Hardy F. Schloer, Owner,
Schloer Consulting Group - SCG,
Advisory Board of the Club of Amsterdam
The following article
is a very abbreviated extract of a much more comprehensive and
complex model study - Effects of Political and Social Conditions;
Demographics; Global Finance and Economy; Energy, Food and Fresh
Water Production and Consumption; Environmental Effects (pollution,
farmland erosion, weather pattern changes, and nuclear waste impacts).
The study model was built by SCG in about 4 years of extensive
research, extracted from tens of thousand of pages of published
research materials, extensive real-time data sources, and hundreds
of terabytes of global legacy computer data, provided by governments,
global organizations (UN, World-Bank, IMF, etc.) and various free
data sources through universities in the US, UK and Germany.
Because of the space
constraints of this publication, it is not possible to present
the underlying data and correlated findings, much less to support
them through extensive arguments, as we do normally in our reports.
Nevertheless, this article was not built on opinions, but on well-tested
probability models, sound mathematics and carefully selected data,
verified and responsibly used. Furthermore, our research has focused
on the future in order to better understand how the various problem
areas cited in the previous paragraph would affect each other
over time. This is rarely done with two or three problem fields,
and almost never with the of this underlying report by SCG.
One Minute before 12: The Consequence
has reached the most critical watershed period in its entire history
so far. We refer to this period, 2010 - 2050, as the Consequence
Era. It is the era in which we must deal with the consequences
of unresolved inter-societal relations, misguided technological
development, hyper-militarization of the world, and a dangerous
neglect to manage environment and vital resources in a long-term
perspective. Given that money and monetary instruments have become
an artificial resource, especially in the past 300 years, this
consequence also includes the results of our ill-designed global
monetary system. Money all by itself, and how it is used in society,
has created a severe scarcity that actually prevents us from solving
all natural problems and promotes global conflict in an almost
fully globalized world. It is therefore especially important to
look at the economic conditions and transitions in order to understand
the prospect of solving any other hard problems in the future,
arising from the management of resources and production of vital
Although this period
actually began a few decades ago, we are only now being forced
to deal with the harsh consequences of a phenomenon known as exponential
change (unsustainable growth and decline patterns in human behavior,
finance, economics, environmental impacts and global resources)
- the core dynamics of the Consequence Era which together build
a real and actual reality that either can be dealt with successfully
now, or destroy us, or set us back severely in the short term
(the next two to four decades).
This is the critical
and defining era where globalization has been nearly achieved
and where the perfect storm of an outdated and crashing financial
and economic system, an exponentially growing human population,
greatly magnified by dangerous human consumption and other adverse
behavior patterns, passes now the saturation point of environmental,
economical and social sustainability. Earth's inability to remain
stable under the present pollution and abuse levels, or renew
its natural resources in adequate abundance to allow a growth
formula that we have come to expect, will force social and economic
development backwards in ways not previously experienced by society.
We are approaching the absolute limits for the first time in human
history in nearly all vital dimensions.
For the first time
in our planet's history, consumption has vastly outpaced supply
of many vital resources to the point where we cannot replace certain
critical resources for others who will come after us, or, in many
cases even for ourselves. For example, for the first time in our
planet's history, we will likely have, in the very foreseeable
future, full-scale wars for fresh water and food security (possibly
as early as in this decade in some regions), in addition to the
ongoing conflicts that are inspired by the exponentially growing
need for energy and farming resources. In a former time where
only mostly defenseless and voiceless nations in Africa or other
less developed regions in the world would run out of food and
water, this was only a matter of a News TV program filler or some
article in a weekly magazine. But when more developed, militarized
nations will run out of food, water or energy, it will become
a violent global conflict. This will occur soon.
tensions between whole blocks of nations seem to further complicate
the already problematic dialogue. Real needs and dogmatic agendas
become confused to the point that coherent action amongst these
nations is now seemingly impossible.
global community must now begin to look at the statistical and
mathematical models that show clearly that the world, as we know
it, is in line for a period of potentially dramatic socioeconomic
upheavals, based on the laws of supply and demand and diminishing
returns. We have entered the Consequence Era on earth and we will
break entirely new ground as a result of the need to change or,
if we cannot manage these problems, we will become greatly reduced
or even extinct as a human race.
