The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World

Book cover for The Next Convergence

The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World

Picador, 2012

With the British Industrial Revolution, part of the world’™s population started to experience extraordinary economic growth ”leading to enormous gaps in wealth and living standards between the industrialized West and the rest of the world. This pattern of divergence reversed after World War II, and now we are midway through a century of high and accelerating growth in the developing world and a new convergence with the advanced countries — ”a trend that is set to reshape the world.

Michael Spence, winner of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, explains what happened to cause this dramatic shift in the prospects of the five billion people who live in developing countries. The growth rates are extraordinary, and continuing them presents unprecedented challenges in governance, international coordination, and ecological sustainability. The implications for those living in the advanced countries are great but little understood.

Spence clearly and boldly describes what’™s at stake for all of us as he looks ahead to how the global economy will develop over the next fifty years. The Next Convergence is certain to spark a heated debate how best to move forward in the post-crisis period and reset the balance between national and international economic interests, and short-term fixes and long-term sustainability.

Selected Editorial Reviews
I always knew that Mike Spence was a terrific economist. After reading this book I realize that he also has the rare ability to see the world economy —“ all of it, rich and poor — “with clarity, reason and empathy. If you are looking for a lucid, readable, consistent, unprejudiced picture of what has been happening and what might happen next in the world economy, this is an excellent place to find it.
Robert Solow, winner of the 1987 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
œContrary to his book’™s title, Nobel Prize–“winning economist Spence does less prognosticating than one might expect. Indeed, early on he shares a chart showing just how inaccurately economists predicted growth during the 1990s. Instead, he offers a comprehensive summary of the forces at play in today’s global economy: removal of trade barriers, the lightning-fast transfer of knowledge from developed to emerging economies, global demand, resources, the role of national and international governments, and the management (or not) of currency rates, among others. Spence’s style is pretty flat (Where’s John Kenneth Galbraith when we need him?), and he seems to underestimate the looming role of climate change in any economic scenario. Yet his status report could give attentive readers a more empowered role in their own economic future.
Alan Moores, Booklist
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