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China Set To Surpass US In R&D Spending In 10 Years

samzenpus posted about a year and a half ago | from the deep-pockets dept.

China 233

dcblogs writes "China is on track to overtake the U.S. in spending on research and development in about 10 years, as federal R&D spending either declines or remains flat. The U.S. today maintains a large lead in spending over China, with federal and private sector investment expected to reach $424 billion next year, a 1.2% increase. By contrast, China's overall R&D spending is $220 billion next year, an increase of 11.6% over 2012, a rate similar to previous years. This finding is shared by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 'China's investment as a percentage of its GDP shows continuing, deliberate growth that, if it continues, should surpass the roughly flat United States investment within a decade,' it said in a report last month."

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233 comments

R&D Stealing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384079)

Sorry, Errata Corrige was due.

Re:R&D Stealing (1, Flamebait)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384321)

Uhh, how about both? They steal all the R&D possible, but at the same time, their economy is growing, while ours is shrinking. I clicked the link, just to ask, "This is news?" Of course China will overtake the US in genuine R&D sometime soon. We've lost what it takes to lead the world in much of anything.

Re:R&D Stealing (2)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384403)

Methinks you're fantasizing. China needs the US and the EU as much as the US and the EU needs China for cheap wares. If the the US and the EU go down and crash, China will crash even more. They've no interior market/consumption to speak of, and need to rebalance [mpettis.com] .

Re:R&D Stealing (3, Interesting)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384491)

Fantasizing, you say? Whatever. The fact is, the wealth of the world is being redistributed, and the US and EU are coming up losers. China is gaining. The real catch to all this redistribution is, the world's central banks are reaping the lion's share of the profits. For each ten dollars we lose, China gains a dollar, and the banks steal nine dollars.

But, the situation with the central banks don't affect the fact that China is ascending, while we descend.

China may be dependent on us today, but what happens in fifty years, or a hundred? We're selling off our great grandchildren's future.

Grasshopper vs Ant (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384647)

Grasshoppers always come up with new excuses to procrastinate and not do anything - it's what they live for.

They'll always be saying "So What?"
For them, it will never be time to pull up the socks, roll up the sleeves, and get to work.

That's why the Chinese are narrowing the gap, and will pull ahead.

Success comes from attitude first. With the grasshoppers, their attitude is 180 degrees in the other direction.

The main thing is to be able to recognize who's a grasshopper, so that you don't waste your time listening to them.

Re:R&D Stealing (2)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384501)

No interior market? That's actually where a lot of their growth has been and why they didn't go completely belly up when the US economy sneezed a few years ago.

Re:R&D Stealing (1)

Kartu (1490911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384547)

Something will prevent them form digging a big big hole and throwing good into it, instead of selling it at dumping price to EU/US?

Re:R&D Stealing (1)

craigminah (1885846) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384539)

Since China owns so much of the USA you could argue the R&D the American companies the Chinese own should be added to the Chinese total R&D. BTW, I'd like to buy some punctuation Pat.

Re:R&D Stealing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384719)

Since China owns so much of the USA you could argue the R&D the American companies the Chinese own should be added to the Chinese total R&D. BTW, I'd like to buy some punctuation Pat.

China own 'bout 8% of US debt. That's it.

Re:R&D Stealing (2, Insightful)

fast turtle (1118037) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384785)

and it's got absolutely nothing to do with spending. Instead the problem is with our educational system preferring to not teach our kids how to think for themselves. The continual dumbing down of America is happening each and every day in our schools when they refuse to teach Civics, Geography, Math - when so called high school grads working at McDonalds can't even count back change w/o the damn computer telling them how much of what type of change to give back. Hell I've watched the same kids getting their change and they don't even know how to count it anymore.

maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384095)

Do the math. Or look at a map. China will, at some point, overtake the US in any given metric for the same reason the US overtook England 100-150 years ago. But 10 years? There's a lot of bubble and there will be a lot of pain when it pops.

Re:maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384247)

look at a map??? china is 50000sq/km smaller than the US. What conclusions am I suppose to draw from that?

Re:maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384269)

meant sq mi not km.

Re:maybe (3, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384337)

1) A lot of that US land area is Alaska.
2) Population is more relevant to GDP as Japan can amply demonstrate.

