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Four Possible Futures

unknownfutureThere are at least four major views of how governments are likely to lead the world in the decades ahead and what we can expect of the 2st Century.

I’ve written about this before, but it bears repeating because not enough people are thinking about it.

Here are the four possible futures:

1. Another U.S. Century: In this view nations will focus on high government regulation and coercion (at home and abroad). Local governments and international entities will be weak and national governments will continue to lead. Business will have little power.

2. A China and Europe Century: In this option nations will focus on regional security alliances. Local governments will be strong, national governments will be weakened and regional alliances of nations will dominate. Business will have moderate power.

3. A Corporate Century: In this alternative many big nations will break into smaller states (following the trend of the Soviet break-up) and major corporations will increase in influence economically and politically. Local, national and international governmental entities will lose power. Business power will greatly increase.

4. A Tribal Century: In this option, the things government does now will eventually become more local or provincial. People will turn to tribes (ethnic, religious, geographical or even economic) for security. Local and provincial governments will increase in power while national and international governmental institutions will lose power. Business will gain power in some locales and lose it in others.

All four possibilities are still highly possible right now, and any one of them could rise from our current trends. It remains to be seen which of these, or some other model, will prove more popular. For example, how will world Islam or the Green movement play into this?

Unfortunately, this entire debate is taking place almost exclusively among elites and their agents — the various experts working for governments, multinational corporations and academic institutions. This means that the era of widespread freedom and prosperity for the regular people is over — unless something changes.

A good place to start might be to subscribe to Foreign Affairs or The Economist and closely monitor what is going on in the world. And read The Federalist and Democracy in America in the other hand.

These are just a beginning, of course, but such a start is long overdue.

Those who don’t study carefully current events won’t have much say in what happens.

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Four Possible Futures