Students were able to get a sneak peak this week at one of the reports used to debrief the incoming president every election cycle before it is even published.
Co-sponsored by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures and the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy, Counselor to the National Intelligence Council (NIC) Matt Burrows highlighted some of the possible global trends affecting international relations over the next 20 years.
The Global Trends Reports, issued by the NIC, are used to brief the incoming president every four years in December after the national election. This year’s report, with projections through 2030, relies on the International Futures System (IFs) developed by Josef Korbel School faculty member Dr. Barry Hughes.
“IFs is unique in that it gives us the ability to project in a lot of different realms that other models don’t,” said Burrows, mentioning the diversity of dimensions used to inform IFs projection models.
Some of the megatrends noted included a move towards a middle class world and with it an empowerment of the individual, coupled with a diffusion of global power. These trends produced three “alternative futures,” the most likely of which is a move towards international political fragmentation in an absence of political will to cooperate on global issues. Other possibilities included the pessimistic “zero-sum” crisis future, and a more optimistic “fusion” at the center of which would be a U.S.-China accommodation.
But all long term projections are only possibilities, and not written in stone.
“We talk more about uncertainty than trends that provide continuity,” said Burrows. What seems pretty clear, however, is the growth of the consumption power of new middle classes around the world, meaning a shifting of economic power holders, and a decrease in the U.S. hold over markets in the coming decades.
Past Global Trends Reports can be accessed here.
-Sarah Crozier, MA Candidate, International Development
Josef Korbel School of International Studies