Re:maybe (1)

gnutrino (1720394) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384353)

That you're looking at the wrong sort of map, they don't just have to show geographical features you know.

Why not? (3, Insightful)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384099)

America has become an anti intellectual society. Particularly when talking about STEM. All the pundits like to scream how we need to hire eleventy zillion teachers and then turn around and pout and scream that they're not all social workers focused on bullying, eating disorders and special needs. And if anyone so much as suggests that all the MFA's in Italian poetry pay more in tuition to offset the cost of the courses in engineering we're told we're all redneck knuckledragging philistines.

Someday, soon, a bunch of Federal grant wielding puppeteers will put on a show in Esperato about how we used to have fire but the inventor died.

Re:Why not? (5, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384227)

America has become an anti intellectual society

That much is obvious even to the densest dim-wits since the appointment of a "Christian Scientist" as the head of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

Re:Why not? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384351)

You'd judge a person based solely on their religious beliefs? Anti-intellectual indeed.

Re:Why not? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384399)

wHERE'S THE waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaambulance! cRY ME A RIVER, DOUCH BAG.

Re:Why not? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384411)

If those beliefs are anti-intellectual themselves? Hell, yes!

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384469)

Here's something "intellectual" to ponder - is the phrase "anti-intellectual" a euphemism for being religious, or vise-versa?

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Why not? (5, Informative)

Patch86 (1465427) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384465)

Just to be clear, he wasn't just saying "a scientist who is a Christian". Lamar Smith is a member of the sect called "Christian Science", which is an anti-science movement. Among other things, they believe that researching into disease is one of the main CAUSES of disease- that the way to reduce disease is to reduce the number of doctors and medical researchers in the world. They teach their members to avoid medicine and surgery at all cost, and to rely instead on the power of prayer and psychic healers to cure illness.

Lamar Smith isn't one of these by accident of birth; he wrote for the church newspaper, and is married to a "practitioner". His religious beliefs are directly related to his ability to do his job. If your job involves figuring out the national strategy for funding scientific research, and you believe that scientific researchers are the cause of all the world's ills, you may just have a small conflict of interest.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamar_S._Smith [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Science [wikipedia.org]

Re:Why not? (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384383)

At least we won't have to worry about those space aliens that are chained in the mountain, or on our bodies, or whatever those whackos believe.

Re:Why not? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384255)

Merry Christmas to you too!

Re:Why not? (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384801)

Using social science and liberal arts as your examples of anti-intellectualism shows that you are, yourself, an anti-intellectual. Have fun with that.

Focus on science and science education (4, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384111)

Sadly, the USA is not focusing on science and engineering education, except for paying lip service to the concept of STEM courses in college. There are even proposals to tie tuition payments to the popularity of courses: charge more for engineering courses and less for liberal arts (which is the opposite of the right way to influence it if you're trying to coax people into the sciences and into engineering). The idea seems to be that majors which will earn more money should have a higher tuition associated with it. China sends more scholars over here. Meanwhile we have been making it harder for the best students in the world to come here for political reasons and visa bias when it would make more sense to encourage the best of the best to come here to learn and to stay here and innovate!

Re:Focus on science and science education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384291)

"Sadly, the USA is not focusing on science and engineering education, except for paying lip service to the concept of STEM courses in college."

I think you mean "thankfully" instead of "sadly." The job market for STEM is horrible and has been for years...outside of /.'s primary audience of programmers. I couldn't tell you how many friends and coworkers have quit science because there are a hundred applicants for every job.

Re:Focus on science and science education (1)

Pleski (897251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384925)

Are you aware of a field besides medicine where that's not the case?

Re:Focus on science and science education (1)

tbid18 (2495686) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384721)

There are even proposals to tie tuition payments to the popularity of courses: charge more for engineering courses and less for liberal arts (which is the opposite of the right way to influence it if you're trying to coax people into the sciences and into engineering).

I haven't heard anything like that, and in fact it seems to be the opposite:

Down in Florida, a task force commissioned by Governor Rick Scott is putting the finishing touches on a proposal that would allow the state's public universities to start charging undergraduates different tuition rates depending on their major. Students would get discounts for studying topics thought to be in high demand among Florida employers. Those would likely include science, technology, engineering, and math (aka, the STEM fields), among others.

link [theatlantic.com] Perhaps this is true in fringe cases, but it doesn't seem to be the norm.

