Yet more on the Japan trap

Here’s the piece I recently wrote for Bloomberg View on the risk that China falls into a Japan style, high-debt / low growth trap:

The debate over how China’s economy might evolve over the next decade generally breaks down into two opposing cases. Bulls are confident that Chinese leaders will make the hard reforms needed to clean up local government debt, reform state companies, open more markets to private-sector competition and liberalize the financial sector. This should enable China to achieve another 10-15 years of rapid growth. Bears are equally convinced that the government will fail to enact any real reforms, provoking either a drastic plunge in economic growth or an outright financial crisis.

In fact, the likeliest scenario is far less dramatic. Rather than curing its economic woes and cementing its position as an economic superpower, or suffering a devastating collapse, China looks set to spend the next decade in genteel decline, much as Japan has since the 1990s.

Read the full piece

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