Author: Jane Fuller
First published: Financial World, 12/12/2010

Reading this as the G20 summit in Seoul reached its predictably fudgy conclusion, the reflex action was to cheer this book’s call for a “benign hegemon” to show global leadership.
George Magnus’s choice of the US as the candidate for this role also has appeal, not least because it is unfashionable. He presents a welcome reality check on the view that the “long-awaited decline of the west” is in full swing.
This is not to deny the economic “uprising” of emerging markets, in particular China. He is far too subtle for that and too good an economist, with decades of country-watching under his belt at UBS and its forerunners. He simply points out that making and exporting lots of stuff is not enough. The quality of institutions – notably the legal system and the related enforcement of property and contractual rights – matter.
Cue a refreshingly sceptical view of China….. more



Author: Bill Hayes
First published: The Finance Professionals’ Post, 10/12/2010

Currently money is flowing to the emerging markets. Many see China and India as the future, America and Europe as the past. A thoughtful and sophisticated look at these popular conclusions is presented by George Magnus in his new book, Uprising: Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy. He is well positioned for this analysis as a senior economic adviser at UBS Investment Bank London, having previously served as chief economist at UBS.

The author warns against the extrapolation of current trends, which is creating a “euphoria about emerging markets” and …… more



Author: Alan Wheatley
First Published: International Herald Tribune, 22/11/2010

Wait a Bit to Write Off the West

Developing economies now account for about half of global growth. Thanks to a brisk recovery from the financial crisis, their import demand is growing twice as fast as that of advanced markets.

In a powerful symbol of such shifts in the world economy, the manager of the euro zone’s financial rescue fund said he could quickly raise money to bail out Ireland by turning to Asia.

“We are confident that we can raise the necessary funds from institutional investors, central banks and sovereign funds, in Asia in particular,” said Klaus Regling, chief executive of the European Financial Stability Facility.

So is it game over for the Old World? Not so fast, argues George Magnus, senior economic adviser at UBSInvestment Bank in London.

In his book “Uprising: Will Emerging Markets Shape or Shake the World Economy?” Mr. Magnus cautions against writing off the West, especially the United States.

Given America’s proven capacity to reinvent itself, the epitaph R.I.P. being prepared for it should perhaps stand for “Renewal in Progress” instead of “Rest in Peace,” he says…. more



Author: Stefan Wagstyl

First published: The Financial Times, 21/11/2010

A world stirred but not quite shaken

It is not often these days that an investment banker takes a sceptical view of emerging markets. Such has been the rush to put money into China, India, Brazil and the rest that caution has often been thrown to the wind.

Even before the sluice gates have opened on the flood of money that the US is planning to pour into its ailing economy, the financial engineers are preparing to channel the funds into the emerging world.

Their projections almost invariably show the emerging economies – headed by China – seizing an increasing share of global economic and political power. In their charts, the 2008-09 crisis appears as little more than a brief tumble in an economic ascent set to span decades.

Not so fast, says George Magnus,….. more



Author: Howard Davies
First published: Management Today, 01/11/2010

Books on China, and especially on the Chinese economy, come thick and fast these days. Uprising, in spite of its subtitle referring generally to emerging markets, is essentially one of those. So the time-poor reader struggling to choose between this and Wayne Rooney’s autobiography for her commute, needs the answer to two questions. What is the author’s comparative advantage: his USP, in the language of marketing? And where’s the beef? In other words, what is his distinctive point of view?

As for the first question, Magnus writes from the perspective of an economic adviser to an investment bank –UBS, as it happens. So while he focuses much of his attention on politics and the macroeconomy, he is also interested in the implications for investment strategy. Is it smart to place a heavy bet on the growing dominance of Chinese companies or will they struggle to succeed against global competition? There are many other books which would tell you more about the Communist party or the residual influence of Confucianism. You pays your money and you takes your choice.

Uprising is, however, distinctive in the somewhat sceptical position it takes on the China miracle. For the most part, George Magnus is not an enthusiast of the straight-line extrapolations so beloved of the BRIC-makers of Goldman Sachs. He does not regard the relentless rise of China as inevitable. He believes there are many…more


Age of Aging

Author: Father John Flynn LC
First published: Zenit, 01/03/2009

Boom and Bust

Aging’s Impact on the Economy

Concerns over the environment have given birth control advocates a new lease of life. Paul R. Ehrlich’s 1968 book “The Population Bomb” sparked off a wave of neo-Malthusian pressures to lower population growth, but as the years passed, and the foretold disasters failed to eventuate, enthusiasm for population control waned.

