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The world we’re in

Nico Colchester was one of the finest economics journalists of his generation. Just before his death in September he delivered these five theses on the world economy, peering behind the "fractions of unimaginable things"

By Nico Colchester   November 1996

To understand today’s world market economy you must first look behind the bewildering fa?ade of percentages. Yes, east Asia will grow at 8 per cent per year over the rest of this century; Latin America and ex-communist Europe at 4 per cent; and the rich world at something over 2 per cent. But what are we to make of these fractions of unimaginable things?

Think of the world economy as 26 Italys. Italy is a convenient unit of account because the size of its economy, give or take the Mafia, is $1 trillion a year of demand. One trillion dollars…

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