Long-Range Forecasts: April 2012
(High Probability/High Impact)
1. Accelerating Climate Change – Can expect intensification of global and national public policy rift (Deniers vs. Moderates vs. “Green” Activists); mind-boggling cost estimates; ever-greater acrimony and peril -
“Climate change is one of the greatest wealth generating opportunities of our generation.” Sir Richard Branson (www.creatingclimatewealth.com)
2. Expansion of Entrepreneurial Capitalism – Can expect intensification of national public policy rift (Status Quo Defenders vs. Venture Capital Enthusiasts); ever-greater Generational Divide and intense power struggle.
“Entrepreneurship is our central comparative advantage. … company cultures must embrace insecurity and disruption as enablers … a connected world cannot be controlled.” Carl J. Schramm, The Entrepreneurial Imperative (2006)
3. Tougher Competition from State Capitalism – Can expect Political Elites to increasingly use large and profitable State-run Corporations and massive Sovereign Wealth Funds to entrench their power and rig markets for political gain (China, Egypt, India, Russia, Saudi Arabia etc.) … major threat to strength of free-market principles and human rights. Undermines R&D and creativity.
“They want access to better accounting and more transparency. We have it. This know-how over time makes us more indispensable to China …” Ian Bremmer, President, Eurasia Group; The Futurist, May-June 2010; pp. 29-31
4. Expansion of Personal “Bubble of Intelligence” – Can expect cloud empowerment from voice-aided Personal Intelligence Agent; 24/7 advice and support. Promotes factual equality-of-sorts, though lofts value of ingenuity.
5. Persistence of militant Islamic Terrorism – Can expect attacks from al-Qaeda and global jihadists; complicates our strategic pact with Saudi Arabia against Iran; assures a volatile Middle East, and oil supply uncertainty. Countered somewhat by unexpected rise of USA energy surplus (Natural gas/shale oil).
6. Expansion of Nanotechnology Uses – Can expect revolutionary materials and “robobot” delivery systems; capacity to alter almost everything!. THE next Great Revolution, though much remains to be learned (and safeguarded).
Prepared by Arthur B. Shostak, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Drexel University; feedback welcomed at firstname.lastname@example.org