The past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. Estimates from the Asian and African Development Banks, using a rather broad definition of middle class as living on $2-20 a day, confirm the picture. On this measurement, which includes many people who are only just above the poverty line, a third of Africans and three-quarters of Latin Americans were middle class in 2008. Meanwhile, the evidence that this progress will bring political demands that will reshape the developing world is mounting.
People ask, what did America do for the world? It set the conditions for this to happen – and then it defended that system from those who would do it harm. The US is only world power in history whose primary goal has been the peaceful rise of other great powers through trade and development.