A Scan of Critical World Developments
The Planetary Phase Accelerates
Transnational ties of economic interdependence have been lengthening and tightening in recent years. According to a recent study, the flow of goods, finance, and data has surged over the past decade, fueled by a rising global consumer class and an over 18-fold growth in Internet traffic. Over one-third of the world’s goods now cross borders, up from one-fifth in 1990. The combined value of trade in goods and services plus financial flows increased from $5 trillion to $26 trillion. Notably, the growing share associated with emerging economies has now reached 40 percent of the global total. While such connectedness correlates with GDP growth, its intensification is not without risk. The damage to emerging economies from the financial crisis of 2007-2009 was modulated by their relatively low integration with global capital markets. The Planetary Phase, now in its market-driven phase, is stretching the reach of crises and linking all countries in a common destiny, for better or worse.