The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World

The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World

The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World

The Great Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World

Excerpt

Deep in our guts we all know that our world has changed significantly. Indeed, the world has experienced greater change in the past thirty years than it did in the previous three hundred. What we are all struggling to find is the one big idea that explains what we feel. I believe that the concept of “the great convergence” explains the massive change we are experiencing. Since human history began, we have lived in different communities and tribes and in different cultures and civilizations. Today, the massive forces unleashed by globalization are creating a new global civilization. Until recently, terms like “North and South” and “developed and developing” were used to describe the global condition. Today, the terms appear irrelevant. In a Financial Times column titled “In the Grip of a Great Convergence,” Martin Wolf said, “Convergent incomes and divergent growth—that is the economic story of our times. We are witnessing the reversal of the 19th and early 20th century era of divergent incomes. In that epoch, the peoples of western Europe and their most successful former colonies achieved a huge economic advantage over the rest of humanity. Now it is being reversed more quickly than it emerged. This is inevitable and desirable.”

The great convergence also explains the rapidly rising living standards of the vast majority of the world’s population. Never before in human history have so many people been lifted out of absolute poverty. Nor have there been so many entrants into the global middle class. Simple things like a flush toilet, electricity at home, a cell phone, a TV set, and a refrigerator have represented the aspirations of billions. For a long time, they seemed out of reach. Now many, if not most, people believe that these . . .

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