'The old rule of forecasting was to make as many forecasts as possible and publicise the ones you got right. The new rule is to forecast so far in the future, no one will know you got it wrong.'
Ruchir Sharma does neither. In Breakout Nations he shows why the economic 'mania' of the twenty-first century, with its unshakeable faith in the power of emerging markets - especially China - to continue growing at the astoundingly rapid and uniform pace of the last decade, is wrong. The next economic success stories will not be where we think they are.
In this provocative new book, Sharma analyses why the basic laws of economic gravity (such as the law of large numbers, which says that the richer you are the harder it is to grow your wealth at a rapid pace) are already pulling China, Russia, Brazil and other vast emerging markets back to earth. To understand which nations will thrive and which will falter in a world reshaped by slower growth, it is time to start looking at the emerging markets as individual cases. Sharma argues that we must abandon our current obsession with global macro trends and the fad for all-embracing theories. He offers instead a more discerning, nuanced view, identifying specific factors - economic, political, social - which will make for slow or fast growth.
Spending much of his professional life travelling in these countries as Head of Emerging Markets at Morgan Stanley, Sharma is uniquely placed to present a first-hand insider's account of these new markets and the changes they are undergoing. As the years of unbelievably swift growth draw to their close, this book shows us how it is time for both investors and economists to halt their blind thrust towards an impossible future.
I came away not only with a much better understanding of the world's economies and what drives them but with an fresh insight into our own internal struggles.
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