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pa1394c.jpg Paul Lachine

Writing the Future

More than we know (or perhaps care to admit), the future is a matter of human choice. So, will living standards rise worldwide, as today’s poor countries leapfrog technologies to catch up with richer countries, or will greed and corruption lead us to degrade the natural environment on which human well-being depends?

ADDIS ABABA – What does the future hold for the global economy? Will living standards rise worldwide, as today’s poor countries leapfrog technologies to catch up with richer countries? Or will prosperity slip through our fingers as greed and corruption lead us to deplete vital resources and degrade the natural environment on which human well-being depends? Humanity faces no greater challenge than to ensure a world of prosperity rather than a world that lies in ruins.

Like a novel with two possible endings, ours is a story yet to be written in this new century. There is nothing inevitable about the spread – or the collapse – of prosperity. More than we know (or perhaps care to admit), the future is a matter of human choice, not mere prediction.

Despite the ongoing economic crisis in Europe and the United States, the developing world has sustained rapid economic growth. While the International Monetary Fund forecasts that the advanced economies will grow by just 1.5% in 2013, developing-country growth is projected to reach 5.6%. Asia’s developing economies, now the world’s pacesetters, are expected to grow by 7.2%, with output in Sub-Saharan Africa set to rise by a healthy 5.7%.

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