categorized as developing nations. There are already 80 million people in China who can reasonably be characterized as middle-class.74 Globally, it is estimated that by the mid-2020’s, there will be two billion such consumers—with the number in China exceeding the total population of the United States at that time by a factor of two.75 It has been estimated that by 2030, two billion people will join the world’s middle class, with most of the addition coming from what are now considered developing countries.76 By 2020, 70 percent of China’s population is expected to have reached middle class status.


A large number of factors, mostly controlled by government, can strongly impact a nation’s ability to create jobs for its citizens in a competitive marketplace. While possessing many inherent advantages because of its democracy and free enterprise system, America also has noteworthy disadvantages—many of which are self-imposed.


A. Hodgson, China’s middle class reaches 80 million, Euromonitor, July 25, 2007.


China’s middle class population could total 700 million by 2020, People’s Daily, July 20, 2010.


D. Wilson and R. Dragusanu, The Expanding Middle: The Exploding World Middle Class and Falling Global Inequality, Goldman Sachs Global Economics Paper No. 170, July 7, 2008. Note that for Wilson and Dragusanu, those with per capita incomes in the $6,000 to $30,000 range (adjusted for purchasing power) are considered middle class.

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