China (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384117)

Well, of course. China has 3x the population of the US.

  • First in steel production
  • First in auto production
  • First in electronics production
  • ...

And the interior provinces aren't even fully industrialized yet. That will change rapidly as the expressway and high speed rail networks are built out.

Re:China (5, Interesting)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384329)

Well, maybe.

Trouble is, they're building ghost cities [google.com] , they build railroads with subpar concrete [nytimes.com] (hint, since it's not explicit in the NYT article: to make proper high speed rail concete you basically need a derivative of volcanic ash, and the amount thereof produced per year is lower than the amount needed to fit the needs of China's yearly consumption, which dwarves the consumption by that of all other countries; in other words, their railway infrastructure's lifespan is roughly 10-20 years, vs 50-100 in developed countries), they need to rebalance [mpettis.com] , and so many other things can go wrong...

Re:China (1)

dbIII (701233) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384543)

I think you can get that sort of ash from fly ash as well (pozzolanic), but it's been a couple of decades since I read a decent text on concrete. Emerging technologies tend to get away with cutting corners drasticly anyway, so if you are right in ten years they'll be facing a huge bill to try to do it all again with the extra complication and expense of doing little bits at a time between trains or something.
Where's our high speed rail? I'd be very happy with something like Japan had in the 1960s, it doesn't have to be as good as what the French or Chinese have or the Japanese have now.

Re:China (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384595)

If you are right in ten years they'll be facing a huge bill to try to do it all again with the extra complication and expense of doing little bits at a time between trains or something.

Liu Zhijun got sacked precisely because these complications were already there insofar as I've been following.

Re:China (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384357)

More like 4.39x [wolframalpha.com] . But your point still stands.

Re:China (1)

Seeteufel (1736784) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384975)

Chinese territory will fragment. War within China will start. Good for business.

it only makes sense (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384123)

There no point for the US investing in R we get everything we need from China.

Better focus on what we're really good at: creative financing

Does not compute (0)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384135)

That's extremely surprising considering everything they make is crap.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384163)

You mean like the iPhone? Have to agree.

Re:Does not compute (2)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384235)

How is the iPhone crap?

Keep in mind that if it weren't for the iPhone, you'd probably still be using some piece of shit Samsung flip-phone right now.

Re:Does not compute (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384271)

I'm going to take a wild guess that Apple's US R&D designed it, China just builds it.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384289)

How is the iPhone crap?

You're better off not invoking fanboy masturbation. Ask, rather:

"How is every piece of high-end electronic equipment you own crap?"

China is like any other place. You get what you pay for. If you buy cheap Chinese shit, you get cheap Chinese shit. If you pay a premium for good Chinese merchandise, you get good Chinese merchandise.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384195)

That's extremely surprising considering everything they make is crap.

That's only because you're thinking of 'Research & Development'. In China R&D stands for 'Reverse-engineering & Duplication'.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384205)

That's extremely surprising considering everything they make is crap.

That's only because you're thinking of 'Research & Development'. In China R&D stands for 'Reverse-engineering & Duplication'.

If you put it like that, they've surpassed the US and the EU combined a very long time ago.

Re:Does not compute (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384281)

Well, that's true and it is cheaper, lol.

Re:Does not compute (2)

blanchae (965013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384223)

I remember in the 70s, that attitude was the same for "made in Japan" then Japan became one of the technological leaders in the world. China is doing things that the States can't even dream of considering its economic situation. They are making most every thing that you buy now under as name brands as most manufacturers out-source the actual assembly to China. We can start with the iPhone, pretty much every apple device, computer, stereo, television, network equipment, etc.. Keep your blinders on because you don't want to see the reality of the world where the States aren't the techno king anymore.

Re:Does not compute (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384297)

Keep your blinders on because you don't want to see the reality of the world where the States aren't the techno king anymore.
Oh bullshit, the last 10 techno remixes I listened to on Youtube were made in either the US or Europe.