This is not some
futuristic horror scenario; this is with us today now, and must
be dealt with now, and not in some distant future. Now is the
moment when we must carefully look at the mathematical evaluation
of how all these factors will affect each other over time. We
must set aside complacency as well as political or dogmatic belief,
analyze the empirical evidence, and connect those critical dots.
There is no more time for opinions, only for science and hard
mathematical models, to understand the true reality. We must act
The solutions to
these problems are in some cases unsettling, because they require
drastic changes in our behavior and consumption patterns and drastic
changes in how we define technological progress in the future.
It also requires drastic change in how we organize the world in
terms of finance and economic systems. The current systems will
prevent us from solutions, not promote them.
must also constitute an invitation to world leaders, responsible
decision makers, corporate heads and global thinkers to come together
now, and to work on urgent solutions immediately, to preserve
the continuation of human civilization in a sustainable, dignified
and peaceful way. We must do this now, because we are out of time!
The Dimensions of Irrational
and Single-Minded Finance, Economy, Socio-Psychology, Environment,
Geopolitics, Energy and Irresponsible Resource Exploitation
The world continues
its historic irresponsible economic behavior, dogmatic conflicts,
the exponential consumption of the world's inexpensive energy
supply, and its shortsighted depletion of key environmental resources.
These factors are all interconnected and dependent upon one another
for overall sustainability - something that is now well beyond
the failure point. Many of these problems will remain unresolved
into the 2025-2030 time frame; however, humanity will have likely
suffered so much internal and global conflict by then that a global
renaissance of cooperation will potentially bring about a condition
in which solutions will become possible.
Building and Calculating Global Problem Models
Global development is influenced by a multitude of external factors.
For example, economic development is part of a global ecology
that includes many factors, typically not considered by economists,
such as the vital internal and external resource management, national
and geopolitical stability, potential food and water shortages
or other issues of basic sustainability.
What must be considered in a complete model, and why the answers
to these questions are vital to make proper decisions and, more
importantly, accurate planning projections is illustrated in the
Let us look at local fresh water supplies at a given location
in the energy-environmental problem context (known effects from
observed environmental input-factors), and evaluate them under
the constraints of economic cost and activity; then inject them
as some of the input factors that affect the 'Fresh-Water-Model',
and then map the results, how they affect our complete global
model. Here we can now find just a very small sample of the many
elements of our input components, relating to the above constraints:
- What will be the
impact of forecasted 1) spikes
in extreme seasonal temperatures and 2) the increased
frequency of long,
intense heat waves
on water consumption rates and the availability of freshwater
drinking supplies? How do these factors relate to water delivery
- How will natural
gas drilling and the rapid expansion of shale gas fracking (hydraulic
fracturing drilling operations)
impact local aquifers, groundwater, rivers, lakes and the quality
of freshwater resources used as drinking water supplies? When
will they run out, and what is the expense, at what timeframe,
to replace them?
- How much water
will be diverted from already critical drinking water supplies
for shale gas fracking operations?
- What is the likelihood
of a conflict (similar to the 'food vs. fuel' confrontation
that occurred with ethanol) between those who wish to safeguard
water supplies for food production and safe drinking-water purposes
vs. those who propose to draw off large volumes of water for
hydraulic fracturing to produce shale gas? Who is going to make
the rules, and with what consequence? What will be the economic
consequences, and when?
- How will exceptionally
long heat waves coinciding with scientifically predicted water
shortages, impact the availability of water supplies for suppression
of predicted wildfires?
How will these growing patterns of wildfires impact the environment
further, and therefore cause economic consequences?
- What will be the
impact of prolonged
heat waves on water supplies for crop irrigation?
What will be the economic cost of these counter measures, and
how will they affect food prices?
