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Balance of World Economic Power - Changed for Good

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 6:14 am    Post subject: Balance of World Economic Power - Changed for Good Reply with quote

Balance of World Economic Power - Changed for Good

Quoted from the Economist, "a barrage of statistics shows economic power shifting away from the “developed” economies (basically North America, western Europe, Japan and Australasia) towards emerging ones, especially in Asia. Developing countries chew up over half of the world's energy and hold most of its foreign-exchange reserves. Their share of exports has jumped from 20% in 1970 to 43% today. And, although Africa still lags behind, the growth is fairly broadly spread: they may be the most talked about, yet Brazil, Russia, India and China account for only two-fifths of emerging-world output."

There are weaknesses in some of the growth stories. China's population is ageing and India's schools are rotten. Perhaps the emerging world won't continue to motor along at nearly three times the rich world's pace. Maybe it will take a little longer than 2040 to fulfil Goldman Sachs's prediction that the world's ten biggest economies, using market exchange rates, will include Brazil, Russia, Mexico, India and China. But these are arguments about when, not whether, change will happen. And things could speed up: even the rosiest predictions underestimated Asia's ability to recover from its 1997 financial crisis.

This shift is not as extraordinary as it first seems. A historical perspective shows it to be the restoration of the old order. After all, China and India were the world's biggest economies until the mid-19th century, when technology and a spirit of freedom enabled the West to leap ahead. Nor should it be regarded as frightening. The West, as well as hundreds of millions of people in developing countries, has benefited from emerging-world growth. Globalisation is not a zero-sum game: Mexicans, Koreans and Poles are not growing at the expense of Americans, Japanese and Germans. Developing countries already buy half the combined exports of America, Japan and the euro area. As they get richer they will buy more. The world is on course for its fastest-ever decade of growth in GDP per head, which has been powering ahead at an annual rate of 3.2% since 2000—far faster than during the great period of globalisation that ended with the first world war.
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