Our in-depth Macro Forecast to 2050 and Beyond is regularly updated and available from ESC.
- Paris climate agreement mandates further CO2 increases ⇒ further global warming unless alternative energy takes off or other solutions such as carbon capture are found.
- Oil demand to increase as population and demands for better living standards rise in developing world. Even if oil is displaced by alternative energy, it will remain essential for its multiple byproducts, including plastics(!), fertilisers and pharmaceuticals etc.
- Global population forecast to rise to ± 9.8 billion by 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100 ⇒ huge pressure on resources + immigration to the rich developing world, especially Europe ⇒ breakdown of western society if allowed ⇒ if not ⇒ Fortress Europe and Fortress USA – already underway and will intensify ⇒ intensified culture wars – a backlash from defenders of “Western Civilisation” is already underway among the working and middle class, students and even academics after dominance of “leftism” since mid-1960s.
- Constant instability and civil and international war across the Belt of Instability from Northern and Western Africa through the Middle East to China as population spirals out of control, swallowing up economic modest increase in GDP growth.
- ESC has been forecasting the demise of the West unless it gets a grip – this, however, looks unlikely.
- Adherents of the now outdated or questionable tenets of globalisation/immigration remain powerful, but in denial, allowing their “populist” and “nativist” opponents to gain the upper hand if the elite does not find acceptable solutions.
- This is already occurring in the EU to an extent, as Brussels, Paris and Berlin still talk up immigration while simultaneously tightening controls both within the EU and on and beyond its external borders, especially in Africa.
- EU could break up due to immigration (and fiscal issues) as its elites continue to be out of touch with increasing numbers of people.
- The US is basically insolvent, with a fiscal gap already over $200 trillion ⇒ no practicable solutions ⇒ the US financial system will reach breaking point as federal, state, municipal, consumer, student and housing debt etc. + unfunded liabilities go on increasing (10,000 Baby Boomers retire ever day) ⇒ ever greater strains on the Western alliance and the US global military presence due to imperial overstretch, irrespective of Trump and future White House incumbents ⇒ global meltdown far worse than 2008 if US collapses.
- China will get old before it gets rich, but has no pension system and a male to female ratio of 118:100 ⇒ massive social problems and greater aggression within China and possibly abroad.
- China could become the world’s largest Christian country ⇒ different percentages for Islam’s share of the global population in the section immediately below.
- Adherents of Islam are forecast to rise from 1.8 billion in 2015 (24% of the global population) to ± 2.76 bn by 2050 (29% of the global population).
- By 2075, Muslims could will make up 32% of the global population – the same as Christianity – and 35% of the global population by 2100 ⇒ Islam becomes the biggest religion on the planet after Christianity on 34% ⇒ huge sense of Muslim entitlement, but testosterone-fuelled young males with no jobs ⇒ huge potential for civil and international war and terrorism + huge pressure to emigrate to the rich developed world – where, if allowed entry, segregation, discrimination and, again, no jobs await them because ⇒
- AI + Quantum Computing + Robotics ⇒ Mass Unemployment at all levels of society and education, devastating upper, middle and working classes in both the developed and the developing world + Collapse in purchasing power due to few workers ⇒ Very Weak Economy with Low Demand ⇒ high risk of partial or total social, economic breakdown on top of existing political breakdown
- The pips will start to squeak as “educated” middle-class “world citizens” turn “nativist” when their income and pensions fall and their current sense of entitlement evaporates: e.g. in the academy, tenure has long since been on the retreat across the West, mini-revolt of lecturers in the UK and US are already underway. Even STEM graduates will become unemployed as computers teach, learn and program themselves.
- The standard objection to this forecast invariably comes from scientifically illiterate humanities graduates incorrectly applying inductive logic to extrapolate from the past into the future, as if things had not changed with AI: the car replaced the horse, but created millions of new jobs.
- True – but humans were needed to drive and manufacture cars.
- This has becoming less and less true since the 1960s, as Japan proved decades ago. The process is accelerating rapidly after a series of breakthroughs in AI and robotics in recent years, but the serious mass media are still very far “behind the curve.”
- Western populations are unlikely to be fobbed off with Universal Basic Income, especially if elites cannot find solutions to reduce the rage of the precariat, but continue to double down on the current policies which have led to the anger in the first place
- High risk of self-learning computers effortlessly outstripping man’s intellectual and biological capabilities and spinning out of control, especially with the coming rapid advent of quantum computing.
- AI + Quantum Computing + Robotics ⇒ solutions to hitherto unsolvable problems and remarkable advances across a whole range of disciplines ⇒ remarkable benefits in health and wealth ⇒ improved genetic engineering and medicine etc. ⇒ greater disease-free longevity, possibly to 120 or beyond – some researchers talk of lifespans of 1,000.
- Potential to solve major problems, e.g. global water and energy shortages by desalination using graphene filtration and perhaps even nuclear fusion + improved agriculture and higher yields.
- Greater wealth from large increases in output ⇒ post-scarcity society ⇒ greater opportunities for people to pursue their interests and develop their potential – if they want to ⇒ Communism? Or even greater polarisation and inequality without a fundamental reordering of Western and global politics, economy and society?
- Immigration becomes totally superfluous as AI and robots take over and render moot the main traditional economic argument for immigration ⇒ reduced salience of immigration politics ⇒ reduced social tension, but ⇒ Mass Unemployment among the indigenous population ⇒ weak demand due to low purchasing power ⇒ increased demands for Fortress Europe and USA
- Traditionally, declining populations ⇒ declines in GDP, but as output increases and Europe’s population falls ⇒ greater per capita income + smaller environmental footprint ⇒ leaves Europe, along with USA/Canada, Japan and Australasia as the richest and most progressive regions on the planet ⇒ questions of (re)distribution.