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Opinion
David Fickling

China Could Outrun the U.S. Next Year. Or Never

Extrapolating when the world’s second-biggest economy will overtake the first is a tricky business riddled with caveats.

A Chinese national flag flies as a man uses a smartphone in Shanghai, China.

A Chinese national flag flies as a man uses a smartphone in Shanghai, China.

Photographer: Bloomberg/Bloomberg

Remember when Japan was going to become the world’s biggest economy?

Don’t laugh. Herman Kahn, the Rand Corp. futurist who partly inspired the character of Dr. Strangelove, predicted as far back as 1970 that Japan’s gross domestic product would overtake the U.S. around the year 2000.