What if poor nations actually caught up with rich ones? -- Imagine the U.S. dollar as a "boutique currency," a billion Chinese people driving cars instead of riding bikes to work, and a global tide of cheap consumer goods: eco-nightmare or capitalist fantasia? Interestingly, the author's point is to promote foreign aid, since the amount of money spent could be tripled without this scenario coming to pass...though I think in the long run it's a question of when, not if, we run out of gas and goods as a planet. I also think this first world insecurity is a direct cause of our unquenchable lust for luxury goods. Just take a trip to Target and look around: the discount version of the good life looks pretty much identical to the actual good life, doesn't it? The "middle class" (whatever that is these days) feels it has to spend more to distinguish itself from the hoi polloi -- and on a global scale, the hoi polloi is getting more educated, mobile, and commercial every second. It should make for an interesting century.

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