Published Monday, 06 December 2010
Gordon Brown has warned the next decade could be remembered as the "decline of the west" if it fails to grapple with the challenge of the rising Asian powers.
In an interview ahead of the publication of an exclusive extract from his forthcoming book in today's Guardian, Brown was critical of public spending cuts which he said could rob western governments of the firepower needed to win business in China and India.
He said western governments had 10 years to overhaul their economies, invest in hi-tech equipment and promote high-quality education.
In Beyond the Crash, Brown says a global compact next year, under the G20, could champion measures to spur growth creating between 30m and 50m jobs and ending mass unemployment.
"On current trends, Europe and America face high unemployment for a decade and worsening youth unemployment to come," he said in advance of publication. "If the story of the coming decade is not to become 'the decline of the west' then Europe and America have to change tack, rise to the biggest challenge of all – restructuring the world economy – and equip themselves to benefit from the next great global challenge – the dramatic rise in the consumer spending power of Asia."
Brown returned to his family home in Fife after losing the election in May. He has busied himself supporting local charities and mapping out how Britain and the west can recover from the worst financial crisis since the 1930s. He rejected a tell-all version of his time in Westminster, with 10 years at the Treasury and three years at No 10.
Many consider his finest hour was at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh at the height of the crisis when he persuaded world leaders to join a rescue mission. Brown said it was clear his views were no longer fashionable, "but as the 1930s showed, the economic orthodoxies for which people are feted today will quickly come to be seen as the great misjudgments of history".
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