What will life be like in America, Europe, Japan or China in the year 2020?
As everyone's lives across the world are become increasingly interconnected by globalization and new technologies quicken the pace of everything, the answer to that question depends on the fate and paths of the world's major nations. In Futurecast, Robert Shapiro, former U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce and Chairman/Co-founder of Sonecon, looks into the future to tell us what our world will over the next dozen years. Though that time span seems brief, Shapiro foresees monumental changes caused by three historic new forces—globalization, the aging of societies, and the rise of America as a sole superpower with no near peer— will determine the paths of nations and the lives of countless millions. What jobs will there be for you and your children? What will happen to your health care? How safe will you be at home or abroad? Answers to these questions will depend, even more than today, on where you live in the world:
• Even as China expands its military and its economy, America will be the world's sole superpower for at least the next generation, and continue to lead efforts to preserve global security and stability.
• The U.S. and China will be the world's two indispensable economies, dominating the course of globalization.
• Globalization will continue to shift most heavy manufacturing and millions of high-end service jobs from advanced countries like the US, to China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Romania, Turkey and other developing nations.
• Europe's major nations and Japan will face the prospect of genuine economic decline and critical problems in their retirement pension systems, moving further towards the periphery of global economic and geopolitical power.
• Every major country—the U.S., Europe, Japan, China—will face critical problems with their health care systems, and the entire world will face a crisis over energy and climate change.
If one adds the wildcard of possible, catastrophic terrorist attacks to this mix, the period between now and 2020 will be as challenging as any in modern times. Taking these deep global developments into account when planning for the future isa necessity. Robert Shapiro's clear-eyed Futurecast is the knowledge portfolio you need to prepare for the years to come.
Beltway consultant, former Under Secretary of Commerce for President Clinton, editor and columnist Shapiro foresees a "new economic landscape" emerging, shaped by three great "global forces": aging populations, globalization and the legacy of the Soviet collapse will continue to shake up every country, but the United States will keep its position as top global super power, with China in second place. The U.S., whose economic system is "in sync with the current demands of globalization," maintains all the advantages in the global stage-geopolitical, demographic and military-while the economic power of European nations and Japan is sapped by over-generous pensions and other social welfare benefits meant to shield populations from globalization's effects; as such, "economic shock and sorrow" await "millions of workers" in these declining industrialized countries. Though it doesn't address the current dollar crisis or the possibility of a serious global recession, Shapiro's work is highly detailed, well researched and convincing; anyone interested in worldwide economics will find much to consider here.