Also, no, their quality standards are crap. They're like a 12 year old kid showing off or an inner city Asian person ricing out their Honda. They'll build the world's biggest _____ or fastest ______ just to say they have it but it's a hastily made, poorly designed piece of crap that doesn't function correctly. They just designed it for their own egos and to make their crappy country look better as a propaganda statement. For example, their bullet trains.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384261)

> That's extremely surprising considering everything they make is crap.

As opposed to the U.S. ... where everything that they make is imaginary (copyright, finance, etc).

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384589)

You are sadly uninformed. US manufacturing output is 21% of the world's total (a smidge over 1/5th), whereas China represents 15%.

America never stopped manufacturing goods; our factories just keep using more and more robots, automation and computer controlled devices, which means fewer workers needed to manufacture those goods. Our once good-paying jobs aren't really going overseas so much as evaporating entirely because of progress.

Re:Does not compute (2)

Funky Jester (24420) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384325)

"Give us a product at the lowest possible cost so we can maximize our profit. Damn the consumer." ...They make crap because American corporations ask them to make crap.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384875)

My sister works in a large firm, in the department that deals with the Chinese manufacturers. Apparently the process is like this. Western R&D designs the product. The design is shipped to China. The Chinese make a batch of 5 or so prototypes. The prototypes are checked. They are perfect. Management says "Cool, we'll take 500,000 units" 500,000 pieces of crap arrive. Sales goes nuts. Legal get informed, China gets called. Firm's gone out of business, but here's another firm with a low bid, that is really, completely, absolutely not the old firm with a new letterhead. Revised design gets sent off and back comes a batch of perfect prototypes...

Re:Does not compute (0)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384375)

Today, almost everything is crap. Given another decade, they'll start getting things right. People are people, after all. A Chinese who does the same job for years and years is going to get better and better at his job, just as anyone else does.

Maybe what you're missing is, the government involvement. Government in China is pushing people to invest, learn, and improve. Our own government, in contrast, encourages welfare ghetto kids to sing rap music, sell drugs, and set up elaborate con schemes.

Re:Does not compute (1)

Have Brain Will Rent (1031664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384379)

No intelligent person would accept that statement. They make very good optics (once upon a time not so but now very good) - go buy a good telescope in the USA - it is most likely made in Mainland China or Taiwan.

They make all sorts of good electronics, do circuit fab etc at very low prices.

Over the last month I ordered more than 100 different component assemblies from 100+ different suppliers for a little project of mine - so far it all works, seems well designed etc.

Bury your head in the sand if you want but if you do then hold on tight to your butt because it is going to get steamrollered.

Re:Does not compute (1)

readin (838620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384651)

No intelligent person would accept that statement. They make very good optics (once upon a time not so but now very good) - go buy a good telescope in the USA - it is most likely made in Mainland China or Taiwan

Well which country makes the optics? If Taiwan then it is irrelevent to the discussion. Although Taiwan was a colony of China in the 1800s the two countries are now very different places. You can't claim China is advanced simply because a colony 100 years ago makes good optics!

Their problems isn't research spending (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384391)

It is cheating. Basically the culture in China right now is one of do whatever you want to get ahead. Cheating, lying, all ok, expected even. So it goes on in research all the time. Straight out fabricated results and such. The problem is, as Feynman said, Nature cannot be fooled. So you can have all kinds of results that say X causes Y, but if X doesn't in fact cause Y it isn't helpful.

It is a societal thing that will need to change before they start to produce more useful research.

You get what you pay for (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384633)

A large proportion of everything that's sold in the US is made in China, from the best to the worst. They can manufacture anything, and the quality you receive depends on the amount you pay, just like for every other country and manufacturer.

If you're complaining that the vast majority of Chinese goods you see are crap then you need to look for the reason closer to home. Your typical importer is more concerned with his profit than with obtaining quality products for his customers.

And it's doing our reputation no good either. Undoubtedly they're amazed at the crap we're willing to buy.

It's not just money (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384137)

China may soon equal the US in R&D spending, but that doesn't mean they'll equal the US in R&D. There are some significant problems with Chinese academic/research culture that, unless addressed, will mean that they never get close to the bang-for-buck that the US gets.

