China: from omnipotent to impotent?

I've been struck in the last couple of weeks by China's apparent fall from global economic wonderkid to the latest problem child.

Neither characterisation is true in my view.

What really seems to have spooked people is the psychological turnaround from apparently omnipotent Chinese government, able to command and fix at will, to a government that's apparently largely as financially impotent as any other.

Haven't we seen this same "country on a pedestal" culture before? The one that saw Japan fall from grace in the 1990s, the US in 2000s (along in a small way with the UK) and now China?

It's astounding that China has maintained its 10% growth rate for 30 years. But like all civilisations, it hasn't got all the answers. Nor had the US or Japan. But each of these eras did have substance, just not to the extent that everyone wanted to believe.

Is there a counterbalance to the human condition of generating stardom beyond rational views of reality?

Factual information that's accessible certainly helps. Really asking diverse questions of the data rather than taking a few people's perceptions as gospel at least can produce greater variety of viewpoints and allow everyone to ask questions they have.

But achieving this requires us to step up to the mark on computable data and on human ability to know how to question it. We need truly accessible interfaces to data and our people to have instinctive, innate ability to ask the right questions to uncover its significance.

Just my two cents (or was that yuan−even jiao or fen!) on how we can move from today's quasi-quantitative world to one where the richness of a real quantitative approach shines through.