A new wave of concern is being stoked, however, by ecology activists. In England Jonathon Porritt, who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, said that families should be limited to two children, the London-based Sunday Times newspaper reported, Feb. 1.

According to the article, Porritt will be lobbying environmental pressure groups to persuade them to make population a focus of their campaigning.

His remarks came on the heels of comments by James Lovelock, who was the author of the Gaia theory, which posits the Earth as a self-regulating single organism.

In an interview published in the Jan. 23 issue of the New Scientist magazine Lovelock made the apocalyptic forecast that due to global warming by the end of this century around 90% of the world’s population will have died in what he termed, “a cull.”

The clamor of green activists tends to receive widespread media attention, while a more worrying situation — that of an aging population due to a …more


Age of Aging

Robin Blackburn
First published:  New Statesman, 22/01/2009

Glad to be Grey?

With the ageing of the world’s population, the numbers of those aged 65 and over is due to double in the next 25 years in most countries. The most rapidly expanding age group will be those over 80 years of age, which will multiply sixfold by 2050. The ageing effect will, of course, be greater in countries, such as Japan, that have low birth rates and little immigration. Japan’s population is expected to shrink from 130 million to fewer than 100 million by mid-century.

Such population forecasts have to be treated with care, as they project current trends. Forecasting the numbers of a population cohort, where its size today is already known, relies on fewer assumptions than forecasting what proportion of the overall population it will comprise. After nearly half a century of increasing life expectancy and falling birth rates in a large number of countries, some aspects of the ageing trend are unavoidable. The over-65s and over-80s I have referred to are already born – and, equally, the smaller size of younger age-group cohorts is a given. Because only cohorts yet unborn could be larger, it would still take three decades or more before a sharp increase in the birth rate began to enlarge the labour force. Although the ageing trend is most pronounced in the developed world, it is a global phenomenon.

The rise in life expectancy has extended the trend by two years in each decade, reflecting …more


Age of Aging

First published: 30/12/2008, The Economist

Greying Globe

EVERY age has its big demographic scares. In 1798, when the world’s population was about 1 billion, Thomas Malthus published his “Essay on the Principle of Population”, predicting that, thanks to mankind’s enthusiastic procreation habits, by the middle of the 19th century there would no longer be enough food to go round. In the event, people happily continued both to multiply and to eat.

Indeed, in the early part of the 20th century, when the world’s population had grown to double that at Malthus’s time, fears started to run in the opposite direction: that people were having too few babies and mankind was in danger of dying out. The super-abundant baby-boomer generation after the second world war gave the lie to that. But by 1972 the argument had come full circle again. The Club of Rome, a global think-tank, produced a doom-laden report, “The Limits to Growth”, which claimed that within less than a century a mixture of man-made pollution and resource shortages would once again cause widespread population decline. What the think-tankers had not reckoned with was the green revolution. By the start of the new millennium the world’s total population had reached 6 billion. It is now expected to rise to nearly 9 billion by 2050.

But from the early 1990s the World Bank and others began to issue dire warnings about an entirely new scare, soon christened the “demographic time bomb”. Thanks to a …more


Age of Aging

Author: Chris Cook
First published: 22/12/2008, Financial Times

The red flags raised by a grey world

Demography is the senior social science: churchgoers this week will be reminded that Jesus Christ was born in the midst of a census two millennia ago. George Magnus’s The Age of Aging is an account of the great population transitions currently under way around the world. Magnus is a renowned City of London economist, now at UBS, and his new book is a guide for the general reader on how the greying of the world will change everything, everywhere.

Demographic cycles are immensely powerful, and move just fast enough to cause occasional outbursts of panic. The western world intermittently gives in to fears about population extinction and Malthusian famine. The 1930s brought us titles such as The Twilight of Parenthood , while the 1960s gave us The Population Bomb . The new terror for the west is a large, aged population: the popular literature frets that future generations – usually Americans – are already doomed to penury because of the rising costs of medical bills and pension payments.

Magnus’s account avoids the hysteria that often affects this genre. He level-headedly discusses the west’s ageing problem with an explanation of the developing world’s demographic conundrums. For readers who are new to the topic, some of the chapters are useful primers on these crucial issues.

Longer lives and changes in the birth rate have conspired to make the developed world become very old very quickly. …more