Our changing world

A new world order is sweeping global economies as up-and-coming Asian nations make their mark on capitalist markets.

The long-established Top Ten nations is due for a substantial shake-up over the coming decade according to the UK Centre for Economic and Business Research.

The United States, China and Japan enjoy such supremacy they will not lose their places. Even so, China is starting to breathe down America’s neck. Its economy is currently about 53% of the US but is tipped to grow to 83% of its size in the coming decade.

Interestingly, the European powers are slipping behind with Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy all losing momentum. The fast-trackers are Russia, Brazil and India.

Australia, which enjoys the world’s 12th largest economy despite a comparatively miniscule population of 22 million, is tipped to slide, too. Our nearest large neighbor, Indonesia, with a population of some 265 million is forecast to come from 16th to 10th by 2022.

All of which is fairly humdrum. Except for the manner in which these newly-emerging economic powerhouses will use their now-found wealth.

The established world leadership is pretty lacklustre with all the usual key players hardly creating a global utopia. The issue now becomes whether ‘new money’ will make the world any better a place to live?

It is tempting – on the basis of all available evidence – to immediately suggest: not bloody likely! But that seems just a tad too pessimistic for this time of year.

India has engineered some stunning achievements in recent decades but its populace, for the most part, remains mired in poverty and its society remains wracked by division.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim nation and will attract far more scrutiny as a consequence of that once its economy becomes a real engine of growth. How it will exercise its influence on the world stage remains very much a mystery though, generally, it has been very measured and circumspect for a long time now

Russia. Hmmm . . . cause for real concern there. Its culture seems far too comfortable with the brutal exercise of raw power. That hardly generates positive vibes. Oh, Ronald Reagan, where are you when we need you again?!!!

Brazil is harnessing its advantages with alacrity although, sadly, the environment appears to pay the highest price for this gain. Not really what the world needs right now.

And then there’s the greatest conundrum of all: China. It is shaping to be able to recreate the world in substantial measure. If it does so in its own current likeness, much of the world will not be very happy. But this giant nation is changing day-by-day, too, in direct parallel with its economic growth so who is to say what its society will look like by the time it presumably cements its position at or adjacent to the top of the table?

It may all seem quite academic based on the projections of a small UK think tank. But the timeframe is just ten years for a major shake-up of existing financial power structures. So, we are left to ponder that the world as we know it is entering a new and reasonably unheralded era of change. Individually, we are powerless to alter events. But each of us will live with the consequences.