Asia 'to eclipse' US and Europe by 2030 - US report


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Asia will wield more global power than the US and Europe combined by 2030, a forecast from the US intelligence community has found.

Within two decades China will overtake the US as the world's largest economy, the report adds.

It also warns of slower growth and falling living standards in advanced nations with ageing populations.

Global Trends 2030, issued to coincide with Mr Obama's second term, says it aims to promote strategic thinking.

Published every four years, the report from the National Intelligence Council (NIC) aims to draw together a wide sweep of "megatrends" driving transformation in the world.

'Slow relative decline'

The NIC suggests that by 2030, Asia will have more "overall power" than the US and Europe combined - taking into account population size, gross domestic product (GDP), military spending and investment in technology.

People raise Chinese flag in Beijing, China November 2012 The National Intelligence Council says it does not believe China will become a superpower like the US

"China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before 2030," the report says.

"Meanwhile, the economies of Europe, Japan, and Russia are likely to continue their slow relative declines."

But the report says it does not anticipate that China will emerge as a superpower in the mould of the US, forging coalitions to take on international issues.

Speaking at a news briefing, Mathew Burrows, counsellor to the National Intelligence Council said: "Being the largest economic power is important... [but] it isn't necessarily the largest economic power that always is going to be the superpower."

The "megatrends" identified by the report include individual empowerment and transfer of power from the West to the global East and South.

It highlights ageing societies and a growing middle class, as well as diminishing natural resources, as key global themes.

Within the next two decades the US will achieve energy independence, and the size of urban populations around the world will rise sharply, the report says.

But, the report adds, questions about the global economy, governance, evolving methods of conflict, regional spillover, new technologies and the future role of the US could dramatically impact the global picture over the next 20 years.

The study is the fifth in a series. The last edition was published in 2008.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    As the world becomes more global we need to move away from tribal competition and realise we are all from the same All powerful nations in a global world will need to work together for the benefit of global society. If we are to move on as a race it is good for the world for advanced development to be widely spread.The west will still be powerful and a major shaper of the future

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    No surprise. The new Asian economies have built themselves up by acting as low cost manufacturies for the West and are now at the point where they can expand their own internal markets.
    The question for the West bcomes-"How can we make a living when the centre of economic activity has moved away from us?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    I personally am a big fan of Asia. I think the fear of Asia's rise is born from misunderstanding and ignorance about the continent and cultures (as shown by many of the comments here)

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    The East has learnt a lot from the mistakes of the West. China in particular is super careful with its banking systems, its tightly regulated and not treated like a fruit machine for bankers to gamble on a whim.

    Our banks collapse every 80 years or so. But nothing is done to prevent furthers collapses despite the recurring theme.

    China's not constrained by the elitist class structure we are

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Oh well.

    History shows us that nothing lasts forever, western global dominance included.

    Still its an interesting time to live in, literally the end of an era.


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