The Myth of Western Decline
In recent years, China has capitalized on the G7’s diminishing share of global GDP to proclaim the superiority of its one-party system over what it perceives as “decadent” liberal democracies. But China’s own actions show that the West still commands significant influence in shaping world affairs.
LONDON – The recent G7 summit in Hiroshima culminated in an impressive show of unity over the war in Ukraine and China’s expansionism. But are analysts and commentators right to cite the group’s declining share of global GDP as evidence of its dwindling power and influence?
China, in particular, has capitalized on this trend in recent years to proclaim the superiority of its one-party system over the “decadence” of wealthy liberal democracies. Meanwhile, the G20 – which, along with the G7 countries, includes China, India, Brazil, South Africa, Indonesia, and eight other countries – has carved out a prominent role on the global stage.
But the evidence for the G7’s decline is hardly overwhelming. While the G20 countries comprise roughly two-thirds of the world’s population and account for 85% of global GDP, the G7 countries alone account for 44% of the world economy despite containing only about 10% of its population.
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