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China, India and Brazil are on the rise as the West stagnates

Posted: December 26, 2011 - 1:02am

Here’s a trend to watch in the coming year: the rise of new economic powers.

China, India and Brazil are in the ascendancy, as the economies of United States, Europe and Japan continue to stagnate.

China and India are the two most populous countries in the world, together having about 37 percent of the world’s population.

With 780 million workers, China has the world’s largest workforce. India is in second place, with 478 million. Both countries together have about 40 percent of the planet’s workforce.

China has the world’s second-largest economy. The question is not whether it will surpass the United States, but when. Its economy has been growing at a rate of about 10 percent a year for the last 30 years.

India’s economy has also been booming, especially over the last seven years, with annual growth rates above 7 percent.

The rise of China and India may not surprise you so much, but take a look at Brazil. It is one of the world’s top 10 economies, and it’s quickly rising up the list. Its gross domestic product grew 7.5 percent in 2010.

After paying off its debt to the International Monetary Fund in 2009, Brazil now lends money to the IMF.

Brazil has the world’s biggest government development bank, called BNDES. Its loan portfolio is larger than that of the World Bank, the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the Washington, DC-based Inter-American Development Bank combined. Brazil is a world leader in four strategic energy sectors: nuclear, hydropower, biofuels and oil. It has five of the world’s 25 largest hydro dams. It is by far the world’s largest producer of sugar cane ethanol.

The rise of China, India and Brazil represents the dawn of a new world.

The United States no longer is the global economic superpower. And we’ll all have to adjust to that.

• Ruiz-Marrero is a senior fellow of the Environmental Leadership Program, a fellow of the Oakland Institute, and a research associate of the Institute for Social Ecology.

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