The American Interest
Analysis by Walter Russell Mead & Staff
Britain: The Country of the Future?

British PM David Cameron has been under a lot of pressure in his country lately. Week after week opposition leader Ed Milliband has poured scorn on Cameron for Britain’s continuing economic troubles. But this week, Cameron gets some good news at Brazil’s expense. Brazilians frustrated by their country’s slowing growth are getting a kick in the teeth as the UK claws its way back into 6th place among world economies, passing the Latin giant.

So is Britain the country of the future? Not so fast:

However, the UK will not be able to avoid a relative decline over the next decade – falling to eighth behind India, Brazil, and Russia but avoiding the dramatic plunge expected for France and Italy – according to the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

Brazil overtook the UK over the past year but has slipped to seventh in CEBR’s World Economic League Table rankings due to the weakness of its currency. The South American giant is expected to overtake the UK again in 2014.

Brazil shouldn’t worry too much about this week’s news; if the current slowdown can be resolved, the country should soon pass the UK once again. But the future isn’t without promise for King and Country either. Britain may not be able to keep up with the future top seven, but relative to the rest of Europe, the country’s position is strong. By 2022, England will forecast to overtake France, and other Continental powers like Italy are headed for very slow growth for a long time to come.

The rise of newly industrializing economies is going to keep Britain from regaining its place at the very top of the global economic pecking order, but as an Atlantic and European power, Britain’s future looks much brighter than many gloomy Brits seem to think.

Published on December 28, 2012 5:02 pm