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How the world will look at mid-century

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The demand for predicting the future seems to grow rapidly in periods of crisis. Currently, long-term forecasts are emerging from every quarter. I would like to incorporate some of these projections while venturing my own for what the world would look like in 2050 — primarily from the viewpoint of power.

Population and GDP trends will bear the most direct influence on national power. Based on the 2017 Revision of the U.N. World Population Prospects, India, China, Nigeria, the United States, Indonesia, Pakistan and Brazil appear set to become the world’s “G7” in terms of population by 2050.

Meanwhile, according to The Economist Intelligence Unit’s 2015 long-term macroeconomic forecast, the world’s major economic powers of 2050 will be China, the U.S., India, Indonesia, Japan, Germany and Brazil, in that order.

By then China, the U.S., and India will have emerged as the world’s three big powers — although the U.S. will maintain its strategic and military ascendance over China and India. In the eyes of the world, however, the U.S. may well have transformed from a “predictable stabilizer” to an “uncertain variable,” or even a “disruptive force.” The greatest threats to American power will be internal.

The same will be true of China. In the 2030s, the Chinese government will likely reorient the course of Xi Jinping’s policies to consolidate external hegemony and internal autocracy. Debt and population decline will drag the feet of China’s economic growth, and the government may prove unable to halt the overseas flight of Chinese elites.

By then,........

© The Japan Times