Alaska is in something of a "sweet spot" these days as we benefit from
what I call the "Three Rights" of export success: We are in the Right Place, at the Right Time, with the Right Commodities.
Alaska has always been blessed by its geographic location. Our strategic location on the Pacific Rim has placed us along the "great circle" route for marine shipping between Asia and North America.
Location has also enabled Anchorage to become one of the most important air cargo hubs in the world, poised, as it is, equidistance between Asia, Europe and North America. Add to this, we are neighbors on the Pacific Rim with some of the world's fastest growing economies and most rapidly growing populations. All of this puts us at the Right Place on the map.
Political and economic transformation during the past several decades has resulted in formerly centrally planned economies becoming more or less free market in nature, in some cases, now allowing private ownership of property, companies and resources. With this has come the establishment of commercial laws and recourse. Some countries are now permitting, if not encouraging, foreign direct investment in their resources and industries. At the same time, major Asian countries with huge currency reserves are scouring the world's natural resource jurisdictions to secure vital supplies and, increasingly, to also invest in the projects that produce these supplies.
Economic liberalization and modernization has led to the hundreds of millions of people migrating from the rural areas of their countries to the major cities, attracted by jobs and other opportunities to raise their standard of living. Consider China and India, two Asian giants who are leading the wave of urban expansion: According to McKinsey and Company, by 2025, China will add 400 million people to its urban population and India will see 215 million new residents to its cities. This mass movement of people from the countryside to the cities is unprecedented. The same report notes that never before in history have two of the largest nations (in terms of population) urbanized at the same time, and at such a rapid pace.
These developments have lifted many people out of poverty and, in the process, created billions of new consumers. Brookings Institution reports that between 2005 and 2010, sustained economic growth in emerging markets around the world has enabled nearly half a billion people to rise from poverty levels. They note that...