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Thomas A. Stewart is the Chief Marketing and Knowledge Officer (CMKO) of the global management consulting firm Booz & Company. Stewart most recently served as editor and managing director of[…]

There’s no historical precedent for this rate of growth.

Question: Is China’s growth sustainable?


Tom Stewart: Nothing known to economic history grows at 10% a year; unendingly. At a certain point you’re starting to add the law of large numbers as it’s called; as they call it; catches up with you. And the curve will flatten. What is interesting is whether the curve will flatten before or after the rising expectations of those populations.

China right now is clearly trying to skate over some thinning ice hoping that its economic growth gets it there before social unrest catches it. And there’s social unrest in a lot of places in China, and they’re working at social unrest on the one hand and environmental catastrophe on the other. So can they grow fast enough to keep the social unrest from happening from the right . . . ______ of rising expectations, and at the same time leave a landscape that is not blighted and polluted beyond sustainability? It’s a rather extraordinary to watch.

June 22, 2007