- How will predicted
water shortages, combined with predicted
intense heat waves, impact agricultural productivity,
food supplies and food prices? Who will go hungry, and what
will they do to change this? Will more terrorism be the answer?
Wars? What will become the true cost of food and water, when
we include these security and economic issues? How will all
of this affect the geopolitics of energy?
- Will hurricanes
and other extreme weather events (like Hurricane Sandy in 10/2012)
jeopardize the security and quality of safe drinking water supplies
and add further to water shortage pressures? How will this affect
the cost of water and the cost of energy to provide it?
- How will prolonged
high intensity heat waves impact the availability
of water for hydroelectric power production? Will some of these
hydropower facilities be retired? (Example Hoover Dam Power
Plant in Nevada)
- How will prolonged
high intensity heat waves affect the availability
of secure supplies of water used to cool nuclear powerplant
reactors and prevent meltdowns? Is Fukushima only a warning
of much more to come, given that there are more than 500 Nuclear
Power plants operating with the same outdated and deeply flawed
design (Fukushima) in seismic active areas of the world? What
will be the cost to replace them, and when?
- Will water shortages
affecting nuclear and hydroelectric power plants result in accelerated
emissions of greenhouse gases as coal-fired and other fossil-fuel-fired
power plants are brought online to replace the loss of power
supplied from water-short nuclear and hydroelectric power generation
units? (A negative chain reaction of more flawed decisions to
answer the short-term problem with the price of medium and long-term
- How will forecasted
water supply shortages affect electric power supplies, power
plant reserve margins, outage rates, grid reliability and electricity
- Will water scarcity
cause economic disruption and a surge of refugees migrating
into already populated areas unprepared for population spikes?
- How will forecast
underestimates affect the magnitude of water shortage
The short list above
illustrates just one of many starting points in the discussion
of a holistic model, and demonstrates the many input factors that
are necessary to build proper models that hold up for the range
of planning and forecasting inclusive periods.
To manage the world
properly in the short and medium term, we must be looking into
the future with hard data by at least three to four decades, and
therefore incorporate all observed or identified medium-term complexities.
However, long-term sustainability models should look into the
future by at least 100 to 300 years, to force us to think in terms
of preservation of this planet for our children, and generations
to come. We need to develop global ethics and global responsibility.
Let us return to the
mapping of sustainability models. The initial list of 8 critical
input dimensions to a Global Master Model is as follows:
1. Monetary and
economic systems and their critical debt sustainability issues
2. Governmental/Political trends, conflicts, dogmatic and religious
3. Corporations and their behavior impacts under missing global
4. Energy production, global energy economics, and critical
5. Interconnected Farmland, Food and Water factors and their
6. Environmental Impacts, pollution, weather and habitation
7. Human overpopulation and its interconnected demographic behavior
8. Security; cyber-terror; terrorism as the emerging form of
Each of these 8 sub-models
has cause and effect on every other sub-model in the list. When
we evaluate one factor against another, we often cannot determine
the outcome; either not precisely, or in many cases not at all.
In such case we must record all potential outcomes, and rank them
by probability. Our central or most likely model (Prime-Model)
is composed of all the factors with the highest probability rating.
Nevertheless, each junction of evaluation must be reevaluated
each time when new data becomes available. Every time we update
any outcome to be likely different from the last calculation requires
recalculating the entire Master-Model (The Prime Model and all
It is useful to track
many potential Prime-Models in parallel and observe them concurrently.
It is also absolutely critical that each model "lives"
in a real-time world, where data is continuously added in real-time
and the model is recalculated continuously, as data changes. This
must be done for the most likely Prime-Model, and all concurrent
models. It is therefore also important to track all data sources
continuously as a time-series. As a consequence, we elevate the
result-density and enable stochastic analysis that can alert us
to potentially false results, erroneous data, but also alert-trigger-points
and value changes of concern.
