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Jess Frampton

Has China’s power peaked?

I had a fascinating debate on this question a few months ago with political scientist Michael Beckley, who wrote a thoughtful and compelling book arguing that China’s relative rise is over and, therefore, that the United States will remain the world’s sole superpower for the foreseeable future.

This isn’t a new claim. In fact, every few years going back decades we get a new big article or book saying China’s power is peaking and its decline (or even collapse) is imminent. So far, they’ve always been wrong. But could it be true this time?

Let’s break down the strongest arguments on both sides and decide (spoiler: I say “not so fast”).

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World Bank's David Malpass on global debt & economic inequality | GZERO World with Ian Bremmer

World Bank's David Malpass on global debt & economic inequality

The world has a huge debt problem. Economic growth is slowing, but global debt is skyrocketing.

David Malpass sits down with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World for his final interview as president of the World Bank Group to discuss the debt crisis, his tenure at the World Bank, and solutions for combatting growing economic inequality.

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Podcast: Fix the global debt crisis before it's too late, warns World Bank's David Malpass

Listen: In his final interview as World Bank president, David Malpass sits down with Ian Bremmer on the GZERO World podcast to discuss all things debt. No, not your credit card or mortgage payments, but the sovereign debt that governments use to pay their bills.

Global debt has ballooned to an eye-watering $300 trillion due to decades of low interest that made borrowing money extremely cheap, followed by runaway inflation driven by the pandemic and war in Ukraine. This dynamic has forced a lot of nations––particularly the poorest––to borrow more money than it can pay back.

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Visitors attend a night market in Shanghai, China


Hard Numbers: China’s post-zero bump, diamonds for Hezbollah, Gershkovich bail bust, seafloor surprise

4.5: China’s economy grew at a 4.5% annual clip in the first quarter this year as the world’s second-largest economy dropped its “zero-Covid” restrictions and roared back to life. This beat analyst expectations but still fell short of President Xi Jinping’s 5% growth target for 2023. That rustling sound you hear is millions of Chinese bureaucrats and businesses scrambling to figure out how to close that half-point gap before December.

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Luisa Vieira

OPEC+ vs. the US

Oil prices soared Monday — and continued rising Tuesday — after a group of OPEC+ members (unexpectedly) announced that they'd slash production voluntarily by more than 1 million barrels per day. It’s the crude cartel’s response to expected sluggish demand for crude triggered by the recent financial turmoil in the US and Europe as well as China’s weak economic recovery.

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Paige Fusco

What geopolitics stories could still blow up the global economy?

Investors hate uncertainty. For now, most of them are trying to understand how central bankers, particularly at the US Federal Reserve, will calibrate changes in interest rates to slow inflation while avoiding recession.

But there are also three big geopolitical stories that will generate plenty more questions throughout 2023.

Russia’s war

After more than a year of war following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, two realities have emerged. Russia’s military isn’t strong enough to conquer Ukraine, but it is probably strong enough to prevent a complete Ukrainian victory. The war has now settled into a stalemate that continues to put upward pressure on energy prices and threaten further surges in food prices. (The current deal to allow grain exports through the Black Sea expires on March 18.)

To some extent, the consensus expectation for a war that lasts beyond 2023 will allow producers and companies to adjust their supply chains to new realities, to make alternative arrangements for diminished supplies of oil, gas, grain, and other commodities, and to find new trade partners.

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A woman passes by a giant monitor showing the "Two Sessions" in Beijing, China.

Ichiro Ohara/The Yomiuri Shimbun via Reuters Connect

Why is China’s economic growth target so meh?

Dissecting an annual GDP growth target is what economics nerds dream of. For the rest of us, it's instant melatonin.

But if that target comes from the world's most populous nation, second-largest economy, and top exporter, perhaps you should pay attention.

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The Unintended Effect Of The US-China Economic Breakup | GZERO World

The unintended effect of US-China economic breakup

The US and China are moving into creating separate economic worlds for each other. And that won't be easy because the two economies are more closely linked than many people understand.

Unlike with Russia, which the West has almost completely isolated after invading Ukraine, we can't just stop trade with China, renowned economist Dambisa Moyo tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

What's more, the US-China economic decoupling will have big implications for the developing world, where 90% of the global population lives. Moyo says that the US might lose out to China, which is fast becoming more appealing to developing nations.

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