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The World in 2060

world in 2060Unless there’s an incredible advance in healthcare, I won’t be here to see it, but some of my students might be. Here’s what the OECD report says world economic output will look like in less than 50 years:

…the combined GDP of China (27.8%) and India (18.2%) will be larger than that of the OECD – and the total output of China, India and the rest of the developing world (57.7%) will be greater than that of developed OECD and non-OECD countries (42.3%).

I don’t think that will be much of a surprise to most of my economics and global marketing students who’ve paid attention to all the GDP pie charts I’ve drawn over the last few years. But here are some things I’ll bet most people will be surprised by:

  • This is simply a reversion to what has been the historical norm. For most of the past 20 centuries, China and India have accounted for most of the world’s output. We’re not witnessing a “new world” as much as a return to the “old world” of relative output shares.
  • This will not be bad news for the more developed countries such as the US and Germany, but is more likely to be good news. The more productive one’s neighbors, the more likely one can trade with those neighbors to achieve a higher standard of living. A more productive China can mean better levels of healthcare in Germany, and a more productive India can give the US more resources for education. It’s not a zero-sum game. I, for one, am all for a bigger pie.
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