-to builder for ships like LNG transporters and naval vessels that require technical expertise. It designs, builds and operates the most powerful surface combatants afloat, the Type 55 Cruiser.
Advanced railway equipment:
- China leads in all aspects of railway engineering and wins the bulk of global rail contracts. Its highly innovative, medium speed maglevs have no moving parts and travel silently at 120 mph, costing no more than common commuter trains. The first of five lines is completing testing and two more will open this year.
Energy-saving and new energy vehicles:
- China leads the world in batteries and electric cars and has more than 20 manufacturers innovating to survive.
- China leads the world in basic research in renewable energy and nuclear energy and installed more renewable and nuclear power last year than the rest of the world combined. It dominates the market for long distance UHV transmission.
- China’s has made advances in producing large tractors and high-performance combines but Beijing subsidizes farmers who purchase advanced foreign equipment.
New materials like graphene and nanomaterials:
- China’s share of the most cited nanoscience papers has has grown 22% annually for ten years and overtook the US in 2014. Its contribution is now greater–in both quantity and quality–than the rest of the world’s combined. Most of the world’s graphene is made in China and most graphene startups are there, too. China is even with the US in nanomaterial development.
- Biomedicine and high-performance medical devices. In the Nature Index, China is the second leading contributor to biomedical engineering articles after the US, judged by its contribution to the authorship of papers in 82 high-quality research journals. At its current pace it will overtake the US within three years.
2035: By 2035 China’s manufacturing will reach ‘an intermediate level among world manufacturing powers,’ with greatly improved ability to make key breakthroughs and ‘significantly increase overall competitiveness.’
2049: By the PRC’s centenary in 2049 China expects to ‘lead the world’s manufacturing powers, with the capability to lead innovation and possess competitive advantages in major manufacturing areas, and will develop advanced technology and industrial systems.’
As Brzezinski stated in 1997 in The Grand Chessboard. “A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions…control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering. The Western Hemisphere and Oceania (Australia) geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. 75 Per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia and most of the world’s physical wealth is there too. Both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”
Parag Khanna. “On the one hand, Asia’s decoupling reflects the fact that America does not need the rest of the world for its survival.
In geopolitics, that is a blessed condition but in geoeconomics. It means the US is actually much more dispensible than it thinks. Indeed, China’s most significant trade relationships are first and foremost other Asians, followed by Europe, with the US third most important. From China’s standpoint, number three just launched a trade war against number one. It has taken one short generation for Asia to launch its decoupling from the US. And the coming generation will witness even more couplings among Asians themselves. “America first” sounds like a great idea, except when it actually means “America alone.”
- The Future is Asian: Commerce, Conflict, and Culture in the 21st Century ↑