Let’s start with a dot in the Atlantic Ocean, maybe 900 miles from Morocco, that we can follow as it glides eastward toward Izmir, Turkey.
An Overview of Shifting Global Economic Power
According to London School of Economics Professor Danny Quah, you are looking at the world’s centers of economic gravity. A center of economic gravity is different from a “cluster” of economic activity. As Dr. Quah explained, please imagine a world with only 2 cities having economic activity. The cluster of economic activity could be found in each city. However, the center of economic gravity would be an inactive spot between the two. While there are many clusters, there is only one center.
By 2049, the center of economic gravity will have reached 92 degrees east and 30 degrees north where it would be surrounded by Urumqi, China; Kolkata, India; Dacca and Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Also looking at Asia “rising,” Hans Rosling, in one of his wonderful TED talks, speedily takes us from 1858 to 2048 in a statistical horse race.
Conveying a slightly different picture, the consulting firm McKinsey created a boomerang to show a changing economic center of gravity.
How Cities Will Fuel Global Economic Growth
McKinsey also gathered data from the world’s 600 top cities and concluded that 440 in emerging markets will fuel the world economy by investing in new buildings, water infrastructure and ports.
And, if we look even more closely at those 440 cities, we see an increasingly affluent urban consumer.
Our bottom line: Moving beyond our graphs, we need to imagine the people who are creating a shift in global income. Perhaps exacerbating inequality, a group of urban consumers in China and other emerging markets will become more affluent. These are very real people whose rising incomes are pulling the center of the global economy closer to their homes and jobs.