Nobel laureate Robert Fogel has an article in the latest Foreign Policy arguing that by 2040 China is likely to dominate the world economy— just as it did for eighteen of the last twenty centuries:
In 2040, the Chinese economy will reach $123 trillion, or nearly three times the economic output of the entire globe in 2000. China's per capita income will hit $85,000, more than double the forecast for the European Union, and also much higher than that of India and Japan. In other words, the average Chinese megacity dweller will be living twice as well as the average Frenchman when China goes from a poor country in 2000 to a superrich country in 2040. Although it will not have overtaken the United States in per capita wealth, according to my forecasts, China's share of global GDP — 40 percent — will dwarf that of the United States (14 percent) and the European Union (5 percent) 30 years from now. This is what economic hegemony will look like.
Why will it do so well? Enormous investments in education; growing productivity and development in rural areas and in the agricultural sector; the systematic underestimation by Chinese officials of its growth rate; and the relative decline of the EU as a global economic powerhouse.
I'm not sure I agree with the piece's conclusions, but it's a provocative piece and worth reading.