Megatrends in Global Interaction - Bertelsmann Foundation (ed.) - ebook

Megatrends in Global Interaction ebook

Bertelsmann Foundation (ed.)

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We inhabit an increasingly interconnected world, yet too often policymakers and advisors view each issue in a vacuum, focusing primarily on short-term impacts. All of us - policymakers, citizens, and local and global communities - must begin to consider how the major trends that shape our world are likely to develop, and how they will intersect and influence one another. This volume is designed to explore and discuss correlations between these global trends, or megatrends: Global Governance, Demographic Change and Migration, Energy and Natural Resources, Global Security, Biodiversity, and Economic Globalization. The book's primary focus is to provide a qualitative overview of the trends, and to analyze their intersections and interdependencies in the 21st century. The authors hope it will help define some of the complex challenges and exciting opportunities to shaping a world of sustainable economies and societies.

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Bibliographic information published by the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek
The Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in theDeutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic datais available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.
© 2012 E-Book-Ausgabe (EPUB)
© E-Book-Ausgabe 2012 © 2012 Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gütersloh
Responsible: Jonathan Stevens, Ole Wintermann, Tom Fries, Anneliese Guess Copy editor: Josh Ward, Bonn
Production editor: Christiane Raffel
Cover design: Elisabeth Menke
Cover illustration: violetkaipa/Fotolia.com
Typesetting and Printing: Hans Kock Buch- und Offsetdruck GmbH, Bielefeld
ISBN : 978-3-86793-470-1
www.bertelsmann-stiftung.org/publications

