Robert O. Moderated — Future trajectories of migration and issues policy makers will face. William Inboden Moderated — American Decline. The World in Are we on the path to convergence or divergence? The Rise of the Rest; Decline of the West? On the one hand, we see the potential for greater individual initiative as key to solving the mounting global challenges over the next 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.
The diffusion of power among countries will have a dramatic impact by Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power, based upon GDP, population size, military spending, and technological investment. China alone will probably have the largest economy, surpassing that of the United States a few years before In a tectonic shift, the health of the global economy increasingly will be linked to how well the developing world does—more so than the traditional West.
In addition to China, India, and Brazil, regional players such as Colombia, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa, and Turkey will become especially important to the global economy. Meanwhile, the economies of Europe, Japan, and Russia are likely to continue their slow relative declines.
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The shift in national power may be overshadowed by an even more fundamental shift in the nature of power. Enabled by communications technologies, power will shift toward multifaceted and amorphous networks that will form to influence state and global actions. Those countries with some of the strongest fundamentals—GDP, population size, etc. We believe that in the world of —a world in which a growing global population will have reached somewhere close to 8. These trends are: aging—a tectonic shift for both for the West and increasingly most developing countries; a still-significant but shrinking number of youthful societies and states; migration, which will increasingly be a cross-border issue; and growing urbanization—another tectonic shift, which will spur economic growth but could put new strains on food and water resources.
Aging countries will face an uphill battle in maintaining their living standards. Demand for both skilled and unskilled labor will spur global migration. Owing to rapid urbanization in the developing world, the volume of urban construction for housing, office space, and transport services over the next 40 years could roughly equal the entire volume of such construction to date in world history.
Demand for food, water, and energy will grow by approximately 35, 40, and 50 percent respectively owing to an increase in the global population and the consumption patterns of an expanding middle class. Climate change will worsen the outlook for the availability of these critical resources.
Climate change analysis suggests that the severity of existing weather patterns will intensify, with wet areas getting wetter and dry and arid areas becoming more so. We are not necessarily headed into a world of scarcities, but policymakers and their private sector partners will need to be proactive to avoid such a future. Agriculture is highly dependent on accessibility to adequate sources of water as well as on energy-rich fertilizers.
Hydropower is a significant source of energy for some regions while new sources of energy—such as biofuels—threaten to exacerbate the potential for food shortages.