What is China Rising To? Assessing China's and America's Primacy Potentials

59 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2012

See all articles by Alexander Vuving

Alexander Vuving

Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies

Date Written: March 23, 2012


What is China rising to? Are we living in an era of power transition which will eventually lead to the passing of primacy from the United States to China? This paper uses an underutilized concept of comprehensive power to assess the future of China’s rise and the prospects of Sino-U.S. competition over international primacy. It argues that despite the political will to rebalance the economy, China will continue to follow an investment-intensive growth path. However, contrary to the prevalent belief that this path will soon lead to a crash or stagnation of the Chinese economy, China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy during the 2020s. But sheer economic size is not a good indicator of power, and economic primacy is both conceptually distinct and practically distant from strategic primacy. To measure primacy potential, I introduce the concepts of high-technology wealth and international alignability as the prime resources of a state’s hard power and soft power, respectively. These proxies will be used to assess how China's economic growth will shift the Sino-US balance of full scale power in the next three decades.

Keywords: Rise of China, China, Economic Growth, United States, Power Transition, Primacy, Soft Power, Balance of Power

Suggested Citation

Vuving, Alexander, What is China Rising To? Assessing China's and America's Primacy Potentials (March 23, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2035188 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2035188

Alexander Vuving (Contact Author)

Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies ( email )

Honolulu, HI
United States

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