West must brace for Chinese, Indian dominance: Wolfensohn
Their rapid economic rise will soon fundamentally alter the balance of power, warns the former WB chief.india Updated: Nov 26, 2006 15:51 IST
Western nations must prepare for a future dominated by China and India, whose rapid economic rise will soon fundamentally alter the balance of power, former World Bank chief James Wolfensohn has warned.
Wealthy countries were failing to understand the impact of the inevitable growth of the two Asian powerhouses, Wolfensohn said in the 2006 Wallace Wurth Memorial Lecture at the University of New South Wales at the weekend.
"It's a world that is going to be in the hands of these countries which we now call developing," said Australian-born Wolfensohn, who held the top job at the global development bank for a decade until last year.
Rich nations needed to try to capitalise on the inevitable emergence of what would become the engine of the world's economic activity before it was too late, he said.
"Most people in the rich countries don't really look at what's happening in these large developing countries," said Wolfensohn, who is now chairman of Citigroup International Advisory Board and his own investment and advisory firm.
Within 25 years, the combined gross domestic products of China and India would exceed those of the Group of Seven wealthy nations, he said.
"This is not a trivial advance, this is a monumental advance."
Wolfensohn said that somewhere between 2030 and 2040, China would become the largest economy in the world, leaving the United States behind.
By 2050, China's current two trillion US dollar GDP was set to balloon to 48.6 trillion, while that of India, whose economy weighs in at under a trillion dollars, would hit 27 trillion, he said.