Preferably, we operate
as many parallel models as possible to understand the full range
of potential outcomes. These ranges in our Master-Model are the
expected 'corridor of projected behavior'. When we begin to carefully
prune the underlying models of most factors of improbable results
by use of trained AI tools, we begin to slowly unmask the expected
future reality. What this future reality likely holds in store
for us is outlined now below:
Changes: The Primary Cause For Critical Societal Crisis
Farmland, Water and Food
It took millions
of years for the world population to reach 1 billion - having
done so in about 1804. It then took only another 123 years to
reach two billion, due to the industrialization of the planet
- and since 1960 it is growing by one billion almost every 12
years; a staggering, exponential rate of increase in human population
and devastating global resource drawdown. The US Census Bureau
estimates a global population of 8 billion by 2027 - a 14.3% increase
over the current figure, and we are already operating in a zone
Beginning in the
1950's, an unsustainable exponential consumption trend on earth
began and has not stopped, but has further accelerated ever since.
The net result of this rise in human numbers has lead to exponential
growth in demand for our planet's finite resources, namely the
supply of energy, the stress on the environment and the knock-on
effect to the world's economies.
At the same time,
these consumption trends are causing a depletion of those resources
- a simple fact of math that is indisputable. We know that we
cannot preserve, indefinitely, exponential growth of anything
for which there is a finite supply. It is also this fact, that
all global problems have local effects and vice-versa. Globalization
is irreversible, and therefore any regional governmental and industrial
decision maker must understand the global implications to understand
what the local challenges may be.
We have reached the
tipping point where the ballooning population has met the peak
of developed energy supplies and a declining supply of arable
land for farming. This is now an empirical fact, and has very
hard and definite consequences. As everything we do on earth requires
energy to fulfill our existence, energy is becoming more scarce
and soon, within the next two or three years (by 2015); at least
carbon-based energy will be unaffordable to many on the planet,
including small and medium farmers, who will be unable to harvest
crops from their fields at a price that the market will bear on
their scale of market accessibility, and who will therefore soon
be forced to yield to large farming corporations that have the
ability to compensate these effects and manipulate markets more
effectively. But even then, food prices will increase dramatically
over the next decades, becoming a scarce lead-commodity and a
new element of global conflict (wars for oilfields will soon move
on to wars for farmland or fresh water resources).
In developed nations,
each citizen is responsible on average for the consumption of
a staggering 30+ tons of food, water, minerals and energy resources
from the environment per year. The UN estimates that 25% of the
world's farmland is heavily degraded by now. China and India are
modernizing at a rapid rate, thus placing an even greater strain
on the global environment. In fact, both China and India are buying
farmland at a record pace in nations where corrupt government
leaders gamble away national resources for personal gains. In
the upcoming farmland scarcity, these behaviors will intensify
conflict hotspots in these nations in the future (Africa, South
America, Eastern Europe, etc.).
We estimate that the world will need to double its food
production by 2046 to feed the projected population (assuming
that no substantial destruction of human life occurs before).
Even with the advance of technology at near exponential rates,
we will not see science provide the solution to these problems.
War for food and a new wave of terrorism will be the outcome.
The argument by some that we can feed comfortably 7 billion to
10 billion on this planet, because we throw so much food away
in the most fertile regions of the world, is, under current and
near-future technologies, a myth, because we do not have the means
of economical distribution (energy price constraints through conserving,
and transport or perishability constraints).
With only 9.6% of
the land on earth suitable for farming and another 37.4% for farm
animals/grazing, about half of earth land mass is currently unsuitable
for any type of agricultural activity. But the model is continuously
shifting negatively. In the last 25 years, the US alone has converted
more than 41 million acres of farmland into residential and commercial
property - a trend that is consistent with all other developed
economies in the world: exponentially expanding demand, while
shrinking the available resource to satisfy it. In addition, dust
erosion of farmland due to the accelerating effects of global
warming will further curtail the available farmland in many regions
of the world. Just in the past three years, the world lost 2.2%
farmland, and the loss is accelerating. But we need more farmland,
Water is an important
context to farming. Here are just some contextual facts to illustrate
- In the last 10
years, global demand for fresh water has spiked 58%; demand
for residential, agricultural and industrial purposes are all
- Almost half of
India's energy is spent pumping water from deep in aquifers
to the surface for its eventual uses, mostly farming. The price
of energy is therefore paramount for India's food production.
