The global economy is experiencing a changing geography, with GDP growth rates higher for developing countries compared to developed ones. A significant percentage of global manufacturing and services production, as well as 90% of world agricultural production, is concentrated in only 15 countries, with the USA and the UK accounting for 30% of the world's total production. However, China has become the leading manufacturing producer, and the USA is the leading producer of commercial services. Inward and outward foreign direct investment is more balanced, with Europe being the world's biggest trading area and primary focus of global foreign direct investment, and Germany having the biggest economy in Europe. On the other hand, the UK has experienced a long-term relative decline. The rise of BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) may make them dominant suppliers of manufactured goods, services, and raw materials by 2050.
In terms of poverty, Africa, parts of Asia, and Latin America face significant challenges. The biggest social challenge of the 21st century is tackling deep poverty in these regions. Moreover, the global economy is experiencing a shift towards IT services such as software, data processing, and call centers. However, Latin America lacks a strong export base in manufacturing, while resource-rich African countries such as Brazil and Mexico are primarily commodity-dependent.
There is a need to address this changing geography, and one approach is through a new economy that uses fewer materials and energy. Society must make use of resources more productively, recognizing that humankind has inherited a 3.8 billion-year store of natural capital. There are four types of capital: human, financial, manufactured, and natural. Capitalism, as it currently exists, is unsustainable, an aberration in human development, and society must acknowledge the importance of natural capital, which provides biological services worth $36 trillion annually. Overall, it is time to reshape our future and take action to address these pressing issues.