Friday, December 25, 2009

10 Things The World is Expecting in 2010 and Beyond


On Christmas Day 2009, Canada's National Post e-paper, had the following headline: Storm Clouds Ahead for America. In that article they make reference to a U.S. National Intelligence Council report on global trends presented to president-elect Obama about 20 days prior to his taking office. In that report, the experts looked ahead to the year 2025. And what do they see? In two words, "profound change". Here are the highlights:

1. U.S. economic and political clout will decline. So it should you might say, but consider who's clout will replace it and whether you really want that or not. The report concludes that the world may well become a more dangerous place (nothing new here). The National Post indicates that the U.S. lost US$40-trillion as a result of the 2008 global recession and brought its public debt to somewhere between 60-80% of its Gross Domestic Product (compared to about 42% prior to the hit). In 2009, it is predicted the U.S. deficit will grow even higher percentage-wise. Many countries are thinking of dropping the U.S. Dollar as a standard of comparison or as a medium of exchange for their own currencies.

2. Food, water and energy will be in short-supply worldwide. Expected you say, but can we deal with the local, national, and international conflicts that these shortages will give rise to? Why, because by 2025, mass migrations will start to occur from the areas where these shortages exist first to those areas that still have these resources. Then it will only be a matter of time, till they too will be in a shortage situation.

3. Most will give up on trying to terrorize the world, but those that stick with it will become more "deadly and dangerous thanks to new technology" according to the report. To me that means more surprises, with less chance of protection or prevention.

4. Now I really like this next one; read each word carefully: "The international system . . . will be almost unrecognizable by 2025" says the report. Think about that. What exactly are they predicting? Well for starters, China and India will become bigger if not the biggest players (with clout). I'm worried about China politically and India economically. This will all happen in a new "global economy" as compared to national economies now which impact other countries. By 2025, and I predict perhaps earlier, many countries of any significance will be part of a single economy whose actions are determined by a single body rather than each country's financial and political heads or governments. (Just look at what the G-8 and now the G-20 have been up to lately.) And if that's not enough, to be 'nice team players', all the world powers will make decisions that will dramatically transfer wealth and economic power from West to East. Please keep in mind that there is only so much wealth and economic power available to transfer, and when the East gets more, the West has less. That will change your standard of living and mine. Don't believe for a moment that the new order will produce more wealth for everyone. It won't. This process has been going on for several years now and the gap between rich and poor is growing, not lessening in North America. Eventually, the rich may be impacted as well, as more Easterners take over the running of the global economy.

5. The report also predicts a great (or should that be 'greater') "arc of instability" from Africa to Middle East to the Balkans, to the South and Central Americas. When instability occurs, one entity decides to flex its muscles, the other tries to defend itself or seeks protection. Third parties, with legitimate and/or illegitimate interests, get involved. Wars flourish, deaths occur, millions are spent by all sides. And worse still, world peace becomes elusive once more, or should I say, still.

6. Another prediction (and we've seen it already in the form of Pharmaceutical companies and their power when it comes to dealing with global viruses or insurance companies with respect to Health Care) is that the power or influence of non-governmental entities like businesses, tribes, religious organizations, and criminal networks will increase. They will do so in order to protect their interests and existence.

7. Organizations like, and especially, the United Nations will become more and more lame. That's already the case as the U.N. is now plagued with the veto power of just a few opposing members and with the lack of will to make a difference. With such organizations failing, with the rise of non-democratic states with clout, and the failure of democratic states to be able to influence areas of instability, the overall degree of democracy in the world will decrease greatly. The alternative may not be exactly what some of us are looking for.

9. As the U.S. shrinks in influence, it's economic state of the nation will get worse and then the U.S. will have to make serious decisions pitting domestic policy priorities vs. foreign policy ones. The implications for the rest of the world will be that the rising powers of China and India, along with their ideological partners, will be able to push the world around (true enough, perhaps like the States did for decades, but from a different frame of reference -- democracy being the end goal of the U.S. vs. totalitarianism or a form thereof of other key players).

10. And finally, the Revolutionary Age. What does that mean? Listen to Joshua Cooper Ramo in his book The Age of the Unthinkable. "What we face," he says, "isn't one single shift or revolution, like the end of World War Two or the collapse of the Soviet Union or a financial crisis, so much as an avalanche of ceaseless change. We are entering a revolutionary age." That can be very scary or it can be, as it is for me, just what the "Doctor" ordered if you believe in the existence of of Grand Designer Creator who is still very much in charge of the Universe and this world we live in.

But wait, there's more. Listen to Francis Fukuyama, a former U.S. State Department Director who 20 years ago said, "In watching the flow of events over the past decade or so, it is hard to avoid the feeling that something very fundamental has happened in world history . . .What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government."

Surprise. I don't think so. The complete opposite is about to happen, according to the report on the future, given to Obama. History is far from being ended. It is entering what the National Post refers to as "a dramatic new age of complex and unpredictable change" whose sheer "enormity and speed . . . have already overwhelmed much of the U.S. Intelligence Council's analysis." The report was basically written in 2008 prior to the big hit the U.S. experienced in its economy recently. While it predicted a slow loss in U.S. influence over 15 years, the recent crisis accelerated the schedule, even to the point that some believe that for the U.S. much of what was predicted for 2025 is already present, the rest can only make the present worse.

In summary, History is ending; transition has begun; and HIStory is about to be fulfilled. You can watch with fear and trembling trying desperately to save what you have or you can see it as the fulfillment of divine prophecy. It's your call how you see it, but either way, she's a coming!

-- Ken Godevenos, Presentalogist (telling you what you need to know for the future, now). Follow me on: http://www.twitter.com/pappou )

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