SINCE 2005, Britain has dropped from fourth to seventh in the ranking of national economies. According to the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the country is set to drop out of the top 10 by 2015 as Canada, India, Russia and China overtake it. Much mournful commentary about the state of Britain, loss of prestige and influence is certain to follow.
It's fairly clear which of Britain's superseding powers is going to be the most desirable place to live. Not Canada - too cold - but Brazil. One of the last in and first out of recession, Brazil is set to boom over the next decade as its consumer class grows from 50 to 80million.
As the Economist points out, it has the world's largest freshwater supplies, the largest tropical forests, land so fertile that in some places farmers manage three harvests a year, and huge mineral and hydrocarbon wealth. Despite its history of setbacks, "the country is enjoying probably its best moment since a group of Portuguese sailors (looking for India) washed up on its shores in 1500".
A country that experienced inflation averaging 764percent in the early 1990s is now enjoying an unprecedented trifecta: democratic rule, economic growth and low inflation.
It is self-sufficient in oil, and large new discoveries in 2007 are likely to make it a big oil exporter. By the middle of the century, it is expected to become one of the world's six biggest economies.
And, of course, it is Brazil - a place of fabulous optimism and colour. - thefirstpost.co.uk