- Over 713 gallons
of water go into the production of one cotton T-shirt
- 1,000 gallons
of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.
- Global water use:
Agriculture 70%, Industry 20%, Domestic use 10%.
It is easy for any
person with an average education to understand that we have an
untenable existence at the current pace of consumption multiplied
by the rate of population expansion. This is an empirical fact.
It is a near certainty that we are now entering a new era of resource
dependence where the probability within this decade, we will likely
see armed conflict over fresh water supply. This will become a
trend for which the frequency and scale will become greater and
outpace those of oil or democracy.
Under these conditions,
the overpopulation problem will produce many extreme views and
behavior amongst individuals, societies, organizations and governments.
Debt will expand; available resources will become more scarce;
life necessities will become extremely expansive, and all, because
of overpopulation problems. We will actively think about how population
can be reduced, and fast. Population-reducing events will become
less unpopular. Human ethics will suffer dramatically in the next
two decades, as human existence will be viewed as a burden to
the planet. Many will look the other way when genocide occurs
in the future. Being alive on this planet will become soon a privilege,
not necessarily a right. Unthinkable today, but reality tomorrow.
transformation of mindset has already started.
Economy and Finance
In reports we published
in April of 2010 we repeatedly stated that the economic crisis
of 2008-2009 was simply a mild and early marker of what is to
come now and beyond at a much larger, more sustained scale and
of greater consequence. Over the past decades, Western governance
has committed serious errors in its economic planning and fiscal
policies. The results are a dependency on accelerated deficit
spending and an enormous accumulation of external debt - neither
of which is sustainable. These ill policies have been exported
throughout the world over the past decades, and has become the
"state of the art" everywhere. All central banks of
countries around the world have adopted the western methods of
money creation and debt.
To understand the
severity of the global economic condition, we must look at the
world's lead economy, that of the United States, and understand
that the negative trigger effect will overshadow the world, including,
for some time, even China, as it is busy to unwind its financial
dependency on the west.
Today, the US is
basically bankrupt; its finances are beyond the point of no return.
This is an empirical fact under any accounting scenario, even
the most sympathetic one. The debates in the past years over the
debt ceiling only serves to obscure this painful fact. The first
downgrade of American debt in history by Standard & Poor's
to AA+ over a year ago (August, 2011) is seeping into the general
consciousness of an intractable budgetary predicament. The only
scenario from here on is default by the U.S. government, and /
or significant devaluation of the dollar - this will happen regardless
of further modifications to the debt ceiling. As a strong-armed
global policy maker and military superpower, the US is getting
away with its reckless financial policies a little longer than
others might. Most global financial manipulators and players are
US based firms, and most financial media is also based or at least
rooted there. Therefore, a more sympathetic view of its situation
is prevailing in the overall assessment of the current situation.
Nevertheless, one must understand that the debt of the US is neither
repayable, under today's dollar value, nor is it much more extendable.
The absolute saturation and tipping point is reached within the
next 36 months, but more likely within the next 6 to 10 months
from the time this article is published.
The US is bankrupt
as a country, and bankrupt as a people collectively, as the following
numbers will clearly illustrate:
By early 2012, the
total public debt equates to about US$47,000 per US citizen, or
US$130,000 per taxpayer. It's also obvious just why the US debt
keeps increasing. So far this year the government has spent over
US$3.6 trillion, but only taken in US$2.2 trillion in taxes. The
fact to note here is that less than a tenth of that tax income
derives from business revenue, and this has further social implications
in the future, as we will discuss later in this section.
The US is spending
over US$700 billion annually on its military and over US$213 billion
on interest. It now owes foreign countries over US$5 trillion,
equivalent to about four-fifths of the total public debt when
George W Bush came to power in 2000. Then, the US public debt
was actually coming down.
