I just read a thought provoking book about forecasting the 21st century. It is titled, The Next 100 Years: A forecast of the 21st Century, by George Friedman. Friedman is the CEO of Stratfor a private intelligence and forecasting company located in Austin, Texas. Barron’s has labeled Stratfor the “Shadow CIA”. They have a web site and paid subscription news blog that post several times a day events happening around the world. I have been a subscriber for several years now and read more insight into what is happening in the world than what you get out of the best newspapers.
Mr. Friedman has written a scenario of how the world might look over the next century. It is a very good book and will help you put things into perspective from a geopolitical basis. The major take aways for me are as follows:
First, a lot of the major issues in the news today will become background noise over the next 100 years. For example, the jihadist movement and Afghanistan.
Second, there will be a population bust in the developed countries. As a country transforms into a manufacturing and technology economy from an agrarian one, the birth rate declines. The world needs 2.1 births per woman for a stable population. Per the United Nations in 1970 there were 4.5 children born worldwide. In 2000 the number was 2.7 children born worldwide. In 2050 it is projected that there will be 2.05 children born worldwide. Less than the 2.1 births required to maintain the worlds population. For the U.S. this means that immigration will take up the slack in the low birth rates.
Third, space based weapons will be the next big thing. And finally, Mexico will be a major global power and will go to war with the United States.
All these scenarios and a few more get you to thinking about how important are the issues of the day when looked through a longer lens. He may not be right, but, he can’t be all wrong!
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