Bank of America Merrill Lynch has released its Transforming World Atlas to demonstrate how the world is changing in unexpected ways and how these trends will shape the future of business and investment. Titled A Transforming World – Year Ahead, the report highlights research across various investment themes and displays the findings through a collection of maps.
Here are some standout trends:
1. The Developed World is Rapidly Aging.
- 50% of the European population will be 50 or older within 10 years.
- Average life expectancy has risen by 20 years since 1980 and by the end of this century there will be 8 million centenarians.
2. Asia’s Massive Population will be the Dominant Marketplace of the Future.
- By 2030 Asia will represent 66% of the global middle-class population and 59% of middle-class consumption.
- The European and American middle classes will shrink from 50 percent of the global total to just 22 percent.
3. Robotics are Becoming Increasingly Common in the Workplace
- The number of industrial robots is up 72% in the last 10 years while the number of US manufacturing jobs is down 16%.
- 1 in 3 UK jobs will be replaced by computers or robots in the next 20 years.
4. Innovation is Being Driven by Countries in East Asia, Northern Europe, and the U.S.
- The percentage of R&D spending for the top three innovative countries were: South Korea (4.15%), Sweden (3.30%), and the U.S. (2.73%).
- A new solar project in the US was installed every 3.2 minutes in the first half of 2014.
5. A Number of Low and Middle Income Economies are at Risk of Credit Default.
- The world’s sovereign debt totals $59.7 trillion, with the U.S. holding 29.05% of it.
- Though Japan’s Debt-to-GDP ratio of 230% makes it the world’s most indebted country, the country with the greatest risk of default is Venezuela, whose Debt-to-GDP is only 49.8%.