China: covering the angles

The spectacular growth of the Chinese economy over the past 20–25 years is historically unprecedented in its scope and speed. While there is little sign of this process stalling or even slowing, David Rowe points out the need for caution


Many eras present major macro event risks. One famous example was the debate over whether there would be a renewed depression after World War II triggered by a sharp fall in military spending. Sewell Avery, chairman of Montgomery Ward, insisted a new downturn was inevitable and refused to borrow for expansion. His arch-rivals at Sears, Roebuck & Company took the opposite view, and they were soon running the dominant American retail chain.

In the early 1980s, many analysts could not conceive of a

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