Rise of the Global Middle Class

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Kishore Mahbubani explores how the global middle class brings about an unprecedented convergence of interests, perceptions, cultures, and values. In Convergence: Asia, the West, and the Logic of One World, Mahbubani argues that it’s a positive change that world's population outside the West is rising to Western living standards and sharing Western aspirations, but warns a new global order requires a shift in policies and attitudes.


Kishore Mahbubani

Comments [12]

"Middle class"???

What middle class??

Feb. 07 2013 06:58 PM

A world government is one which will naturally arise -- simply out of the vast desire for all peoples for peace -- and would represent the maturity of human beings in being able to live together. The UN, such as it is, has just been a first step in pointing towards not only what is possible, but what is absolutely necessary. To deny this trend towards the ultimate good is to choose continual differences which produce more hubris, more conflict, and more war. The clear forecast is that those negative impulses are being eclipsed even now. I think, along with Mr. Mabubani, that we have much to look forward to -- and together, not separate and in division.

Feb. 07 2013 02:19 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I'm not against the UN in principle, as it does some good works in many areas, but it is a political organization. It has no army of its own. It relies on strong countries like the US to do anything. It gangs up on little countries like Israel and Taiwan, and cannot challenge the large powerful countries like China or the US or Russia. But world government? Hell no. God forbid.

Feb. 07 2013 01:57 PM

NO ONE needs a useless MBA!!

CREATE something, fer crissakes!!

Paper shuffling and jargon does NOT require an advanced degree!!

Feb. 07 2013 01:53 PM

If China, India and the rest Asia do as much damage, proportionately, as the US has _just to the environment_, our species will not survive. Plenty of biologists are talking about the possibility of extinction of Homo sapiens. Stephen Hawking has also speculated along these lines. Climate scientists are said that if atmospheric carbon concentrations hit 550 parts per million, there will be a global catastrophe. Not one of the emerging powers shows even the vaguest hint of deep concern over the environment (not that the US did either until it had the luxury to do so).

If Americans find it impossible to entertain the possibility of the US losing its "Number One" status, how difficult is it for people to consider human extinction?

(By the way, both the Bush and Obama administrations have expressed a determination in national defense reviews to sustain the US as the world's most powerful nation . . . whatever that means.)

Mr. Mahbubani's mention of the export of higher education points to something where the US really can remain #1 — education and high tech. But thanks to 'moderate' and conservative hostility to education, we're likely to lose this (just as the British have largely destroyed their higher education system.)

Feb. 07 2013 01:51 PM
@jmali_1 from UWS

Is it possible that the ever eminent threat of The Soviet Spectre was the ideological fuel that fed the rise of US domination? Now that "they" are gone, can we survive without that impetus?

Feb. 07 2013 01:44 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

As last as 1820 China's output was still some 20% of the world's GDP at that time, so China returning to its traditional role as the major economic power in the world is nothing new. The US is new, not China. China is old. The two or three centuries of China's poverty is just an aberration, as is America's rise to world predominance. We shouldn't lose too much sleep over it. China has plenty of internal problems and is not seeking world military domination.

Feb. 07 2013 01:44 PM

The British demonstrate just how long a nation can preserve the myth of being "Number One". In the the 1960s, the British were still throwing their weight about as if they were the world's greatest something or other. Fortunately, they lacked even the semblance of sufficient power to do anything.

Feb. 07 2013 01:44 PM

I once had an experience of my Indian manager asking me to hire an Indian job candidate over a more qualified and "less expensive" American one.

Thus, I believe that tribalizim is the main reason IT industry is now dominated by ethnic Indians. Otherwise, I would have to believe that Americans are generally uneducated and stupid.

The importation of cheap foreign labor is one aspect of "globalization" and we will see more of it as our government had sneaked major increases for work visa into the "immigration reform" act.

While I understand that globalization had lifted many Indians from poverty, it effectively broke (and/or redefined the composition of) the middle class in this country.

Is it good?

Feb. 07 2013 12:48 PM

china argues that "america had its time to pollute and consume, so how dare they try and tell us not to pollute and buy cars."

response to their argument, which is heard from chinese leaders and middle class alike? the position is reasserted as if it is a core national value.

Can they not be persuaded to find pride in "leapfrogging" pollution as they have done with other technologies?

You can't very well blog as you're being driven by a self-driving google-car, if you're dead!

Feb. 07 2013 12:40 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Global trade and industrialization creates "middle classes" but that also means a rapidly widening income gap between the lucky entrepreneural few and the hard toiling many. How is the issue of "widening income gaps" being dealt with in the rising nations such as China, Brazil, India, et al.?

Feb. 07 2013 11:51 AM
George from Brooklyn

If millions are being lifted out of poverty into the middle class, how will this rise affect climate change?

How concerned should we be about China's nationalist tendencies?

Feb. 07 2013 01:26 AM

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