Guest post by Brian J. Grim & Brian W. Walsh, Forbes.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership, long a priority of administrations from both parties, highlights how the world’s economy is shifting in multiple ways. The United States is still the world’s largest economy, but today two Asian countries—neither historically nor majority Christian—have the second and third largest economies. The Pacific Rim as a whole, one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse regions on earth, is now also one of the most economically dynamic.
The strength of the global economy has become religiously diverse, and this diversity will only increase in the next few decades. According to a new study released today by the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation (of which one of us, Brian Grim, is president), the globe’s growing religious diversity is likely to be one of the 21st century’s most important developments for businesses and policymakers around the world. Burgeoning religious populations with greater wealth will have greater political influence, and this has the potential to either undermine or enhance social stability and economic strength.
To navigate this new economic landscape well—and to ensure continued economic growth—it will be vital that national and business leaders emphasize the protection of minority groups’ human rights, especially the rights and liberties of all religious groups. Government protection for the dignity and freedoms of all religious groups is the only way to ensure the full economic participation and prosperity of these groups as they also interact in new ways.
By 2050, only one of the five leading economies is projected to have a majority Christian population
According to the study, “Changing religion, changing economies,” more wealth will accumulate with the religious than the religiously unaffiliated in the next century. This is largely because, worldwide, religious populations are projected to outgrow religiously unaffiliated populations 23 times over between 2010 and 2050.