Re:It's not just money (2)

darkHanzz (2579493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384159)

that they never get close to the bang-for-buck that the US gets.

Quite true, but what happens when China spends, say, twice as much on R&D ? They will overtake US at some point, if the current trends in both US and China continue.

Re:It's not just money (3, Interesting)

blanchae (965013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384277)

They are spending more than twice now if we compare wages. Their $200 billion gets a lot more R&D then the States $400 billion. There is such an inequality in wages in the order of 10 to 1, that I would guess that they are actually getting the equivalent of $2 Trillion in State's R&D.

Re:It's not just money (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384263)

We are going backwards, and they are going forwards... The rate does not change the end result, only the time to get there.

good.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384145)

We can steal and counterfeit their hard earned technology for once.

Just think... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384147)

Think of all the wonderful things the USA could afford to do if we weren't so busy destroying capitalism. We've got record numbers of people out of work and on government assistance and an administration who only knows how to grow Washington DC in response. We are in a death spiral because we treat our elections like another episode of American Idol. We have a blueprint of how to be free and prosperous, but nobody pays attention to it anymore.

Re:Just think... (1)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384245)

How exactly are we destroying capitalism?

Re:Just think... (1, Insightful)

readin (838620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384739)

Well there are so many ways it is hard to remember all of them. Certainly the debt is a problem. But let's go with one we all remember and that is generally given favorable press coverage: the auto company bailout. One of the key features of capitalism is that failures are destroyed to make room for success. For example, when an auto company doesn't perform it should go out of business. If unions were a large factor in pushing it to fail, the unions involved should suffer and be discredited. However, when the government steps into undermine contracts rather than enforcing them, giving money to political backers (i.e. the unions) rather than following the rule of law, and treating a company as "too big to fail", it damages capitalism (not to mention society at large).

Re:Just think... (5, Insightful)

ahabswhale (1189519) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384905)

What does debt have to do with capitalism? There is nothing about debt that precludes capitalism.

Had we let the auto companies fail, what would have been created in its place? Nothing. The expense of setting up a new car company is unbelievably expensive. All we would have gained by letting them fail was the loss of over one million jobs and the death of the American auto industry. I fail to see how that helps capitalism.

You make a point of singling out unions but fail to mention all the banks that were too big to fail and have no unions. Should we have let them fail? By your logic, we should have. But by all accounts we would have entered a full blown depression (ala 1939). Keep in mind we were losing over 700,000 per month at the time. Are you pro capitalism at the cost of a depression? I hate to tell you this but unrestricted capitalism is what caused the problem in the first place. Saving the banks (as disgusting as that feels) is what saved capitalism. The reason social programs like medicare exist is to save capitalism. Study history and you'll understand why.

What most capitalism purists fail to get is that there are no pure systems and that includes the economic system of capitalism. Do you think the stock market is a free market? Not even close. Such things just don't exist.

Re:Just think... (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384257)

"We are in a death spiral because we treat our elections like another episode of American Idol."

...and because the rest that doesn't go to elections at all treat American Idol like another round of elections.

Re:Just think... (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384279)

Get ready to be modded troll for posting a completely correct but unpopular view.

Re:Just think... (1)

readin (838620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384725)

Think of all the wonderful things the USA could afford to do if we weren't so busy destroying capitalism. We've got record numbers of people out of work and on government assistance and an administration who only knows how to grow Washington DC in response. We are in a death spiral because we treat our elections like another episode of American Idol. We have a blueprint of how to be free and prosperous, but nobody pays attention to it anymore.

The administration did spend some money on R&D. It gave the money to a company that did some R&D and was then sold, presumably along with the R&D, to China. ( http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/09/us-a123-sale-confirmation-idUSBRE8B80I420121209 [reuters.com] )

Nonsense... (1)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384161)

China will slow down [mpettis.com] or have crashed by then.

Re:Nonsense... (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384259)

Exactly. Just like how the USA slowed down after the 1929 Stock Market Crash. It's a shame they never recovered from it.

Re:Nonsense... (2)

Kergan (780543) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384343)

They eventually did, after a world war that destroyed half of the world's production capacity -- the other half being, for all intents and purposes, in the US. I dearly hope that such a scenario isn't on the table today.