www.bertelsmann-stiftung.de/verlag

Foreword
Thinking about “our global future” is often a recipe for vertigo. Although the individual words are simple, the concept is larger and more complex than we as individuals first realize. This book sets out to help us understand how to shape our global future by examining the intersecting megatrends which will greatly impact our world.
Throughout its history, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has tackled a range of major global issues, albeit most commonly in isolation from one another. This elicited the question: Could we design a project that examines our global future through the dynamic interactions among megatrends rather than by looking at each trend individually? From that simple thought experiment, this multi-year project began as an earnest attempt to create a different prism through which tomorrow’s world could be viewed.
We selected six megatrends for analysis, each chosen through a process of prioritization. We do not portend that these megatrends are the only issues that matter, but we feel that each is particularly important in shaping our global future. One chapter is devoted to each megatrend, and each chapter’s author defines the current state of that megatrend and examines its potential interactions with other megatrends in the future. Thanks to the excellent work of Michael Mandelbaum, who wrote the introduction, and Nigel Holmes, who designed the infographics, we can review and reflect upon the interactions between megatrends from a macro level.
This book would not have been possible without the assistance of our partners. We wish to thank the Rockefeller Foundation for its generous support of the project even before it launched. Their advice has allowed us to think big in terms of the dissemination and distribution of the ideas presented here. We are also grateful to the Searchlight grantees, who have contributed ideas and perspectives from their regions around the world. We must, as this book shows, move beyond thinking locally if we are to cooperate and cohabitate on this planet, and develop a truly comprehensive view of the future.
Special thanks go to our own trans-Atlantic staff. The Future Challenges teams in Germany and Washington, DC, consistently overcame linguistic and time-zone issues. More often than not, they turned their differences into strengths.
This project took the efforts of many to create. We hope it enriches and engages you, and encourages you to think and act in ways that secure a better future.
Aart de GeusMember of the Executive Board May 28th, 2012
Andreas EscheDirector, Measuring Globalization Effects
Table of Contents
Title Page
Copyright Page
Foreword
Introduction
Demographics and Migration
1 The 21st Century: A Historic Turning Point
3 Interactions with Other Megatrends and How They Will Affect the Consequences ...
References
Global Security
1 Introduction
2 The Decline of State – and the Rise of Personal – Warfare
3 The Bioterrorism Threat
4 The Cyber Threat
5 The Current State of Governance
6 Interactions with Other Megatrends
References
Biodiversity and Climate Change
1 Introduction
2 Current and Future Biodiversity Trends
3 Interdependencies Between Megatrends
4 Reform Recommendations
References
Energy and Natural Resources
1 Introduction and Organization of the Chapter
2 Basic Concepts in Energy and Natural-Resource Use and Availability
3 2010 – 2030: Limited Options
6 Energy Trends, Impacts and Implications for Other Megatrends
7 Energy and Natural Resource Availability and Use, 2010 – 2100: An Overview
References
Appendix
Economic Globalization
1 Introduction
2 The Current State of Economic Globalization
3 Future Trends in Globalization
4 Governance of Economic Globalization
5 Interdependencies among the Megatrends
6 Conclusions
References
Global Governance
1 Introduction
2 Contemporary Trends in Global Governance
3 Four Scenarios for the Next 20 Years
4 Connection to Other Megatrends
5 National Governance in the Context of Global Governance
6 The 50-Year View
References
Conclusion
Contributors
Introduction
Michael Mandelbaum
Ever since the ancient Greeks consulted the oracle at Delphi for portents of what was to come, humans have sought to know the future. The future is the place, after all, to which we all aspire to emigrate. We have a natural interest in what we hope will be our home.
The future, in its precise details, is unknowable. Prediction is an art – and an uncertain, erratic, unreliable one at that – not a science. But the world of the decades to come is not completely opaque. While we cannot know everything about that world, we can be reasonably confident about some things. We cannot know what will happen, but we can have a good idea of what can happen, what may happen and even what is more likely than not actually to happen.
For example, the self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor on December 17, 2010, which led to political upheavals that removed or threatened long-ruling dictatorships in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya and Syria, could not have been and, indeed, was not predicted – certainly not by those with the highest stakes in these events, the regimes that were toppled. But the conditions in which these uprisings took place and that made them possible – stagnant economies, large numbers of young people with no prospects in life and oppressive, corrupt, illegitimate governments – could have been, and were, observed, described and even measured. The specific spark that touched off what became known as the Arab Spring could not have been foreseen; the kindling that fueled it could have been and was, in fact, well-documented. The future is created by human choices within a context established by broad social and economic forces. The choices are frequently surprising, but the context is not. The context until the midpoint of the 21st century and beyond will be, in no small part, the product of six major global trends. They are the subjects of this book.
Its first chapter, written by Jack Goldstone, concerns demography. This is the most reliably predictable of all the six trends. Many of the inhabitants of the world four decades hence are already alive, and the number that will join them during that period can be forecast with considerable accuracy because birth and death rates change only very slowly. The size and distribution of the world’s population will be determined, as the chapter shows, by the consequences of the great demographic transition now under way, in which birthrates and death rates both decline. Where the transition is most advanced, in the rich countries, populations will both age and shrink. (The United States will be a partial exception. In 2050, Americans will be older than they are now on average, but there will be more of them.) Where its effects are only beginning to be felt, in poorer countries, populations will continue to grow, in some places rapidly. The great shifts of population from younger to older age cohorts and among different countries will, as the author shows, reconfigure our world in ways that give rise to new social and economic challenges with which governments will have to grapple. Between now and the year 2050, we will see unprecedented increases in older groups demanding pensions and health care in the rich countries, a huge youth surge in the very poorest countries, and the emergence of billions of new consumers in markets for food, energy, manufactures and services in the successful developing countries. The numbers of those seeking international migration and of swelling new and existing urban centers will likely increase dramatically as well.
In the next chapter, Benjamin Wittes writes about one of the most pressing security challenges the world will have to face: the wider distribution and lower cost of technologies that have benign but also destructive uses. The fissionable material on which nuclear power reactors run but which is also crucial for nuclear weapons is the most dramatic example, but not the only one. Biology produces both medical miracles and deadly pathogens. Cybertechnology connects the world but can also disrupt, at great cost, the many connections it creates. Where once the greatest threat to people and property came from the large, well-organized military forces fielded by sovereign states, Wittes argues, in future decades, the chief danger may come instead from disaffected, resourceful, determined individuals and small groups.
The reduction of biodiversity – the existence of variation within individual species and of many different distinct species – is the third trend the book examines. It has, as Wolfgang Cramer and Katrin Vohland note, a variety of causes: the reclamation of land for farming and human habitation, deforestation, environmental pollution and, not least, climate change. Since the future benefits of endangered plant and animal species cannot be known, the cost of their disappearance cannot be calculated with any certainty. But these costs, counted in benefits lost, could be very high indeed.
In the book’s fourth chapter, Stephen P. A. Brown and Joel Darmstader assess the future of the planet’s natural resources, with an emphasis on those devoted to producing energy. Energy’s economic role may be compared to the part oxygen plays in human life. Like oxygen, energy is indispensable. Unlike oxygen, however, it is not free, and since the inhabitants of the planet use so much of it, the world’s energy future will have an enormous impact on its economic future. Moreover, since the consumption of what are overwhelmingly the most popular energy resources, fossil fuels, has powerful, if not entirely predictable, effects on the Earth’s atmosphere – and, above all, on the planet’s temperature – the pattern of energy usage will affect human and all life forms in ways that extend beyond economics.
Economic globalization, as Scott Barrett writes in his chapter on the subject, involves the integration of markets of all kinds throughout the world. By some accounts, globalization has been the dominant feature of international affairs in the last two decades. The ever-larger cross-border flows of goods, money and people are often said to be both inevitable and benign. As Barrett writes, globalization is not necessarily either. In previous eras, globalization has stalled and even declined; global markets have actually disintegrated. And where integration does take place, the consequences are usually complicated and mixed, varying from market to market, from country to country and from one period to another. The one thing that is all but certain about globalization is that the world will have to cope with these diverse consequences in the decades ahead.
One way that it will attempt to do so is through the mechanism of global governance, the subject of the book’s sixth and final chapter by Bruce D. Jones, with Andrew Hart. The term global governance refers to the arrangements for dealing with issues that transcend national borders. The chapter canvasses the forms it may take in the first half of the 21st century.
Each of the trends described in the pages that follow will have a major impact on the social, economic and political life of the planet in the four decades to come: hence the title of the book – Megatrends in Global Interaction. Each of the essays describing them provides an overview of their major features and may therefore be seen as a briefing on its particular subject. Each essay, moreover, describes the likely interactions between its subject and the other five megatrends. And closely interrelated they are: The number of people in the world, for example, will do much to influence the amount of energy consumed globally, which will in turn help determine whether many species survive or vanish and how fast the world’s national economies are able to grow.
Together, the chapters provide a picture of the world’s future. It is not, and cannot be, a detailed picture. It is like a house glimpsed from a distance. The street number, the design of the doors and windows, and the color the walls are painted cannot be clearly seen. But the shape of the building is discernible.
The six megatrends described in this book will do a great deal to determine the shape of the human future. The descriptions of them that follow offer as valuable a guide to that future as is available from the inevitably limited evidence of the present.
Demographics and Migration
Jack A. Goldstone

