United Kingdom, World

Turning towards the West

Over the last decade everyone has been watching the East, specifically China and India, as the two new rising superpowers of the 21st century.

However, experts inform us that the three requirements for a country to develop a powerful economy and global standing are a dynamic democratic system, a growing economy and low inflation rates. Taking this into account, neither of the Asian giants mentioned above appear to conform with these conditions.

On one hand, the rate of inflation in India is the highest in 13 years, and on the other, China’s political system has still not evolved towards democracy.  Although it is clear that the economic growth of both nations has been remarkable, the fragility of their political institutions raises concerns about its long-term sustainability. Conversely, in a gradual and less obvious way, the respective economies of South America have been transforming themselves without the burden of the Indian caste system or the Chinese political system.

One of the exponents of this new South American trend is Brazil, whose economy has grown by 7.5% in the past year. Another example is Peru, whose economic expansion rate of 9.8% has been one of the most substantial in the world.

In light of this, experts are unable to agree as to whether the next new 21st century power will arise from Asia or from the American continent.

In order to discuss these issues, Intelligence Squared has organised a symposium at the headquarters of the Royal Geographic Society in London, in which experts defending both theories will participate.

On the South American side will stand Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, author of the book “What if Latin America Ruled the World?”, Roberto Jaguaribe, the Brazilian ambassador for the UK, and Parag Khana, the director of the Global Governance Initiative.

On the opposing front, the Asian theory will be defended by Bill Emmott, former editor of The Economist, Rana Mitter, professor of the History and Politics of Modern China at Oxford University, and Gideon Rachman, the chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times.

The debate will be chaired by Jonathan Freedland, who is a writer and columnist for The Guardian.

Date and location: 22nd March, 6pm – Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, SW7 2AR, London

(Translated by Sophie Roper- Email: scroper@hotmail.co.uk)

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