The Future of Convergence
Novelists have a better track record than economists at foretelling the future. Consider then Gary Shteyngartâ€™s timely comic novel â€œSuper Sad True Love Storyâ€ (Random House, 2010), which provides a rather graphic vision of what lies in store for the world economy. The novel takes place in the near future and is set against the backdrop of a United States that lies in economic and political ruin. The countryâ€™s bankrupt economy is ruled with a firm hand by the IMF from its new Parthenon-shaped headquarters in Singapore. China and sovereign wealth funds have parceled Americaâ€™s most desirable real estate among themselves. Poor people are designated as LNWI (â€œlow net worth individualsâ€ ) and are being pushed into ghettoes. Even skilled Americans are desperate to acquire residency status in foreign lands. This is sheer fantasy of course, but one that seems to resonate well with the collective mood. A future in which the U.S and other advanced economies are forced to play second fiddle to the dynamic emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere is rapidly becoming clichÃ©. This vision is based in part on the very rapid pace of economic growth that emerging and developing economies experienced in the run-up to the global financial crisis of 2008-2009. Latin America benefited from a pace of economic development that it had not experienced since the 1970s, and Africa began to close the gap with the advanced countries for the first time since countries in the continent received their independence. Even though most of these countries were hit badly by the crisis, their recovery has also been swift. Optimism on developing countries is matched by pessimism on the rich country front. The United States and Europe have emerged from the crisis with debilitating challenges. They need to address a crushing debt burden and its unpleasant implications for fiscal and monetary policy. They also need to replace growth models which were based in many instances on finance, real estate, and unsustainable levels of borrowing. Japan has long ceased to exhibit any growth dynamism. And the eurozoneâ€™s future remains highly uncertain -- with the economic and political ramifications of its unraveling looking nothing less than scary. In such an environment, rapid growth in the developing world is the only thing that could propel the world economy forward and generate increasing demand for rich-country goods and services â€“ the only silver lining in an otherwise dreary future. The question I address in this paper is whether this gap in performance between the developed and developing worlds can continue, and in particular, whether developing nations can sustain the rapid growth they have experienced of late. I will not have anything to say on the prospects for the advanced economies themselves, assuming, along with conventional wisdom, that their growth will remain sluggish at best. My focus is squarely on the developing and emerging countries and on the likelihood of continued convergence.
|Date of creation:||2011|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published in HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138|
Web page: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Dani Rodrik, 2007.
"Introductiion to One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth
[One Economics, Many Recipes: Globalization, Institutions, and Economic Growth]," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
- Jing Zhang & Andrei A. Levchenko, 2011.
"The Evolution of Comparative Advantage: Measurement and Welfare Implications,"
2011 Meeting Papers
302, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Levchenko, Andrei A. & Zhang, Jing, 2016. "The evolution of comparative advantage: Measurement and welfare implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 96-111.
- Andrei A. Levchenko & Jing Zhang, 2011. "The Evolution of Comparative Advantage: Measurement and Welfare Implications," NBER Working Papers 16806, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Barry Bosworth & Susan M. Collins & Arvind Virmani, 2007.
"Sources of Growth in the Indian Economy,"
NBER Working Papers
12901, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:5131504. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Office for Scholarly Communication)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.