VERY long-range forecasts may seem an exercise in irrelevance. But they are a useful reminder of the economic and demographic factors that keep grinding away in the background. The OECD, a think-tank, has made projections for 2060 (at constant purchasing-power parities) which show the impact of fast catch-up growth in underdeveloped countries with big populations. Economic power will tilt even more decisively away from the rich world than many realise. See the chart here.