cAmerica steps back from the “fiscal cliff” (or “kicks the can down the road”, to use perhaps a more appropriate metaphor) and the world’s stock indices, from the Hang Seng to the Dow Jones, soar to their highest level in months. Cynical Cassandra is not impressed. As The World in 2013 argues “the world economy’s woes are far from over“, with only the emerging economies (a phrase that now seems to cover countries that have long since emerged—witness China, second only to America in economic weight) promising robust growth for the coming year.
But it would be churlish for me to be so negative at the start of a year, so let me direct readers to another, more cheerful, part of The World in 2013: the list of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies.
The star performer will be Mongolia, followed by Macau. Both should give thanks to China (number four on the list): it is China’s demand for Mongolia’s minerals that is powering its economy; and it is Chinese gamblers who fill the casinos of Macau. China apart, the list consists of economies too small to move the world’s stock indices. But do they have attractions that size cannot measure? Bhutan (at number five) is undoubtedly beautiful and is blessed with hydroelectric power, and, now that their various wars or periods of political insurrection are over, there are surely advocates for Timor-Leste and the East African duo of Mozambique and Rwanda.Ghana, a model of stability in West Africa, has lots of fans—and promising oil reserves, too. Libya (number three) and Iraq (equal seventh) both have a lot of oil but not exactly great stability. The sad thing, however, is that (unless my eyes deceive me) of the fastest growing economies only China—ranked 49th—makes it into the 80 countries in The World in 2013′s list of the best places to be born this year. At the risk of sounding heretical to readers of The Economist, economic growth is clearly not the be-all and end-all of life…
source: the Economist