Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, predicted Friday that China's economy will eventually outgrow that of the United States by at least double, and that would raise the ante among the nations' massive militaries.
“One thing that will seem rather strange is that the Chinese economy will probably be at least twice as large as that of the United States, maybe three times”. Musk said this during a focus talk with the lieutenant general of the US Air Force John Thompson at the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Florida.
“The foundation of war is the economy,” he said Musk. “If you have half the resources of the other party, then you better be really innovative. If you are not innovative, you will lose.”
The two nations are already the two largest economies in the world. The United States dominates with $21,44 trillion in nominal GDP and makes up a quarter of the world economy. China, however, is the fastest growing economy with a GDP of $14,14 trillion, according to Nasdaq.
Chinese economy, the great pull of the population
Because China's population is about four times larger than the United States, Musk said China's takeover of the economy is easier. The United States has about 330 million people: China has over 1,3 billion.
“A GDP per capita equal to half that of the United States is enough for their economy to be double that of ours”Musk said.
China's overtaking of the American economy would likely cause more tension between the two countries, which are already at odds over issues such as trade and 5G technology.
During his conversation with Thompson, Musk repeatedly emphasized the importance of innovation in the United States in order to maintain its competitive advantage.
Especially on the subject of space exploration, Musk said that the United States is at risk of falling behind.
“It wasn't a risk in the past but it's a risk now”he said. “I have no doubt that if the United States does not seek innovation, it will be second in space.”