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Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A new dawn in world economy?

A new dawn in world economy?

Review by Thomas Lee

A new dawn in world economy?
Title: Uprising
Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy?
Author: George Magnus
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons Ltd

At first glance, the title Uprising gives one the impression that the book is concerned about rebellion or revolt, or matters related to violent political conflicts involving armed resistance.

However, after reading its small-print sub-title Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy? and a quick browsing through its content, one realises that the book is actually an in-depth analysis of the contemporary global economy, in particular the influence and impact of the new emerging markets with the focus on the shift of economic power from the West to the Orient, especially China.

Its author George Magnus is a prominent investment banker and global economist, who has been acknowledged as the key analyst who had predicted the recent world financial crisis in early 2007. He is a senior economic adviser at the UBS Investment Bank in London, and had held similar posts at the Union Bank of Switzerland and SG Warnurg.

Magnus is also a popular and respected public commentator on world financial matters, contributing frequently to the Financial Times of London, the BBC, Bloomberg, the CNBC and several other prominent economic, business or financial publications. He is also author of the 2008 definitive international economic analytical book The Age of Aging: How Demographics are Changing the Global Economy and Our World. 

Hence, Uprising is not simply any ordinary run-of-the-mill book, but a major authoritative book which anyone concerned with the contemporary global economy and the direction it is moving should read and reflect deeply on. What Magnus said in his book should not be treated lightly as he is no false prophet when it comes to matters of international economic wheeling and dealing.

Magnus begins his book with an incisive narration and analysis of the world events building up from the first year of the new 21st century to the current global economic scenario. He gives a sharp observation, and penetrating and critical analysis of events in China, including the implications of a world sporting event like the August 2008 China Olympic Games, which took place sandwiched between the May 2008 Great Sichuan Earthquake which claimed nearly 70,000 lives, and the October 2008 world financial earthquake following the collapse of the US investment bank Lehman Brothers, which, as Magnus puts it, “brought the world economy to the brink of an economic Armageddon, unrivalled since the Great Depression of the 1930s”.

In his 358-page book, Magnus sets out to explain the impact and effect that the 2008 financial crisis has on the major emerging markets, and why the rich developed Western nations is going all out to challenge and curb their increasing threats, especially of China and India, in the global economic order.

A major theme of the book as Magnus puts it, is that “the West’s financial crisis sparked a major change in the structure of the world economy, and that China’s capacity to also embark on structural change voluntarily is weak, unless it is specially geared to the long-run interests of the Communist Party’s grip on power”.

This authoritative definitive book examines the two major economic powers and leading emerging markets in Asia – China and India – and several minor but significant markets in Eastern Europe, and also Turkey.
Currently, the emerging markets are headline news. And the question uppermost in the minds of political and business leaders in all these emerging markets of the world is what will happen following the 2008 world financial crisis and what does the future mean and hold for global finance, trade and commerce.

Magnus provides significant suggestions and pragmatic guidelines to resolve this global economic dilemma.

He presents a persuasive and cogent perspective on China and the other emerging markets from a post-financial crisis situation, urging those with economic potency to seriously reconsider their attitude and approach to the emerging new world economic order. A fundamental matter to critically and analytically examine is the question of what economic reforms are needed to meet the new global goals.

Magnus should most be appreciated for offering a convincing critical analysis of what the future global economy may look like – not merely for the emerging markets, but for policy-makers, businesses, financiers, investors, economists, and even ordinary citizens concerned with the economic well-being of their nation and the world.

Magnus deals with matters such as climate change, commodity prices, and world demographic trends, and gives valuable insights into the implications of these issues for the world economy.

One significant question Magnus deals with is whether the 21st century belongs to China. The Communist nation operating on enterprise capitalism for the last 30 years is now all set to regain what Magnus has pointed out in his book as its premier economic power it held from ancient times till the early part of the 19th century.

For all intent and purpose, China is set for an economic renaissance. It will soon regain its ancient mantle as a world economic power it lost when its reticent conservative bureaucracy forced it into international relation isolation while Europe moved economically forward with an industrial revolution in the 19th century.

The Uprising by the plucky economic seer Magnus is certainly essential reading for anyone who wants to understand and care about the future of the global economy.

Understanding the context, content and challenges of the world economic scenario during the first decade of this century is certainly vital for those responsible for making policies, plans and programmes to chart the direction, set the trend, and strive for vigorous economic success in their nations.

Thanks to Magnus, his book has provided the seeds for the planting, growing and harvesting of serious objective thinking, critical pragmatic evaluation, constructive practical ideas, and effective and efficient creative implementation of economic policies, plans and programmes.

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