The Rise Of The Rest

Piers Fawkes, PSFK
  • 15 may 2008

A Marketplace broadcast looks at the subject of economic stability and the impact of the fast rising economies of developing countries. In the broadcast, Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International, says the growth of developing economies is a major factor in our current economic crisis. We know how to handle a recession, he says, but the worldwide growth we’re now seeing isn’t something we’ve dealt with before:

Oil prices are high not because producers are choking off supply, but because consumers — in the United States, Europe, China, India — are increasing demand.

Expensive oil is one facet of the signature trend of our age — global growth. Last year 124 countries around the world grew at over 4 percent. This year, despite the American slowdown, growth in most of those countries remains robust. While we debate the current financial panic and impending recession, our future is not likely to be shaped by crisis and collapse. The real problems we will face will be the consequence of what I call the “rise of the rest” — the rest of the world that is.

Look around, it’s not just oil that is soaring. Almost every commodity is at a 200-year high. Wheat and rice prices have doubled and then kept on rising over the last two years. In some cases, demand is so high that we’re actually running out of stuff. Helium, the gas used in balloons and MRI machines is in short supply globally. And it is the second-most abundant element in the universe.

The problems of growth are, of course, high quality problems. But on this scale they are problems we have never really experienced before. We know how to handle a recession. But how do we handle the rise of the rest? That will be the real challenge of the next decade, long after this recession has turned to recovery.


[via TP]


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