Re:Nonsense... (1)

readin (838620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384685)

Even if China tops out at a per capita GDP only half of what the US has, they'll still have an overall GDP nearly twice that of the America with all the capability for spending on R&D and military that that implies.

Some people like to point out that Japan eventually slowed down, which true, but only after it had a per capita GDP that was comparable America. The top developed nations aren't that far apart when it comes to that number. You can put up great growth numbers while catching up, but once you build your factories and educate your workers it is hard to really break out from the pack. Japan, with a population roughly half that of America, caught up and found its total GDP limited. China, with a population roughly double that of America, will go a lot further in terms of total GDP if they come anywhere close to the developed world in per capita GDP.

And China has a strong sense of resentful nationalism (alarmingly similar to what Japan and Germany once had).

That is not a fair comparison... (2)

blanchae (965013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384183)

China's labor is 1/10 the cost of the USA so in comparison, China is spending 5x times as much on R&D as the US or $2 billion if we compare actual wages. China and the US are in an economic war and the US is losing. Free trade with no tariffs is causing the economic collapse and closure of manufacturing due to the unfair wage difference between China and the Western world.

Re:That is not a fair comparison... (1)

blanchae (965013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384233)

Screwed up my math, in comparison they are spending $2 TRILLION not $2 billion.

Re:That is not a fair comparison... (1)

marcroelofs (797176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384251)

We'd better start using the Renminbi as an international currency and dump the US$

Re:That is not a fair comparison... (2)

the gnat (153162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384305)

China's labor is 1/10 the cost of the USA so in comparison, China is spending 5x times as much on R&D as the US or $2 billion if we compare actual wages.

That's only true if you assume that the entire R&D budget goes towards pay wages. In some cases this may be true, but there are an awful lot of technologies required for certain fields that don't magically get cheaper in China. Biotech equipment and consumables are good examples: a lot of these simply aren't produced anywhere besides the US, Japan, and Europe, and they're incredibly expensive. My favorite example is BGI, AKA the Beijing Genomics Institute, which has probably the largest sequencing capacity of any single site worldwide - using technology created entirely in the US and UK. Those sequencers were a huge initial investment, and excluding staff costs, these machines aren't cheap to run either. This isn't the only example: the Chinese supercomputer which was briefly at the top of the Top500 list was made using NVIDIA chips.

Of course the Chinese could eventually learn to make their own technology - if past precedent holds, they'll simply copy the western designs, which is what they're now doing for supercomputers. But they're not necessarily doing that either: in BGI's case, they're trying to simply buy one of the US companies that makes sequencing equipment, and making processors based on the Alpha chip.

Re:That is not a fair comparison... (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384401)

There are other examples like advanced lithography or other machine tools.

Re:That is not a fair comparison... (1)

readin (838620) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384755)

Free trade with no tariffs is causing the economic collapse and closure of manufacturing due to the unfair wage difference between China and the Western world.

What is this "free trade" you speak of? Look into China's trade practices and you won't find much freedom. What you will find is a lot of Chinese government pressure on foreign companies both politically (try speaking out against China in America and then trying to do trade with them) and for money (build a factory with cool new technology, then lose it to the party officials' children).

Re:That is not a fair comparison... (1)

the gnat (153162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384861)

The reference to "free trade" means that China faces minimal barriers to trade with the US - i.e. exports can flow freely into the country, and there's no punishment for companies offshoring their manufacturing (or R&D, for that matter). Reciprocity isn't necessarily part of the deal.

Re:That is not a fair comparison... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384841)

Overall China's labor is a tenth the cost of US labor, but that is not the whole picture. Engineers and Scientists tend to be expensive labor, they are likely cheaper in China, but the price differential won't be nearly large. The quality of that labor is also very important. Read any of the reports of many papers in Chinese journals being faked? The US needs to watch out, but this isn't doesn't mean the US is gong to lose dominance.

Correct for economic value (1)

marcroelofs (797176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384185)

I think the 200B$ they currently spend already is worth more in local economic units than the 400B$ is in the USA.

Re:Correct for economic value (1)

blanchae (965013) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384243)

I agree, I figure it's worth about $2 Trillion in comparison.

