Back to liberal hegemony or transition away from democracy?


NEW: China will overtake the U.S. to become the world’s biggest economy in 15 years, according to Bloomberg Economics forecasts. The global economy is transitioning from West to East, and away from democracies.

Posted by Bloomberg on Wednesday, November 11, 2020


A remarkable period of stability, stretching from the end of World War II through to the early 21st century, is coming to an end, economic projections suggest.

The center of economic gravity is shifting from West to East, from advanced economies to emerging markets, from free markets to state controls and from established democracies to authoritarian and populist rulers, according to Bloomberg Economics experts Tom Orlik and Bjorn Van Roye. A growth accounting framework—adding up the contributions of labor, capital and productivity—which forecasts potential GDP through 2050 for 39 countries, shows that the transition is already upending global politics, economics and markets.

In 2000, “free” societies—shorthand for functioning democracies, as defined by Freedom House—accounted for 86% of global output, Bloomberg notes. By 2050, that share is set to shrink to about 60%. “Partly free” societies—with incomplete political rights and civil liberties—and “unfree” societies that impose draconian controls will by then account for almost 40%.

Will multilateralism again guide American policy and restore liberal hegemony? asks Josef Joffe, a fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, serves on the editorial council of the German weekly Die Zeit. “Liberal” implies a rules-based international order, the promotion of democracy, and open societies, he writes for Project Syndicate. 

If they can integrate their democracy agendas around meaningful steps, the US and UK would show their special relationship reaches beyond the practical realms of military, intelligence and counter-terrorism, argues Chatham House head Robin Niblett:

Defending democracy has long been a clarion call from the US president-elect. In his speech to Chatham House in October 2018, Biden argued that the world ‘is at an inflection point — we have to prove that our democratic model can deliver, at home and abroad — and the transatlantic community must rally together to counter the authoritarian alternative’.

Rather than launching its proposed D10, the UK would do better to use its G7 chairmanship as a prelude to the US-led Summit for Democracy which promises to be more geographically inclusive, and gives Britain the opportunity to open conversations under its G7 presidency with a more diverse list of democracies than the current D10 proposal, Niblett concludes.

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