Stalled Engines

In the previous blog post on Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds we looked at the four possible future models of the world out to 2030 – the alternative worlds portion of the study. As the title of the National Intelligence Council’s (NIC) capstone publication suggests, this look at possible alternative worlds is the essence of the study. The NIC’s companion report to Global Trends 2030, entitled Le Menu, provides the Cliff’s Notes description of this first alternative world; Stalled Engines:

“The United States and Europe are no longer capable or interested in sustained global leadership. Corruption, social unrest, a weak financial system, and chronically poor infrastructures slow growth rates in the developing world. The global governance system is unable to cope with a widespread pandemic: rich countries wall themselves off from many poor countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. By disrupting international travel and trade, the severe pandemic helps to stall out, but does not kill globalization.”

Stalled Engines is the most plausible worst-case scenario presented in the GT2030 study and, in a sentence, is one in which “all boats sink.” However, this all-too-brief description doesn’t tell us enough about the details of this alternative worlds scenario, and we need to peel the onion a bit more to understand its potential implications more fully.

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