US futurist touts the rise of the "Global Southern Belt"

Updated: 2015-01-30 05:15

By Zhang Yue(China Daily USA)

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US futurist touts the rise of the

John and his wife Doris were in Beijing on Jan 9 for the launch of their new book The Global Game Change.

John Naisbitt, the famed American futurist and international best-selling author whose book Megatrends topped the New York Times best-seller list in the early 1980s, recently returned to China to promote his new book and a new set of predictions.

This time, the 85-year-old writer and his wife Doris Naisbitt, who co-authored the new book, touted strong confidence in China's rising power while predicting that the world is moving from a Western-centric to a multi-centric universe.

His new book, The Global Game Change: How the Global Southern Belt will Reshape Our World, advances the idea of the "Global Southern Belt," which includes more than 150 of the 196 recognized countries of the world. Most of these countries lie in Asia, Latin America and Africa. He pointed out that those countries with emerging economies are turning into global players.

"Nations of the Global Southern Belt are in the process of creating the largest middle class the world has ever witnessed," he said.

In 2013, for the first time, the combined GDP of the world's 150 emerging economies, excluding China, was larger than the GDP of all 37 developed countries, excluding the US.

In his book, Naisbitt says that by 2030 Asia will surpass North America and Europe combined in economic power, pollution, military spending and technological investment.

He shared his view on China's future development in one particular chapter of the new book, defining China as the "game changer".

"China has become the major game player in the global community, and as part of its new position, a game changer in global investment streams," he said, adding that China-US relations will be the most important relationship, shaping and being shaped by the global context.

"Writing positively about China could be quite sensitive to Western readers," he said. "Yet China is such a large country with constant vitality, and cannot be understood just in a simple way. I think most of China's image as a stereotype came from the Western media."

John and Doris Naisbitt have been traveling around China for the past two decades. John Naisbitt made his first trip to China in 1967, and the country's destitute image was shocking to him then. During the past 20 years, the couple has traveled to more than twenty cities in China, from metropolis to the far countryside. Most of their trips to third tier cities and rural areas were at the invitation of the local governments. He has also set up a China Institute in Tianjin under his name.

"In 1820, China probably produced one-third of the global economic output. The brief intermezzo in which America overshadowed China is over," he said in the book.

The Naisbitts had co-written five books about China prior to their new book. Like China's Megatrend in 2009, his new book's Chinese edition was published in China first, before the English version.

His 1982 book Megatrends, based on 10 years of research, focused on how the restructuring of America would change people's inner and outer lives. In the book, John Naisbitt accurately predicted two global trends that took place in decades afterwards: cyberspace and globalization. The book remained on the New York Times best seller list for two years, and was published in 57 countries.

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