The U.S. National Intelligence Council recently issued a report, directed
at national leaders; "Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World". Would you
believe, the Executive Summary is about eight pages long? Few senior people
have enough patience to wade through that. Fortunately, a lot of what was in
the report was fairly obvious for anyone that's been paying attention.
But the main
points are that by 2025, the post-World War II international system will be
revolutionized, as new players, like Brazil, Russia, India and China, will have
a seat at the international high table. This is a "Duh." Russia's been a player since 1945. China and
then India joined up by the '90s, and Brazil, well, there's a saying "Brazil
will always have a bright future"
unprecedented transfer of wealth roughly from West to East now under way will
continue for the foreseeable future. But beyond 2025, Russia and China face
some serious demographic problems. China's "one child" policy (to
halt population growth), and the unanticipated appearance of cheap sonograms
(enabling parents to determine the gender of their child while there was still
time for an abortion) has caused an imbalance in the gender ratio. There are
now 115 boys for every 100 girls. Young men are having a problem finding wives.
Wealthier urban males attract more women from the rural areas (where 70 percent
of Chinese still live), leaving a lot of lonely, poor and angry young men in
the countryside. The smaller generations means that the proportion of elderly (made
wealthier and healthier by the booming economy) is skyrocketing, while the
workforce is shrinking. Both these trends are bad, and will have negative
social and economic impacts. India has the same gender imbalance problem, but a
growing population that contains a higher proportion of poor people than in
China. Not good.
economic growth, and a global population that has 1.5 billion more people, will
put pressure on resources. There's not enough energy, food, and water to
support the rising expectations of the growing middle class in China and India.
East remains a source of conflict. The social, economic, political and
religious crises within the Islamic community will have to be resolved,
somehow, before the threat subsides. Meanwhile, the spread of nuclear weapons
makes future conflicts within the Middle East more dangerous.