En todo caso, más al alcance que las predicciones, estan las observaciones sobre las mediciones chinas:
CHINA claims that its economy is growing at 10 to 11 percent a year, and China’s official analysts say that their nation will catch up with the United States long before the 22nd century arrives. Don’t believe it.Thurow observa las cifras de uso de energía (de paso, valga también para estimar las dificultades por venir en Argentina):
First, let’s deal with the implausibility of the official Chinese statistics. Mathematically, if the overall economy were to grow 10 percent annually, and the 70 percent of the economy that is based in rural areas were not growing (as stated by the Chinese government), the economy in China’s cities would have to be growing by 33 percent a year. The urban economy is growing rapidly, but not at a 33 percent pace.
Finalmente, Thurow correlaciona ambos países en movimiento, considerando el crecimiento de población, asignando más dinamismo al crecimiento en Estados Unidos que en China.
Economic growth rates can be inferred from electricity consumption. In every country in the world, electricity use has generally grown faster than the G.D.P. Electricity is necessary for nearly all productive activities, and because of inefficiencies, consumption of electricity has generally outstripped economic growth. Rising energy costs have resulted in more efficient use of electricity, but especially in the developing world, economic growth has still generally lagged growth in electricity.
But if China’s official numbers are to be believed, there are provinces in China where the G.D.P. has been growing faster than energy use. That is unlikely, since the central government’s statistics also say that energy use per unit of G.D.P. is going up — not down, as claimed in provincial G.D.P. statistics.
Among the world’s 12 most rapidly growing economies over the last 10 years, the G.D.P. has grown only 45 percent as fast as electricity consumption. In the early 1970s, Japan was shutting down its electricity-guzzling aluminum industry. During this period, the G.D.P. grew 60 percent as fast as electricity consumption, the highest recorded level among industrialized nations.
Using those numbers as a guide, if we consider China’s actual electrical use, which is relatively easy to measure, and do a little math, we come up with this estimate: The G.D.P. in China has been growing somewhere between 4.5 percent (using the average for a rapidly growing country) to 6 percent a year (using the highest rate for Japan), not at the 10 percent rate claimed in official statistics.
Estas estimaciones, de todas maneras, toman en cuenta una línea de crecimiento más o menos lineal. Quizá estas cifras se transformarían más si la sociedad china encontrara tensiones descontroladas, algo que no resulta imposible, considerando su patrón de desarrollo: China está "oficialmente" más cerca del modelo burocrático ruso, que de un modelo occidental, y no debe dejar de verse qué pasó en Rusia el día que estalló el esquema.