The Irresistible Rise of the Rest
Even as China and soon India overtake the US in terms of GDP, the West remains “blinded by pre-eminence,” as Hugh Peyman puts it, and unwilling to acknowledge its waning power. But, with 90% of the world's population, non-Western countries will no longer accept being excluded from global decision-making.
HONG KONG – Will the United States be number three in the new world order? In his forthcoming book, former journalist Hugh Peyman argues that it will: China’s economy has already surpassed that of the US by some measures, and India’s will do the same by mid-century. He also argues that “the Rest” more broadly will pose a growing challenge to the West, which in turn continues to underestimate the challengers.
Peyman is hardly the first to predict the rise of countries that are not included in the geopolitical West (a group that includes Japan). The British economist Angus Maddison knew back in 2007 that China’s GDP would soon overtake that of the US (in purchasing-power-parity terms at constant 1990 US dollar prices), with India at number three. And the OECD estimates that India will overtake the US in GDP by 2050, and that, by 2060, the combined GDP of China, India, and Indonesia will equal $116.7 trillion – 49% of GDP – making it three times larger than the US economy.
This should not be particularly surprising, not least because non-Western countries are home to far more people. As Peyman points out, China and India each have populations four times larger than the US, so their combined GDP would be twice that of the US, even with one-quarter America’s per-capita income. As he puts it, “Population numbers dictate that the West is only 10%, the Rest 90%.”
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