الغفلة العظمى

شيكاغو ـ يبدو أن النمو العالمي سوف يظل مكبوحاً طيلة السنوات القليلة القادمة، حيث تناضل الدول الصناعية في محاولة لإصلاح القوائم المالية للأسر والحكومات، وتفطم الأسواق الناشئة نفسها عن الاعتماد على طلب البلدان الصناعية لمنتجاتها. ومع استمرار مرحلة الخروج من أزمة الركود الأعظم الحالية فهناك أمر واحد واضح: ألا وهو أن مصدر الطلب العالمي في المستقبل سوف يكون المليارات من المستهلكين في أفريقيا والصين والهند. ولكن الأمر سوف يستغرق بعض الوقت لتنشيط ذلك الطلب، لأن ما يُنتَج الآن في مختلف أنحاء العالم لتلبية احتياجات المستهلكين في البلدان الصناعية لا يمكن شحنه ببساطة إلى الأسواق الناشئة، وخاصة الأكثر فقراً بينها.

وإذا أردنا أن نتحدث عن المليارات من المستهلكين الجدد، بدلاً من عشرات الملايين من المستهلكين الذين يحصلون على دخول مماثلة لدخول الطبقات المتوسطة في البلدان الصناعية، فلابد وأن ندرك أن العديد من المستهلكين في الأسواق الناشئة يحصلون على دخول أقل كثيراً من أقرانهم في البلدان الصناعية، ويعيشون في ظروف مختلفة إلى حد كبير. فضلاً عن ذلك فإن احتياجاتهم مختلفة، ولقد تجاهلهم المنتجون في مختلف أنحاء العالم حتى وقت قريب.

ولكن الزمن يتغير. فالآن أصبح المنتجون يركزون بشكل متزايد على أفراد الطبقة التي وإن لم تكن في أصف هرم الدخل فإنها تضم عدد هائل من هؤلاء الأقرب إلى قاعدته.

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