The world of 2030 will be radically transformed from our world today. By 2030, no country—whether the US, China, or any other large country—will be a hegemonic power. The empowerment of individuals and diffusion of power among states and from states to informal networks will have a dramatic impact, largely reversing the historic rise of the West since 1750, restoring Asia’s weight in the global economy, and ushering in a new era of “democratization” at the international and domestic level.
addition to individual empowerment and the
diffusion of state power, we believe that two
other megatrends will shape our world out to
2030: demographic patterns, especially rapid
aging; and growing resource demands which,
in the cases of food and water, might lead to
scarcities. These trends, which are virtually
certain, exist today, but during the next 15-20
years they will gain much greater momentum.
Underpinning the megatrends are tectonic
shifts—critical changes to key features of our
global environment that will affect how the
world “works” (see table on page v).
Extrapolations of the megatrends would alone point
to a changed world by 2030—but the world could
be transformed in radically different ways.
believe that six key game-changers—questions
regarding the global economy, governance, conflict,
regional instability, technology, and the role of the
United States—will largely determine what kind of
transformed world we will inhabit in 2030. Several
potential Black Swans—discrete events—would
cause large-scale disruption (see page xi).
All but two
of these—the possibility of a democratic China or a
reformed Iran—would have negative repercussions.
Based upon what we know about the megatrends and
the possible interactions between the megatrends and
the game-changers, we have delineated four archetypal
futures that represent distinct pathways for the world
out to 2030.
None of these alternative worlds is
inevitable. In reality, the future probably will consist of
elements from all the scenarios.
MEGATRENDS AND RELATED
MEGATREND 1: INDIVIDUAL EMPOWERMENT
Individual empowerment will accelerate substantially
during the next 15-20 years owing to poverty reduction
and a huge growth of the global middle class, greater
educational attainment, and better health care. The
growth of the global middle class constitutes a tectonic
shift: 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. Individual empowerment is the most important
megatrend because it is both a cause and effect of
most other trends—including the expanding global
economy, rapid growth of the developing countries,
and widespread exploitation of new communications
and manufacturing technologies.
On the one hand,
we see the potential for greater individual initiative as
key to solving the mounting global challenges over the
next 15-20 years. On the other hand, in a tectonic shift,
individuals and small groups will have greater access
to lethal and disruptive technologies (particularly
precision-strike capabilities, cyber instruments, and
bioterror weaponry), enabling them to perpetrate
large-scale violence—a capability formerly the
monopoly of states.
Η ΣΥΝΕΧΕΙΑ ΕΔΩ