The consumption of the developed world versus the emerging world

India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev, China's President Hu Jintao, Brazil's President Dilma Rouseff, and South Africa's President Jacob Zuma pose before a joint press conference during the BRICS summit in Sanya, on the southern Chinese island of Hainan on April 14, 2011.

Steve Chiotakis: President Obama this weekend hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Hawaii. Leaders from China and Japan will be there, but also from more than a dozen
Asian economies that are still developing.

And developing countries top today's Globalist quiz, and Stephan Richter joins us from TheGlobalist.com. Good morning Stephan.

Stephan Richter: Good morning Steve. Are you ready for today's quiz?

Chiotakis: I am. Hit me with it.

Richter: We all hear always about emerging markets, and they are now consuming more and more of the world's stuff.

Chiotakis: Yeah.

Richter: So my question for you today is: Which of the following items does the developed world still account for more than 50 percent of? A) Cars; B) Cell phones; C) Government debt; or D) exports?

Chiotakis: Let's see. I know emerging markets are buying a lot of cars, so it's not A. Um, exports.

Buzz

Richter: That would be wonderful, but in 2010 was the first time the emerging markets beat us at the original game of doing exports. And you know, they have now over 50 percent and that's almost double of the 27 percent they accounted for in 1990.

Chiotakis: So it's not exports, OK.

Richter: It's not exports.

Chiotakis: That's Stephan's way of saying, 'Steve, you're wrong.' I think the logical answer here, Stephan, is government debt.

Ding

Richter: Boy, you're right man, it's terrible what we do on this front. Developing countries have a clean sheet. The developing countries now account for only 17 percent of all the outstanding government debt. So we're leaders in the wrong segment of the global universe of the economy.

Chiotakis: Many of which are coming to the rescue, of certainly European countries with the debt crisis there.

Richter: The Chinese put their money wisely into the U.S., have done too much in that, put a little bit more into Europe. But I don't think they're out to rescue anybody. They're smartly looking after their own interests, as do most other developing countries who have learned the hard way that having too much debt can be detrimental to your future.

Chiotakis: Well all right, government debt. We're going to keep an eye on that, of course, a story that's, well -- it's the gift that keeps on taking. So Stephan Richter, thank you so much for joining us today with that.

Richter: And I'm much indebted for putting me on.

About the author

Stephan Richter is the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Globalist, a daily online magazine on the global economy, politics and culture.

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