Last year (2014), China overtook the United States in gross domestic product adjusted for purchasing power (GDP-PPP, see point 4 for explanation), according to both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (Note 1). It may come as a surprise, but this is really a matter of China simply reasserting its position as the world’s largest economy, which it had lost around 1890 to the United States. This is based on estimates developed by the late legendary economist Angus Maddison of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
President Obama’s policies of thwarting fossil fuel production are diminishing our influence on world affairs by denying the United States’ unparalleled ability to supply fossil fuels to friendly nations. Developing nations need inexpensive coal to supply cheap electricity for their deprived masses.
In our world of laptops, iPads, flat-screen TVs, microwaves, and jet-skis, it is easy to forget that 1.3 billion people on this planet, nearly one in five overall, do not have access to electricity. Even fewer people have access to clean cooking areas, as 2.6 billion people (38 percent of the world’s population) use traditional biomass—such as wood and animal dung—or coal indoors to cook their meals. As a result, indoor air pollution prematurely claims 3.5 million lives every year, more than double the lives claimed by either malaria or HIV/AIDS. These people are victims of energy poverty.
The full bill for Obama’s failed economic policies has yet to arrive. But no such explosion of debt has ever escaped a day of reckoning, and no such monetary surge has ever had a happy ending.