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When movies with sound made their debut in 1927, Warner Brothers' Harry Warner asked, "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"At a time when four powerful forces are disrupting the global economy, upending most of our assumptions, such pronouncements on the future, shaped by intuitions based on the past, are even more likely to be wrong. The first great disruption is the shift of economic activity to emerging-market cities. As recently as 2000, 95 percent of the Fortune Global 500 was headquartered in developed economies. It took more than 50 years after the telephone was invented for half of American homes to have one, but only 20 years for cellphones to spread from less than 3 percent of the world's population to more than two-thirds.Thirty years ago, only a few countries, home to a small share of the global population, had fertility rates substantially below the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman. In 2013, about 60 percent of the world's population lived in countries with subreplacement fertility rates. Capital flows among emerging economies have doubled in just 10 years, and more than 1 billion people crossed borders in 2009, over five times the figure in 1980 .
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