Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance


September 23, 2011, 3:00 AM EDT
Peterson Institute for International Economics, Washington, DC
Arvind Subramanian (PIIE), Mohamed A. El-Erian (Allianz) and Martin Wolf (Financial Times)

Event Summary

Arvind Subramanian presented the findings of his latest book published by the Peterson Institute, Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance, on September 23, 2011. Mohamed El-Erian of PIMCO and Martin Wolf of the Financial Times led a discussion with Subramanian and the audience.

In his book, Subramanian adopts a historical perspective in comparing China's future rise with the past hegemonies of Great Britain and the United States. He attempts to quantify and project both economic dominance and currency dominance, arguing that China's future dominance could be more imminent, broader in scope, and much larger in magnitude than is currently imagined.

Subramanian argues that China will achieve dominance in the world economy over the next decade or two to a degree that will rival the position of the United Kingdom in the 19th century and the United States for most of the 20th century. He further predicts that the renminbi could eclipse the dollar as the premier reserve currency by the end of this decade or soon thereafter. The profound effect that all this might have on the United States and the world financial and trading systems is explored at some length. The book concludes with a series of proposals for maintaining an open global system in the face of this historical shift in economic relationships, emphasizing the need to tether China further and more sustainably in the multilateral system.

Arvind Subramanian has been a senior fellow at the Institute since 2007. He is also a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. He was previously at the International Monetary Fund, most recently as assistant director in the research department, and at the GATT in Geneva. He taught at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government (1999–2000) and the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (2008–10). Subramanian has published extensively on a wide range of economic issues and is a steady contributor to the op-ed pages of the Financial Times, Business Standard of India, and other leading newspapers.

Mohamed El-Erian is chief executive and co-chief information officer of PIMCO, the award winning author of When Markets Collide, and one of the most prominent analysts of global financial developments. Martin Wolf is the associate editor and chief economics commentator for the Financial Times, the winner of innumerable awards, and widely considered the world's preeminent economics journalist and commentator.

Event Materials

Book: Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance
Arvind Subramanian
September 2011

Presentation: Eclipse: Living in the Shadow of China's Economic Dominance [pdf]
Arvind Surbamanian
September 23, 2011

Op-ed: Coming Soon: When the Renminbi Rules the World
Arvind Subramanian
September 11, 2011

Op-ed: Countering China's Economic Dominance
Arvind Subramanian
August 24, 2011

Article: The Inevitable Superpower: Why China's Dominance Is a Sure Thing
Arvind Subramanian
August 23, 2011