The world is witnessing a shift in the balance of power, from the West to the East. This shift will take place over decades, and the winners will be:
- Those economies that have financial clout, such as China
- Those economies that have natural resources, whether it be energy, commodities or water, and will include countries, some in the Middle East, some across Africa, Brazil, Australia, Canada and others in temperate climates across, for instance, northern Europe
- And the third set of winners will be countries that have the ability to adapt and change. Even though we are cautious about growth prospects in the U.S. and UK in the coming years, both of these have the ability to adapt and change.
China is at the center of this shift.
The scale and pace of change in China is breathtaking. Against this backdrop of dramatic change, let me look at China’s impact on the global economy, especially in the aftermath of the financial crisis.
It is now clear that the financial crisis was a result of three key factors: an imbalanced global economy; a systematic failure of the financial system in the West; and a failure to heed the many warning signs.
The world needs to move towards a more balanced economy. But that will take years. The imbalanced nature of the world economy led some to point the finger of blame at the savers, such as China. The 1944 Bretton Woods agreement placed no obligation on savers, countries with current account surpluses. The obligation to change was put on those countries with the deficits. This has to change.