I recently had a conversation with a college student hailing from the great country Spain. After talking about my summer activities, I asked him about the internships and jobs he had available in Spain.
He said that there was nothing. No jobs, no internships for anybody his age in Spain. No work at all. It was a crisis that had become normality. A global crisis.
It’s true. The developed world is facing an unprecedented period of weakness. All the titans of the First World are trembling. America is in the throes of high unemployment and a stagnant economy. Even so, it is better off than the other pillars of the developed world.
Japan has been stagnant for decades. The tsunami and the nuclear meltdown have intertwined with political weakness to further damage the nation.
Then there is Europe. Europe’s periphery is in danger of going bankrupt (or already bankrupt). Countries with enormous economies, such as Spain or Italy, are being sucked in this very moment.
So the developed world is in an unprecedented crisis. There are pockets of strength. Canada’s economy is strong. Germany’s economy is too strong. Australia and South Korea are benefiting from China’s economic coattails.
While the First World languishes, the Third World is booming. Brazil and Peru are leading the charge in Latin America; Africa is experiencing its best decade for a long time. And then there are the titans of India and China.
The result is that global inequality is on the decline. People have said for decades that the Third World is catching up to the First World. Sometimes this has been true; more often it has been not.
But now the Third World really is catching up, and catching up fast. It’s not pretty for the First World.