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Charting a 'Two-Speed' World

Derek Thompson discusses the findings of a new study from the Brookings Institution that ranks the world's 300 biggest cities by GDP and job growth over the past year. Put simply, China is growing and Europe is slowing.
December 1, 2012, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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A revealing analysis out this week in Brookings Global MetroMonitor shows the world's fastest growing and shrinking cities, reflecting "the accelerating shift of economic growth from developed metro areas in the global West towards developing metropolitan areas in the global South and East," say the report's authors.

As Thompson explains, "[t]he top 50 fastest-growing cities, by GDP per capita, are practically all in the developing Asian world. The top 18 are in China. The rest are in China, Indonesia (Jakarta), India (Chennai), and Australia (Perth). Of the world's fastest-shrinking cities, 42 of the bottom 50 were in the EU. The others included Dubai, Adelaide, Australia, and Albuquerque."

While the news is good for China at the moment, there are warning signs in the findings for the global economy. As Thompson asserts, "world markets rely on world-leading Chinese growth, and a clear deceleration in its economy -- even if it turns out to be good for wages, workers, and the China's necessary evolution into a modern consumer economy -- would result in hundreds of slower-growing cities around the world in 2013."

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Published on Friday, November 30, 2012 in The Atlantic
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