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Is the west still the best?

The west still rules—but this will change in the coming decades; indeed, geography may cease to matter

By Ian Morris   November 2010

China’s Nanjing Greenland Financial Center, now the sixth tallest building in the world, is one of many recent building projects that advertise China’s growing power to the world. If the rate of global change keeps accelerating, we should expect eastern dominance by 2050. Photo: Jakob Montrasio

The west is still the “best”—if by that we mean richest, strongest, and most inventive. True, China now has the second biggest economy in the world and Japan the third; but Europe and north America still generate two thirds of the world’s wealth, own two thirds of its weapons, and spend more than two…

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