Poles of the Global Economy
Three major poles, North America, Western Europe and East Asia, dominate
the global economy. Each of these poles has a non-exclusive sphere of
influence, which is reflected in passengers and freight flows. For North
America, this involves Latin American nations, closely linked to the
American economy. Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia (with many of the
former Soviet Republics) are within the sphere of influence of Western
Europe. JAKOTA (Japan, Korean and Taiwan) represents the main pole of
Pacific Asia, including China and the other newly industrializing economies
of the region (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand). Several regions, such
as Oceania, South Asia and the Middle East are not within a specific
area of influence, but contribute significantly to global trade (petroleum
for the Middle East, minerals and food for Australia).
It is possible to classify nations according to their levels of development
and the role the play in the global economy. One such classification
was proposed by the United Nations and divides economies in five major
The continent-sized countries of India and China are special categories
on their own. They have low incomes but the last decade, especially
for China, has brought significant economic opportunities. Economic growth
is accompanied by strong growth of raw materials, products and services
and their related global flows.
- Underdeveloped. Characterized by low levels of income,
industrialization and literacy. They are the least involved in the
global economy with exports dominated by raw materials.
- Developing. Characterized by a very heterogeneous group
of nations that have seen various levels of improvements in the
welfare of their populations. They include former socialist economies
(Russia and Eastern Europe), North African and many Latin American
- Newly industrializing. Characterized by fast processes
of industrialization and integration to the global economy where
manufacturing goods account for more than 25% of the GDP and more
than 50% of exports. There are however strong disparities within
this group as Latin American (Mexico, Brazil and Argentina) growth
is little compared with the growth taking place in East and Southeast
Asia, especially China.
- Advanced. Characterized by a high level of economic development.
These nations are at the forefront of the global economy.
- Rent. Countries that derive the majority of their incomes
from oil exports are labeled as rent economies, such as Saudi Arabia.
Incomes are artificially high and subject to the fluctuations of
oil prices. Several nations such as Algeria, Nigeria, Venezuela
and Iraq are significant oil exporters, but they have a more diversified