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Prospects for the World Economy in 2035

May. 12,2015

What the world economy pattern will be in the next 20 years? What would happen to the rank of the world’s major economies? Which factors will be the key that affects the change of the pattern? People are full of curiosity.

The world famous economist, an economics professor of Harvard University, the former Deputy Secretary of State for economic affairs, Professor Richard Cooper wrote an article to forecast the future. The article named “Prospects for the world economy in 2035” was published in the first issue of Northeast Asia Forum, 2015.

The record of long-term forecasting is not a glorious one. However, we can say something sensible about at least the next two or three decades, since most societies have a lot of inertia, such that the near future is not radically different from the near past, or can be projected from known factors.

The paper focused on population (aging and differences in the decline of growth rate of population), economic growth, and the change of spending patterns with rising incomes. The author pointed out that the world will become richer, and at the same time, the demands of food, energy and other resources are growing. These requirements will be satisfied by the increase of supply, environmental protection and innovation, with no scarce product appears.

Over the next 20 years, due to the wide application of shale oil, the United States could achieve the real energy independence. Infectious diseases, terrorism and local war will significantly influence the development of the world; however, the world economy can withstand impact. The significance of China to the world will rise, while the importance of Europe and Japan will relatively drop. China will have replaced the USA and the European Union to become the world’s largest economy, but the European Union, presumably more political coherent then than now, will still be significant. And US economic developments will still be a dominant determinant of world economic developments.

Moreover, the author emphasized that leisure will no doubt increase with rising incomes, and indeed some allowance has been made in the growth assumptions for growing leisure, particularly in developing countries. But it is unlikely that Keyes’s 1930 forecast of a 15 hour week in Britain and other rich countries will have been achieved by then; enough new and better goods will become available to keep households around the world wanting to spend.

As the world’s leading scholar, Professor Cooper’ article is rich in content, rigorous in discussion and have a strong prospective significance. The forecasting of Chinese economic development could play a guiding role to the people engaged in economic research.

Corresponding Author: Richard Cooper
CNKI Press Officer: ZHONG Ming
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