1 The 21st Century: A Historic Turning Point

The first half of the 21st century will be truly historic in terms of global population trends. The dominant trends of the last 50 or even 200 years will be reversed and, in some respects, such as population aging and urbanization, we will see conditions that have never existed in human history.
This paper discusses six major trends in global population that will likely pose significant challenges to global peace and prosperity in the coming decades. These are:
1. a marked slowdown or even reversal of growth in the advanced industrialized nations;
2. a concentration of large, youthful populations on the move in an “arc of instability” reaching from southern Africa through the Middle East as well as South and Southeast Asia;
3. the rapid aging of societies in Europe, North America and East Asia;
4. increased migration flows, both voluntary and involuntary, within and across national boundaries, with ever-larger migration from developing to developed countries;
5. increasing urbanization, especially in China, India and Africa; and
6. the concentration of near-term population growth in regions with relatively poor populations, fragile or ineffective governments, and especially high vulnerability to climate change.
For the most part, these trends cannot be altered by any reasonably practical means during the next two to three decades, except at the margins. Most of these trends are already “built in” to existing populations as a result of the mortality and fertility trends of the last 30 years. However, the consequences of these trends have yet to be determined; these will depend in large measure on shifts in the other areas covered in this volume. For example, the increase of urban populations of China, India and Africa – which will drive the world’s urban population to likely double, increasing by almost 3 billion, in the next 40 years – represents a marked shift in lifestyles and patterns of employment, residence, transport and energy use (centralized versus decentralized). But whether this shift results in much greater efficiencies of energy production and consumption, or simply a huge increase in both, depends on what use is made of technological opportunities and innovations in the area of energy and natural resource use.
Age structures
The key to understanding the implications of these six major global population trends is that the problems likely to arise are not simply the result of changes in the total number of people in the world. Rather, the critical issues will arise from the distribution of population – that is, where the growth is occurring and where people will live: in cities or towns; in richer or poorer countries; under stable or unstable governments; in environmentally resilient or fragile regions. The real dangers arise from population distortions in which populations grow too young, too old, too fast, too urbanized or too mobile for the prevailing economic and administrative institutions in specific countries to maintain stable socialization, labor-force absorption and social welfare (Goldstone 2002; Cincotta, Engelman and Anastasion 2003; Leahy et al. 2007).

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