The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

China’s entire military budget about equal to US spy spending

China’s 2010 military budget? About 78 billion.

US’s 2010 spy budget?  About 80 billion.

Both China and the US are on unsustainable trajectories, but the Chinese are betting the US hits the wall first.  I’m betting they’re right.


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  1. Tom Hickey

    So is Osama bin Laden. Remember, his declared strategy is to bankrupt the US.

    Of course, that is not actually possible for a country running a fiat currency. But people think it is and that is what counts. If the GOP is successful in the coming election, they are going to shut down the government over the next budget because of “out of control spending.” There will even be talk of defaulting when the debt ceiling is reached in Spring, 2011.

  2. Ian Welsh

    unsustainability has remarkably little to do with nominal monetary issues. The US is pouring its resources into non-productive activities, activities which actually reduce it’s real economic strength in absolute terms. The Chinese are poisoning and destroying their country while running unsustainable mercantalist policies. The US will have a Russian style collapse before the Chinese have a resource collapse and/or run to the end of the mercantalist rope.

  3. maybe we should outsource our defense establishment to China 🙂

  4. anon2525

    Both China and the US are on unsustainable trajectories, but the Chinese are betting the US hits the wall first.

    Paradoxically, the country that reaches a crisis point first could be the more fortunate. I cannot speak for the Chinese, but the U.S. has shown only that it will change course only after a crisis forces it to change (and, in the case of the current financial crisis (crime), not even then). It’s possible that the sooner a country reaches that crisis, the smaller the crisis will be. For example, if you burst a speculation/gambling/ponzi bubble early after its inception, the fewer people will have been drawn into and hurt by it. If the U.S. was forced by an exponential rise in fossil-fuel prices to transition massively away from fossil fuels, the sooner that happens, the better, both for the possible success of transitioning and for the decreased destruction of the biosphere.

  5. marku

    Interesting article by Bruce Bartlett; he is betting that the new TeaNut Pubs cause a government default early next year…..

    The Kochs are riding a tiger of unsurpassed incoherence and ignorance. They are betting they can control it.


  6. Glen

    China doesn’t need much of a military budget when you have assholes like Dave Broder proposing war with Iran to “improve” the economy.

    Broder is a fucking clueless shithead (terms I don’t use lightly). We’re already in two losing wars, if he hasn’t noticed, and it’s wrecking our economy.

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