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Daniel W. Drezner

In the year 2050….. I will also experience intellectual deja vu

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Uri Dadush and Bennett Stacil have released The G20 in 2050, in which you learn the following: China will become the world’s largest economy in 2032, and grow to be 20 percent larger than the United States by 2050. Over the next forty years, nearly 60 percent of G20 economic ...

The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Uri Dadush and Bennett Stacil have released The G20 in 2050, in which you learn the following:

China will become the world’s largest economy in 2032, and grow to be 20 percent larger than the United States by 2050. Over the next forty years, nearly 60 percent of G20 economic growth will come from Brazil, China, India, Russia, and Mexico alone. However, these emerging markets will not rise among the world’s richest countries in per capita terms: their average income in 2050 will still be 40 percent below that of the G7 states today. The end of the decades-old correlation between economic size and per capita income will have profound effects on global economic governance.

Hmmm…. yes, this sounds familiar:

  

Studies by Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank on growth trends for big developing economies contains some startling predictions. By 2010, the annual growth in aggregate demand from Brazil, Russia, India, and China will be greater than the combined growth of the United States, Japan, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain. By 2020, China and India are projected to have the second and third largest economies.  By 2025, the annual growth in aggregate demand from the four leading developing economies will be twice that of the G-7.  By 2030, the combined purchasing power of China’s and India’s consumers is projected to be five times that of today’s United States.  While simple extrapolations from the recent past can be misleading, economic and demographic trends suggest that growth of India and China will shift what is currently a bipolar economic distribution of power into a more multipolar world.

As the number of actors increases, the likelihood of creating a concert of common preferences among them necessarily declines.  This holds with particular force if these countries achieve great power market size while still having low per capital incomes.  In addition to the current tension between the American and European varieties of capitalism, another source of preference divergence could emerge among the great powers:  the tension between rich countries willing to trade off economic growth for quality of life issues, and still-developing countries that are more reluctant to sacrifice growth.

The Carnegie report does have some nicer visuals, however.  Give it a look. 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and the author of Theories of International Politics and Zombies. His latest book is The Toddler in Chief. Twitter: @dandrezner

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