Looper already predicted this (1)

MadMike32 (1361741) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384237)

Joe: I'm going to France. Abe: You should go to China. Joe: I'm going to France. Abe: I'm from the future. You should go to China.

Re:Looper already predicted this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384405)

Joe: I'm going to France.
Abe: You should go to China.
Joe: I'm going to France.
Abe: I'm from the future. You should go to China.

The reason for that wasn't because of any economic foresight, Looper was partially funded by the Chinese Government.

Where's Cheney these days? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384273)

Over in China buying a prime cave in anticipation of the US collapsing into anarchy?

FroSt pist (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384307)

the future of the in ratio of 5 7o I'll have offended diseases. The

They've already surpassed the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384311)

$220BN probably gets a lot more done in china than it does here so they're already ahead. But so what? Good for them.

yep (1)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384317)

more research for more machine learning techniques to prevent people from bypassing the Great Firewall...

Discriminate or Die, America! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384347)

Twenty-two years of the H1B visa has had the net effect of discouraging native-born persons having no citizenship options elsewhere from pursuing careers in STEM. STEM jobs must be made a critical national security priority. It is a compelling government interest to discriminate against persons who have or can get citizenship elsewhere.

We do not want history to come away with the beehives and anthills winning. If individual liberty perishes, the human species forfeits its right to exist.

Still have them beat on military spending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384433)

But we will still have them beat on military spending: "Hooah!"

Can't Compare (1)

hhawk (26580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384509)

Until the cost of living and the cost of labor in China is at parity with the US you can't compare $$ for $$; you also have to assume that the R&D talent (Engineers, Project Managers are equal); assuming that the talent is of a high quality.. if the talent costs less over there, than they don't have to spend the same $$$ to get the same results.

IF the talent is equal and the cost is 1/2 to 1/3 cheaper than they are probably already at parity. If the talent isn't equal than no amount of $$ can really get to parity (e.g., bad technology leadership can waste a lot of $$). If the talent is better and equal or cheaper in cost then this game is over; although there is always an other round to play for the next generation..

Re:Can't Compare (3, Interesting)

the gnat (153162) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384569)

If the talent is better and equal or cheaper in cost then this game is over

I guess the next question is "does this game actually matter?" Germany's population is about the same fraction of the US population as the US is of China, and presumably their R&D budget is much smaller than ours. But you never hear the Germans wailing about how the US has surpassed Germany in R&D spending; indeed, Germany's economy is one of the strongest in the world (especially Europe), with a large manufacturing sector and excellent technology, despite relatively high labor costs. Which doesn't mean that Germany is perfect or doesn't have problems - just that being overtaken in R&D spending doesn't automatically turn you into a third-world country.

Re:Can't Compare (2)

hhawk (26580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384623)

This maybe stereo typing but I think in general German engineering is really top quality in terms of building products to a set specification in a reliable and predictable manner. Given that they have been able to hold onto manufacturing jobs is also a plus..

Re:Can't Compare (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384809)

Given that they have been able to hold onto manufacturing jobs is also a plus..

You can't talk about German manufacturing without talking about unions.
And you can't talk about German unions without mentioning the positive and cooperative relationship that management has with them.

The USA could emulate the German model, but it'd require a seismic shift in the way private business interacts with unions.

Re:Can't Compare (1)

hhawk (26580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384833)

I know in Japan that Union management is more aligned with company management.. is it similar in Germany?

Never gona happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384687)

I have heard this pitch before (that china is going to overtake the US). First, it was the military. It was predicted that by the end of this century, China will have a larger and more agile advanced military than the US. As we both know, this never happened. Second, around 2002, it was predicted that it will take less that 10 years for china to topple the US economy, this again has not happened. The latest prediction I remember was in 2008 where they said that in 5 years china will be publishing more in science related subjects than the US, again, looking at the current research in major journals, this flies in your face as not true. I wish I could get the links for the above predictions.... I believe that for a nation to be a super power and leader, there are some basic things that have to be set at the foundational level, that I just do not see the chinese embracing soon. At the very basic level is democracy, which encourages innovative thinking. Authoritarian governance stifles innovation and hampers growth. The second interesting thing is explored in this link: http://www.kurzweilai.net/michio-kaku-explaining-americas-h1b-visa-declining-skilled-worker-population-domestically [kurzweilai.net] . More than just the VISA, I think the US has a conducive environment that encourages R&D. In a nutshell, all I say to the naysayers is: Never gona happen.

