Reported by VIU MBA Student, Ariunaa Dashtsogt
Louis Armstrong’s signature piece, “What A Wonderful World” filled the auditorium as hundreds filed in for Dr. Jennifer Bailey’s lecture “Is World Power Shifting East?” on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Silver Spring, Maryland. At the front of the auditorium, Dr. Bailey stood resplendent in a technicolor, gold-embroidered, silk sari that fully captured the rich international perspective she was about to share with her audience. Bailey, one of the Virginia International University’s (VIU) acclaimed professors, teaches graduate courses in Strategic Management, Export & Import Management and International Business for the MBA Program. Dr. Bailey is also founder and executive director of the Bailey Institute, a global organization using technology to combat illiteracy in the United States, Liberia, Nepal and Trinidad and Tobago.
Twenty students from Dr. Bailey’s Strategic Management class and 200 area residents attended the lecture. The audience was treated to a plethora of research and analysis covering seven decades: The post-world war two economic rise of the U.S.; the re-building of European economies in the 1950s; the accelerated rise of China, India, Russia and Brazil over the past two decades driven by economic globalization; the steady decline of aid-recipient countries in Africa and parts of Asia by-passed by globalization; a decade of stagnant and declining European economies stuck with again populations and un-innovative economies. To simplify the vast body of research covered, Dr. Bailey established four global perspectives for assessing the premise that world power may be shifting East.
- Post-cold war—The belief that U.S. ascendancy will remain intact
- Market driven—The belief that markets will determine the course of the future
- Environmentalism—Is ongoing growth compatible with environmental sustainability
- Transformative—Review and revise old ways for better ways of growth/development
For the VIU students in the audience whose national origins included Mongolia, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Thailand, and Tibet, the lecture, was a great time to absorb Dr. Bailey’s powerful ideas and profound thoughtfulness in condensing this vast body of new information into a mind-expanding 45-minute lecture. VIU students described the experience as a “great teaching and learning opportunity.” Dr. Bailey revealed the lecture represented more than two years of research, reflection and writing.
Dr. Bailey observed other notable trends including stagnant or decreasing economic growth in developed countries (U.S and Western Europe—except Germany). The biggest debtor nations are in the West–U.S., UK, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Greece, with many facing economic collapse. By contrast, the group of countries Jim O’Neill calls the BRIC’s—Brazil, Russia, India and China are demographically among the most populous, with younger populations and economic growth strategies very likely to be sustained to at least 2050.
Importantly, Dr. Bailey demonstrated how waves of globalization are putting enormous pressure on the demand for fossil fuels and other non-renewable energy products and fostering strong competition and increased prices for the world’s limited supply of natural resources. Continued economic growth for the BRICs will depend on innovative growth strategies, and the creativity to avoid the West’s “Buy, Use, Dispose” consumer marketing model which is not environmentally sustainable. BRICs and the emerging N-11, O’Neil’s list of the next group of market driven growth economies are challenged to meet fundamental infrastructure needs within their countries and an imperative to improve social conditions including education and health to diminish poverty and bring prosperity to their most challenged populations.
Bailey concurs that the “World as we knew it” in the West has changed creating a sense of loss captured in a National Geographic Survey (2010) – 27 percent of Americans perceive the U.S. is not the world’s number one economy (It is); and 44 percent think China is the world’s number one economy (It is not). Dr. Bailey’s research suggests it is unlikely the U.S. will lose its position as the #1 largest economy by 2050, as projected by some research. Nor, is the U.S. likely to lose its role as an influential player on the world stage—it is likely to share the world stage with new and less familiar bedfellows. In the U.S. and in much of western Europe, new rules for national prosperity need to be adopted. These include tax and market reforms, support for social reforms in education, health care and retirement policies; improved material infrastructure; and new ways to raise per capita income especially among the middle class. These social and economic factors must take immediate and higher priority if the U.S. and the West are to sustain their democracies and economies that work for all, especially those in the middle.