Source: Daily Reckoning, Feb 2020
Developing economies can grow at double-digit rates as they move from low-income (about $3,000 annual per capita income) to middle-income (about $10,000 annual per capita income).
The main requirements are limits on corruption, a large pool of available labor, and an attractive legal environment for foreign direct investment. Once investment is used for infrastructure and labor is mobilized, large-scale basic manufacturing can commence.
This powers growth and the accumulation of hard currency reserves from export earnings.
The difficulty begins when an economy tries to move from middle-income to high-income (about $18,000 annual per capita income). That move requires more than cheap labor and infrastructure investment. It requires applied technology to produce high-value added products.
Only Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore have made this transition, (excluding Japan after World War II, and oil-exporting nations).
This explains why China has been so focused on stealing U.S. intellectual property.
Trump has been closing that avenue. China cannot generate the needed technology through its own R&D. China is stuck in the middle-income trap and a slowdown in growth is the inevitable result.