The Times Are Changing
A new study on global trends has projected that China will outpace the United States as the leading economic world power by 2030, although American will remain a world leader primarily due to a forthcoming new era in energy independence.
Russia’s clout is expected to decline severely, as will the economic strength of many other countries dependent on oil for revenue. Hegemonic power will cease to be a factor and the power base will shift to coalitions and networks in a multipolar world. The study generating these predictions, was initiated by the National Intelligence Council, and presents equal parts good and bad news, such as the spreading affluence creating a larger global middle class that is much better educated and has wider access to health care and communication technology.
“The growth of the global middle class constitutes a tectonic shift,” the study says, predicting that literally billions of people will gain new levels of individual power as they climb out of poverty. “For the first time, a majority of the world’s population will not be impoverished, and the middle classes will be the most important social and economic sector in the vast majority of countries around the world.”
Of course at the same time, it is also projected that at least half of the world’s population will be living in areas that suffer from a shortage of fresh water, leading to the need for a much more effective management of natural resources.
The study also makes the case for future terrorist attacks that are computer based, the shutting down of power grids and other infrastructure that may end up costing more lives than a traditional method of assault.
Around 15 countries are positioned at high risk of state failure by 2030, including Afghanistan, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, and Yemen.
Winners And Losers
So far the best solution against the collapse would be a growing political partnership between the US and China, although it is widely acknowledged that it would take a major crisis to bring them together, such as a nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan, something that could only be resolved by a measure of cooperation between the US and China.
Another pressing concern is that future wars in Asia and the Middle East may involve nuclear weapons. Additional demographic trends have shown that aging populations in Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan may slow down economies even further. The United States will see a benefit from domestic oil and natural gas supplies as well as the new technologies designed to tap into them. This will allow the US to become energy independent and possibly an exporter of fuel.
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