The axis of global power is unlikely to shift from West to East in the 21st century

The West is superior in university rankings, national competitiveness, and corporate innovation.

Countries like Japan, South Korea, and Singapore, which they call the East, have already developed their economies and democracies for decades and are part of the West.

However, when they say "the axis of world power will shift to the east," they refer to China and India, which already represent more than a third of the world's population, especially in China, where there has been significant urbanization for years. There is a natural increase in the productivity of people from the countryside to the cities. This is reflected in the economy. Let's not forget that urbanization in the US-EU is now zero or even negative. Indeed, the per capita income gap between the US-EU (West) and China and India (East) has been narrowing to some extent over the last two decades. However, this is partly due to a different base effect that we know from our inflation stories.

I capitalize the words East and West here, with West referring mainly to the US and the EU and East referring very largely to China and India.

I don't know what kind of scientific arguments those who say there will be an axis of power shift from West to East in the 21st century have, but I think this idea evokes the famous English concept of wishful thinking.

However, if you look at the issue more objectively, it doesn't seem to be the case; at least the three main arguments I will present give the impression that this gap will probably increase in favor of the West in the 21st century.

Nobody probably has any objection; the 21st century is the age of the information economy; countries and regions that produce more knowledge will become more prosperous and more competitive, and their average welfare will increase. And I hope they can use this increased wealth for a more equitable income distribution at the national and global levels. Otherwise, this is the only deficit of the West.

Let's talk about the three arguments I mentioned above.

1- We have the results of the "Times Higher Education World University Ranking" (Times Higher Education World University Ranking); universities are the leading producers of knowledge, the West is by far ahead in world university rankings, and this leading position is a self-reproducing and increasingly reproducing position.

Among the top twenty universities worldwide, the first seventeen are from the USA, the UK, and Switzerland; in other words, Western universities in the USA have great superiority, while the other three universities are from Singapore and China.

In the second twenty, there is also a heavy US dominance, one Japanese university, one Singaporean university, and one Hong Kong university; and if you do not count Hong Kong as China, there are no Chinese universities in the second twenty, and there are no Indian or Russian universities in the top forty.

This picture is in front of us, and some people say that the axis of power will shift to the East in the 21st century, but this is a fragile possibility.

2-The second important criterion is the competitive power of countries, and the criteria used in this ranking are as follows: Economic performance, government efficiency, firm efficiency, and the country's infrastructure. According to these criteria, the top twenty countries in 2023 are as follows: Denmark, Ireland, Switzerland, Singapore, the Netherlands, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Sweden, the United States, the UAE, Finland, Qatar, Belgium, Norway, Canada, Iceland, Saudi Arabia, the Czech Republic, Australia, Luxembourg (Source: International Institute for Management Development).

There may be theoretical objections to this ranking, which may be partly justified, but this ranking will inevitably be decisive in the 21st century; it is an indicator of the distribution of the competitiveness factor among countries, and the West has a clear superiority in this ranking.

3-The third and final criterion is ranking the world's most innovative (innovative, creative) companies, source "Boston Consulting Group, Most Innovative Companies Ranking, latest issue).

Among the top fifteen most innovative companies, Apple comes first, followed by Tesla, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft, Moderna, all US companies, then Samsung (South Korea), Huawei (China), BYD (China), Siemens (Germany) in tenth place, then Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Space X, Nvidia, Exxon Mobil, all US companies.

The West, predominantly the US, is far ahead in this list of the most innovative companies.

The world's best universities are in the West, the most competitive countries are in the West, and the most innovative companies are in the West, but it is said that the world's axis will shift to the East in the 21st century. I guess this is a bit like this country's and state administration's eagerness to make the 21st century the century of Turkey by, for example, destroying Bogazici University, isn't it?

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