Re:Never gona happen (1)

lightknight (213164) | about a year and a half ago | (#42384769)

Hmm. The approach being taken towards free speech these days, in the States, is likely to put a damper on R&D. You simply can't have it both ways -> you can't have people designing your next generation weaponry, all while forbidding them from discussing its elements with their colleagues.

What more, our approach to Iran is somewhat whack at the moment. We're making it harder for people to come here to learn, people who (often-times) even up living here for the rest of their lives. At university, I knew of one decent chemist, an Iranian girl, who probably wouldn't be here if our borders were any tighter. And that's the point -> for every one 'terrorist' that slips through, we get ten thousand non-terrorists; just normal people, looking for a decent education and a good job; normal people who are considered the intellectual elite of their home country; if your goal was to prevent their home country from advancing as quickly down a weaponized route, then sending their best and brightest back to them (or never letting them leave to begin with) would probably have an opposite result.

Sorry, other priorities (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384761)

US has other priorities for spending now. Obamacare and all the other redistribution schemes will require all the money and there won't be any left for stuff that isn't controlled by political juice.

The continuing culture of fear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384857)

If i understand correctly... their rate will equal USA in 10 years... and maybe 20? years after that you will both have equal stockpiles?(They'll have to exceed the USA rate just to catch up).
  So this article is about China being equal to USA military in 30 years? I guess then it will be harder to invade countries with "bad intel" as the justifications?
Wow, not very scary at all.
I thought USA was home of the brave?

China? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384935)

Nobody needs China. Nobody needs Chinese products. Nobody needs chinks. Fuck the chinks.

We'll blame ourselves in the end. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42384983)

The real problem is how most countries, in their interest to grow more wealthy, is feeding the root of all evil: The Chinese government. It's not a government held in check by its people, but one that can turn quite cruel to its own to further its ambitions. If it can do that to itself, then what more to other countries? This geopolitical farce has got to end.

Its people are becoming rabidly nationalistic due to its susceptibility to propaganda. Why question the new prosperity when it is easier to lash back at foreign countries critical of their government's practices? Look at the reaction to territorial disputes with Japan and the ASEAN countries and you'll know what I mean. It's a dangerous context that's getting more dangerous the richer China gets out of everyone's money.

And that's how to curb it's power in the future. The U.S. can't do it because it's labor force is too expensive and will not give up any of it's hard-won privileges and rights. But developing countries can by matching the tradeoffs China brings to international business: cheap labor and profit taken away from the bargain than doing business with other countries. The ASEAN, for example, can form more than trade agreements and put out unified policies to make their territories akin to the EU in terms of collectiveness but also match or do better at what the Chinese offer. Everyone will see a significant portion of business be taken away from China to be fed into these, more tolerable, locations. While infrastructure will need to catch up to the level of China, it will happen as revenue comes in. If Africa can only quell it's turbulent states, the economic benefits to all surrounding areas like the EU and the Middle East would be enormous; again supplanting Chinese influence.

Countries should curb their appetite for greater trade with China to lesser trade somewhere else and develop these other places to one day catch up to doing business in China. I would go as far as to suggest that national governments control the amount of trade that goes into the coffers of the Chinese government. it needs to be done as some countries, like Japan, have China as their #1 trading partner, which we can see is dangerous as it has no qualms in cutting off trade for geopolitical reasons (see the recent territorial conflict over just 1 island).

For such Chinese that's about to react to this in a wrong way, I have no objections to the Chinese getting ahead in life, I object that the world is empowering a dubious superpower. Change the government to one that is for its people and the good of the world then there will be no objections. The U.S. is by no means such a country but better the devil you know. I know I'm rambling as I just woke up but I really feel strongly about this. The world will only have itself to blame by empowering China the way it is now. It's like pumping gasoline into a wildfire, and all for greed.

I mean come on, I know a lot of people feel the same way in that they feel a little negativity when they read so much "Made in China" on the shelves but end up buying the stuff anyway. Sheeeesh.

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