Where power is going and more reason for democracies to band together

The Independent has covered a PwC report on the likely biggest 32 economies by the middle of this century.

It is a familiar prediction of power slipping away from the West towards the global South and East.  As history teaches us, with economic size go political, diplomatic, military and cultural power.

The PwC prediction has China and India overtaking the USA.  Only Germany, Britain and France from Europe in the top 12.

Of the top 5: China, India, the USA, Indonesia and Brazil.  All except China are putative democracies and have functioning multi-party systems, to an extent, but all have serious human rights problems.

Predictions like this should be treated with caution.  In 1916, few people would have predicted that the biggest world economies would be the USA and Soviet Union, ahead of the Britain, France or Germany because no-one in 196 predicted seismic geo-political events like the break up of European empires and the destruction of World War Two.  We don’t know what unforeseen events between no and 2050 will change the way things are expected to go.

But the trends are clear. Countries with a commitment to democracy, human rights, freedom and the rule of law must band together to protect those values and promote them throughout the world.

With or without the European Union, the UK must promote the coming together of countries that share our values.



* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

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  • the UK must promote the coming together of countries that share our values.

    Step 1: Create and promote a vision of the UK and Europe and thus help define “the framework for its future relationship with the (European) Union” – a key part of the up coming Article 50 negotiations…

    Only when we can demonstrate that we can walk-the-talk can we expect others to give attention to our ideas.

  • Antony – I applaud you.
    At long last someone is starting to address this issue.
    Roland Step 1 – Indeed!
    Sometimes I feel I am a lone wolf on here fighting against so much confirmation bias.
    Lets see if this generates some positive ideas now.
    I sincerely hope so for the sake of the country, the union the continent and democracy

  • Eddie Sammon 22nd Feb '17 - 2:34pm

    I agree entirely. Osborne and Cameron were wrong to cosy up to China. Of course we should do business with China and support Chinese people, but their approach is horribly undemocratic and threatening to its neighbours. China is not like a benevolent monarchy because of its militarism in the South China Sea and the way it treats Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong.

    A great article on Cam and Osborne’s approach to China was this:


  • Eddie Sammon 22nd Feb '17 - 2:35pm

    PS, when I say “their approach” I strictly mean the Chinese government’s. I have no prejudices about the Chinese people.

  • Andrew Toye 22nd Feb '17 - 4:00pm

    Trump would like to deal with European countries individually so he can play them off against each other, pushing for lower regulations and lower corporation taxes, just like an exploitative employer likes to deal with individual workers rather than unions. We are being conned if we think we can get better deals with the USA (or any large economy) acting alone.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 22nd Feb '17 - 8:21pm

    Superb news about Bayrou in Franc who has joined forces with New kid on the block and the only game in town , Macron. The point of the article , joining forces, yes, where principled. This is.

  • Antony Watts 23rd Feb '17 - 9:08am

    We need to always think about the EU as a coherent block, as much as the United States are. We are tied together is a different way by our treaties, but must be seen globally as one entity because of our common laws and regulations.

    So any ranking that pits blocks like USA and large nations like China and India is wrong to rank Germany, France and UK separately. We are a single trading block as far as the ROW is concerned.

    That will change the ranking, I think!

  • @ Martin I notice you quote Jean Claude Junker with, I think it’s fair to say, approval.

    Do you approve of his statement two days ago on the cost of the Brexit Bill ““So the bill will be, to put it a bit crudely, very hefty.” It has been suggested the’bill’ could be as much as £ 50 billion.

    Even though I am a strong remain supporter I find Junker ticks all the wrong boxes and will stir up even more hostility to the EU in the UK. Do you agree he epitomises all that is wrong with the EU, and that his comments will do nothing to alleviate, in your words, “a fractured Europe retreating into xenophobia and nationalism”.

  • David Evershed 23rd Feb '17 - 11:25am

    The UK’s economic power is falling relative to other countries because productivity in this country is well below that in USA, France or Germany and has remained static for a decade.

    Productivity needs to be improved in both private companies and public services if the UK is to maintain its influence in the world.

  • Absolutely spot on with that last comment, David Evershed.

    Which is precisely why huge sums of money on 10 years of bureaucracy re-writing laws and trade deals instead of attending to the issues at hand is going to be an absolute disaster. I’m glad you agree.

  • Simon Banks 25th Feb '17 - 9:44pm

    Just one historical point. While it’s correct to say few people in 1916 (outside the Bolsheviks) would have predicted the Soviet Union would be one of the two top economies by later that century (because in 1916 there was no such thing as the Soviet Union), in the twenty or so years before the outbreak of the First World War the Russian economy and the Russian population were growing very fast. Indeed, this has been quoted as a reason why Germany was willing to risk the war (better hit them now before they get stronger). Had the war ended in 1916 or early 1917 with an allied victory, the prospects of the Russian economy would have been good. Size alone suggested it would overtake Britain and France; and a German defeat in 1916, as in 1918, would have resulted in German territorial losses and other setbacks.

  • Simon Banks 25th Feb '17 - 9:45pm

    Oh, and the USA was clearly on the up and likely to overtake smaller European powers.

  • Bill le Breton 26th Feb '17 - 10:19am

    Economic union requires political union and political union requires economic union.

    Those who wish economic union will have political union thrust upon them, like it or not.

    Those who wish political union will have it only with accompanying economic union, like it or not.

    Macron (whose election as President of France I predicted here many months ago) will force the pace on this.

    A two or even three pace Europe is inevitable. The fast pace group to political and economic union will *centre* on Holland, Germany, Austria (and France if Macron wins).

    The Liberal Democrats (evidence their commitment in the 1990s to membership of the European Monetary Union [the Euro]) have a strong preference for the UK to be part of this group and are therefore a force for political and monetary union.

    Some countries unsuited to this fast pace but whose present leadership wish to be part of that group will only be stopped by nationalist movements in those countries, movements which feed off the economic decline and cultural strain that results from monetary union.

    A way to stop this is to have a viable alternative to the fast pace group; one which has preferential terms of relationship to the fast pace group, but having also the economic freedom to float their own currencies, manage their own tax regimes, bestow citizenship and continue to evolve their culture in an environment that encourages diversity.

    The UK has a chance to create such a status and to provide an alternative for countries whose citizens decide that membership of the fast pace group with all its centralising tendencies and homogeneity is not for them.

    At this stage very few people are campaigning for this alternative, let alone developing ideas for such an alternative.

    And the Lib Dems? A Party that was so captivated by the idea of the Euro in the 1990s and 2000s is bound to be captivated in the 2010s by a fast pace towards political and economic union.

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