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The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World
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“Impressive...Spence offers deep insights with a winning, refreshing humility rarely seen in Nobel Prize-winning economists.” ―The Washington Post
“An intelligent, rational, an dhumane book about the great economic event of our era...Anyone seeking a commonsense guide to the transformation underway need look no further.” ―Financial Times (London)
“Cogent, comprehensive, and compelling...Especially trenchant and timely.” ―The Huffington Post
“Rarely does one find a book that is so powerful in its analysis, timely in its topic, relevant in its thinking, and clear in its exposition.... This is by far the best book I have seen on today's historical growth transformation.” ―Mohamed A. El-Erian, author of When Markets Collide
“Fascinating...Having Spence as a brilliant guide, intimate with both the research and policy frontiers, is a perfect way to get up to speed.... Engaging, intellectual treatments like this one will surely make progress easier.” ―Science
About the Author
Michael Spence is a Professor of Economics at the Stern School of Business at New York University, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, and was the chairman of the independent Commission on Growth and Development. Winner of the Nobel 2001 Prize in Economic Sciences, he lives in California and Italy.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The book reads like several magazine articles regarding the current state of the world and how they might impact the future.
What this book lacks are the 3-5 key conclusions. The author seems to stay away from making his conclusions like a plague. Hence, the book reads like someone pontificating endlessly.
1)Brings many of the topics happening around the world up-to-date for readers who are unfamiliar with the current events.
1)What is the point? The author refuses to reach any concrete conclusions.
2)The book's title is far loftier than what it delivers, which isn't much.
3)Since I read a lot and definitely keeps up with the current world events, I thought this book was waste of my money and time.
The reading of this book is a humbling experience. The reader is immediately hit by the vast intellectual expanse of the topic and the Author's Nobel winning theoretical brilliance combined with his "hands-on" practical-analytical, integrative, and simplifying capabilities keeping the argumentation both rigorous and free from the rather unnecessary technical jargon.
Prof. Spence argues that the formerly huge asymmetries between advanced and developing countries are declining and the pattern for the first time in some 250 years is that of convergence rather than the usual divergence. Part one of the book deals with the shifting characteristics of the postwar global economy, part two is devoted to sustained economic growth theory and practices, part three analyzes the development impact of the Great Recession that started in 2008, and part four analyzes the future trends and sustainability of economic growth. Throughout the book, the leading leitmotiv is the issues of economic governance and leadership in this new era of convergence.
Economic growth dynamics is sometimes subject to hitherto rather unexplained statistical laws. For example, the so called 72 rule used by statisticians of growth says that the time it takes in years to double the economy in size is equal to 72 divided by the specific annual growth rate. So at 1% (e.g. EU) growth rate, economy (or income) doubles in 72 years; at China's usual 10% growth rate, economy doubles in roughly 7 years. This gives the reader a measure of the great power of the new convergence processes as well as a measure of the opportunity cost of development retardation due to wars, totalitarianism, political turmoil, endemic corruption or natural factors. Many developing countries, especially small and/or landlocked ones, spend long periods of time languishing in a low growth mode due to these factors. This "low equilibrium", that is not unlike a gravitation pull, must be broken by a decisive leadership and then shifted to a new sustainable pattern. Somewhat different challenges await countries that have already largely achieved a middle-income plateau.
Prof. Spence argues that we are now midway through a century of high growth in the developing world and a convergence with the advanced countries; this is the main trend that will change the world beyond recognition. He explains what happened to cause this dramatic shift in the prospects of the 5 billion or so people who live in developing countries, his discussions of human capital, knowledge transfer, and governance in the developmental catch-up processes are revealing. These newcomer countries have already become an increasingly important engine of growth in the global economy bringing about the prospects of new, multi-speed and multi-polar global village. I about a decade, over 50% of the global product will come from these developing countries that are probably better named emerging markets. This is a very optimistic message. However, these extraordinary developments will yet present hitherto unknown challenges in governance, international coordination, and environmental sustainability on a global scale, no doubt about it. The Author ventures a bold and lucid analysis of what is at stake for us and our children in this new brave converging global economy.
The book is likely to become a reference material for top level discussions about the state of this global village of ours in the next few decades. In particular, this Great Recession of will propel the book to one of the main readings on how to creatively rebalance the global economy and arrive at new and more sustainable re-combinations of global, continental, national, regional, local, and individual economic interests. As well, the thinking about modern roles of all the levels of government in the economy will be impacted deeply by this book. That helps a lot in the era of deepening theoretical confusion and helpless doom and gloom prognostications.
With a certain effort, the book is accessible to most educated readers. A very broad spectrum of readers can immensely benefit from reading this unique book but leaders of all kinds of organizations dispersed globally should adopt it as a must read.
Val Samonis, PhD, CPC
The Web Professor of Global Management(SM)
SEMI Online & The University of the Global Village
Toronto & Globally
Riding Modern Recessions: Experiential Learning for Governing Risks (The Series on Global Transformations in the 21st C, SEMI Online)
When I first ran across this book, I was absolutely intrigued. There is hardly an American who does not realize that the third world (especially China and India) are rapidly catching up with the economic strength of the western world. Given the current economic climate, how is this going to affect us going forward? Spence lays the groundwork in his impressive work The Next Convergence: The Future of Economic Growth in a Multispeed World, explaining how the developing countries have been able to maintain an impressive growth rate (China is as 9.5%!), how they have weathered the Global Financial Crisis, and what is the next step for them and for the already advanced countries.
I found this book informative and fascinating, and was especially impressed how this Nobel Laureate author kept it at a level I could understand. I admit, I enjoy the topic of economics and have related college degrees, but most literate persons should be able to understand this book.