One of the consequences of the 2007 global financial crisis has been an acceleration in the shift away from the traditional 19th and 20th century industrial powers toward a new emerging center of economic power in the world. The debt heavy and slow growth economies of Europe and the U.S. are now dependant on investments and exports from the emerging economies of the so-called BRIC nations — Brazil, Russia, India and China. That shift is reflected in the influence China and India are having at this week's G20 Summit in Cannes, France. The U.S. is no longer the grand mediator in global affairs, and the era of the single superpower ushered in at the end of the Cold War in 1989 now appears to be over.
Niall Ferguson, Laurence A. Tisch professor of history at Harvard University, William Ziegler professor at Harvard Business School, and author of "Civilization: The West and the Rest," examines global politics in the age of declining American hegemony.