Every four years the U.S. National Intelligence Council (NIC) publishes a report which predicts the economic, social and global future of the world. Last month, the NIC published their report of what the next twenty to thirty years is likely to hold.
The NIC predicts there will be weak economic growth in the next twenty years because economies will still be recovering from the 2008-‘09 financial crisis, and because of technological advancements, forcing the workforce to decrease. Due to the lack of jobs and an increase in technological advancements, there will be a push for globalization in the West. On the other hand, the NIC predicts that China will experience an economic shift from trade and investment to a consumer driven economy.
With regards to social class, middle-class westerners will be hit hard because of automation, but technological advancements will decrease the cost of consumer goods and provide better opportunities for poorer countries. The NIC predicts that wealthier countries such as China and Russia will have a shrinking working-age population, but that there will be an increase in the working-age populations in poorer regions such as Africa and South Asia.
Due to the future economic situation, it is predicted there will be an increase in migration flow since people will be looking for a better economic environment and more job opportunities. That being said, the NIC predicts there will be a decline in poverty because automation will improve living conditions in poorer countries.
When it comes to technology, not only is it expected to impact the economy and the workforce, but to also change the way world powers interact with each other. Technological advancements will further dictate which countries are world powers, and which countries are not.
The accessibility people will have to technology will also causes a shift in the way conflict is dealt with between different countries. It is predicted that there will be an increase in mass production of nuclear weapons, along with an increase in cyber attacks against different governments. Robotic advancements are also predicted to play a role in conflict between different world powers, since robots will be able to destroy infrastructure from great distances.
The NIC predicts that a lack of economic growth, and the increase of technological advancements, will negatively impact governing bodies. Specifically, it predicts that the United States will no longer be a world power and that the world will see an end of democracy. In their report, it is forecast that governments will be more polarized and have weaker administrations. Governments will have difficulties meeting their citizens’ wants and needs with regards to security and economic prosperity, which will cause an increase in the public’s distrust of them and an increase in protests and extremism. This will make it harder for governments to govern over their constituents, and it is predicted that the world will experience a political shift from democratic rule to populistic and nationalistic ones instead.
According to the NIC, populism will emerge in parts of Asia along with the West. An increase in populism will result from hostility on behalf of citizens towards their government, first-class elites and towards growing globalization. It is predicted that there will also be an increase of nationalism in China, Turkey and Russia causing possible religious instability in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
In sum, the NIC predicts that the world will have many political and economic shifts in the next decade. Technological advancements will negatively affect the workforce and play a factor in the shifts of both government and the economy. As we go into the next ten years it will be interesting to see how these predictions pan out.