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By Dambisa Moyo

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In 1978 its US dollar value GDP stood at US$150bn. By 2008 it had surged to US$4tn; an unprecedented rise in per capita income from US$155 (in 1978) to nearly US$3,000 in 2008. Had China’s population been static at this time, this would have been an impressive enough figure, but when one realizes that its population increased by 100 million people at the same time, the per capita income figures are truly stupendous. For those who have so far participated in China’s economic boom, the numbers are even better still, and although there are hundreds of millions of Chinese (many of whom are farming peasants) for whom economically things are more or less unchanged, the trend is in the right direction.

As the world becomes a true global village through convergence – the sustained rise in incomes and reduction in poverty towards Western living standards across the emerging world – something has to give. All else being equal, convergence will necessarily entail economic upward peaks (on the part of emerging economies) and downward dips (for the richer countries). In other words, even while globalization could contribute to a rising tide for all boats, it is clear that the relative quality of life will almost certainly have to decline in the West to accommodate a rise in the Rest.

So carried away were policymakers that they failed to appreciate the collateral damage that would invariably, inevitably, follow in the wake of these policies, eventually sweeping aside everything in its path. e. ’8 This seemingly innocuous statement demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the capital structure, the important differences between the role of the debt holder and the role of the equity holder, which has not only led to the 2008 financial crisis but also underscores how through faulty policymaking the West continues to misallocate its capital and why this will lead to its continual economic decline.

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