This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

December 24, 2008

Global Changes Challenge the Planet

A recent report from the United States National Intelligence Council of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) states we are facing changes that society is probably not ready for.

By the year 2025, "the accelerating pace of globalization and the emergence of new powers will produce "a world order" vastly different from the system in place for most of the post-World War II era", the study outlines.

Their report, titled “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World” projects a still-preeminent US joined by fast-developing powers, notably India and China, on top of a multipolar international system. In the near-term, the world is headed for increased probability of conflict over scarce resources, including food and water, and the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons. Widening gaps in birth rates and wealth-to-poverty ratios between the developed and the developing countries along with the uneven impact of climate change, could further aggravate pressures.

  • Muslim states outside the Arab core, notably Turkey and Indonesia, and perhaps even a post-clerical Iran, could take on expanded roles in the new international order.

  • Women in much of Asia and Latin America are achieving higher levels of education than men, a trend that is particularly significant in this human capital-intensive global economy.

  • As governments fail to provide basic security and other services, some states in parts of Africa and South Asia may disappear.

  • By 2025, a worldwide shift to a new technology that replaces oil will be under way or accomplished.

  • The US dollar's role will shrink to "first-among-equals" among key world currencies.

  • The likelihood that nuclear weapons will be used will increase with expanded access to technology and a widening range of options for limited strikes.

  • The impact of climate change will be uneven, with some Northern economies profiting from longer growing seasons and improved access to resource reserves.

Clearly, education will be the driving force in addressing these significant challenges. We are less convinced than ODNI of the ability of the US with its current system to compete globally against India and China.

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