The United Nations has issued its latest Human Development Report, which shows "a profound shift in global dynamics driven by the fast-rising new powers of the developing world," of which China is the most prominent. In fact, the developing world now produces about half of global economic output, up from a third in 1990.

Major emerging economies are developing at an astonishing rate. China and India, for example, doubled per capita economic output in less than 20 years, or twice as fast as European and North American countries during the Industrial Revolution.

The report projects that, by 2020, the combined output of China, India and Brazil will exceed the gross production of the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Canada.