Outrageous Fortunes: The Twelve Surprising Trends That Will Reshape the Global Economy

Article excerpt

Outrageous Fortunes: The Twelve Surprising Trends That Will Reshape the Global Economy Author: Daniel Altman St. Martin's Press, 2012 $12.99, Paperback, 272 pages

Daniel Altman may have thought that the changes for the world economies would take several years into the future to become a reality, but some of his predictions are beginning to take shape, and his book Outrageous Fortunes: The Twelve Surprising Trends that will Reshape the Global Economy is not yet one-year old since its publication.

Altman forecasts that the world economies will be transformed within 12 distinctive tendencies that will affect the industrialized nations as well as the countries considered developing economies or economies in a stage of growth.

He presents the 12 trends in an easy-to-understand format that those who are not economy savvy can easily make sense of these concepts. In his book, he first introduces us to the two geographic areas that will face economic limits in the near future: China and the European Union. Part II then follows with obstacles for the economies of the world: a new type of colonialism, the changes on immigration policies and the questioning of capitalist laws. Part III of his book guides us into new opportunities for the US economy as what Altman calls "the world's sales force," the integration of global economies, the fall of the World Trade Organization, and he finished this section with the prediction of the birth of new economic hubs replacing the old ones. Part IV and last section, enters into the dynamics of the risks the world will confront: financial black markets, global warming and decadent political institutions.

When world-economy experts think about long-term changes in the financial market, they usually predict economic modifications within the next five to ten years, according to Altman, but they fail to consider what he calls "deep factors" whose effects on the economy can be felt beyond 10 years. These deep factors may be originated by geographical, climatic, political, cultural and historical events faced by any country.

Speaking of China, although many consider China the new superpower that would replace the United States in the financial market decision-making process, Altman states that China will get richer eventually, but then it will turn into a poor country again due to factors inherent to Chinese culture and politics, namely the difficulties for China to open to foreign markets and to facilitate the process of starting a new business. Although China has been changing dramatically in the last few decades, Confucianism continues to be the ethical system to be followed. In it, the collective benefit supersedes the individual one. This structure begins at the family level with the respect and unchallenged authority of the elder over the young, and then move to other aspects of life where the elder will get to work with the young. That is, as Altman says, between "the ruler and the subject, master and servant, and employer and employee. …