With $78 trillion in total GDP, the global economy is far beyond vast. Since the agricultural and industrial revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, the global population has soared to currently approximately 7.4 billion people. The population of "the West," which includes Western Europe, North America, and Asian capitalist economies, such as Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, has remained flat since the latter half of the 20th century, with some populations, such as Japan's, experiencing a steady decrease. Meanwhile, the population of developing economies has continued to grow, especially in Africa and India. The disconcerting fact is that even though "the West" only accounts for 14% of global population, these countries account for 60% of global GDP. The growth of financial markets continues to increase the huge income disparities throughout the world. .
In the article entitled, "The World is Spiky," Richard Florida argues against the flat world theory and asserts that certain countries have far outpaced others with regard to growth, creating the "spikes" on the global topography. I strongly agree with this view especially when considering the huge urbanization rates, specifically in developed economies. In 1800, the share of the world's population living in urban areas was only 3%; this number had increased to 30% in 1950. And in 2005, that number had increased to 50%. Most of this population shift has been occurring in the global megacities, including New York, Hong Kong, and London. These megacities are areas of high economic growth and productivity, naturally leading to more wealth per capita. It's not surprising that almost all of these megacities are located in "the West." Meanwhile, many developing countries still remain predominantly rural and much poorer than the developed world. As discussed in class, the entire African continent is currently experiencing a huge population growth that is expected to reach 2 billion people by 2050.