Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 13:58 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 13:58 | SYDNEY

China: 55% of Australians think what?


Sam Roggeveen


3 June 2010 14:18

Mark Thirlwell yesterday added some plausibility to the superficially strange belief — shared by 55% of Australians, according to the Lowy Institute's latest poll — that China is the world's leading economic power. When you consider the bilateral trade numbers, the high profile of China's (attempted) investments in Australia, and the way China is now driving global economic growth, that belief looks more understandable, Mark said.

The Atlantic's James Fallows was among those perplexed by Australians' beliefs about China's strength, given how much bigger America's economy is in reality.

But overnight, Fallows has posted some reader correspondence which tries to talk him around. There's an Indian correspondent who points out that countries always look stronger and more cohesive when viewed from the outside. And other readers point out that the phrase 'leading economic power' is not necessarily the same as 'highest GDP'.

The Lowy Institute Poll does not define the term "economic power," but perhaps Australian participants used this definition of "power": the ability to impose your will on others. If that is the case, the poll results are not baffling at all. 

More here.