The $30 Trillion-a-Year Opportunity of 2025

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The $30 Trillion-a-Year Opportunity of 2025

Until now, the most important economic event in human history is generally agreed to be the Industrial Revolution.  But that unprecedented transformation will soon be totally eclipsed by a transition that will redefine our own era and the future of mankind. 

What is this transition?  It’s the rise of an enormous consumer class within the “emerging countries” that have traditionally been at the periphery of the global economy. 

As we’ll show, the accelerating pace of this transformation is, in itself, historic.1  Consider the facts: 

  • The Industrial Revolution, which began to take root in the mid-1700s, required a full two centuries to reach its full force. 
  • It took 150 years for the output per person to double in Britain, the birthplace of the revolution.
  • The second stage of the revolution, which took place in the U.S., required less than 50 years for GDP per capita to double. 
  • Jumping forward one century, the industrialization of China doubled its GDP per capita in only 12 years, and in India it happened in 16 years. 

Not only are these countries moving down the economic path faster, it’s also happening on a larger scale.  When Britain and the United States began to industrialize, their populations numbered about 10 million each. 

China and India both began with populations of roughly 1 billion.  Consequently, these two leading emerging economies are not only accelerating their economies 10 times faster than the pace of the Industrial Revolution, it is taking place on a scale that is 100 times bigger.  The result is an economic force that is over 1,000 times greater. 

For a perspective on how vast the new consuming class of 2025 will be, it’s instructive to consider the economic state of the world’s populations over the past few centuries.  Throughout this recent history, less than 1 percent earned enough to have discretionary income for purchases above basic daily needs. 

It took until as recently as 1990 for 1 billion of the world’s population to make more than $10 per day.  At this level of income, purchases of products such as refrigerators or televisions can begin to be considered.  The vast majority of these discretionary spenders lived in developed countries in North America, Western Europe, or Japan.  Over the past 20 years, this began to change.

Urbanization of emerging markets began, fed by long-term trends, including the integration of developing nations into the global economy, the removal of trade barriers, and the spread of market-oriented economic policies...

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