President Bush initially
forecast further surpluses of around US$300 billion a year until
2004, before the September 11 attacks, and two rounds of tax cuts
changed everything. By the end of 2012, the US government estimates
that public debt will surpass GDP for the first time in the country's
history. It is currently at about 98 percent. Countries whose
debt outstrips GDP include Italy, Ireland and Japan, the last
one having a debt to GDP ratio of 195 percent.
In 2004, at the height
of the Iraq War, the US public debt was increasing by around $12,000
a second. In 2008, as the international financial crisis was just
kicking in, this had rocketed to around $25,000 a second and now
it is much beyond even that figure.
The debt situation
of the US is similar or worse in several statistical categories
than that of Greece, Spain or Ireland. The only difference is
that the US is a military superpower that is manipulating its
view about itself through heavy "perception engineering"
and extensive marketing through US media conglomerates.
debt situation is no better than the government's, owing a staggering
US$16 trillion on things like mortgages and credit cards. All
sources combined, Americans owe on average about US$176,066 for
every man, woman and child living in America. That is a staggering
US$668,413 per family, compared to an average of US$6,898 in savings
This enormous debt
will eventually have real social and geopolitical consequences.
The greatest nightmare to the fragile and ultimately hopeless
US situation, however, is not so much its internal crisis, but
the export of its unsustainable policies to the entire world,
especially Europe, which has since the early 1970s followed the
US lead and sank its economies and individual citizens into a
similar situation. Due to the more vulnerable construct of the
EU, and the ill constructed and flawed Euro currency, this system
is now set to fail first, at least officially, and cause a deadly
domino effect for the entire global monetary system.
In the midst of the
debt crisis, the U.S. will undergo the greatest strain to its
cohesion as a single country since the civil war two centuries
ago. It will not only lose its global status and leading model
of governance and lifestyle, it will internationally become more
and more ignored. Social tensions will test the breaking-point
of the American union. And, even as this sounds very dramatic
from the perspective of today's world picture, the outcome of
these social tensions have a number of possible consequences that
include international isolationism similar to the pre-World War
I era, and a potential break-up into as many as 3 or 4 separate
We project China
will overtake the U.S. economy in 2016. A good share of the U.S.
economy has become devoted to a high level of military spending
and maintaining the country's government debt. In contrast, China
has relatively little debt, relatively low military spending (2.2%
of GDP versus 4.7% in the USA) and is investing in the country's
prosperity. This disparity will accelerate the passing of power
between these two countries.
Unlike Europe, the
U.S. will be faced with the added transition of an ethnic and
consequently cultural shift towards a Hispanic society. Hispanics
tend to prefer working in small companies as opposed to big corporations,
and prefer working in small manufacturing and trade. The U.S.
will start acting like a Hispanic society, and will have stronger
ties with Latin America than with the East or West.
Trends in Europe
The end of the Western
financial model extends from New York to Frankfurt. Europe also
suffers from U.S. fractional reserve-style banking and high debt
levels. In the U.S. bankruptcy is being revealed by the debt ceiling
limit; in the Eurozone, it is revealed by the discrepancy between
the currency area and the political integration that has been
a hallmark of the European project in the last few decades. Although
there is a single currency for most of its geographic area, debt
is issued by governments, not by the European Union. By now, the
debt crisis we predicted has already severely affected Greece,
Spain, Italy, Ireland, France and Portugal. At this point downgrades
of banking and governmental debt has begun, and economic downturns
have affected nearly every European nation, either as debtor or
as creditor, but equally negatively. Europe further suffers from
the costs of a demographic transition towards a higher average
age and a diminishing young population in several countries. There
are not fewer people, but the age groups are shifting towards
retirement and less productivity.
The final outcome
of this transition is that both Asian and European interests will
fade in the next two decades to the point that US military installations
will be abandoned in these regions, and erected in countries to
the south, if there is even a coherent US foreign policy in place
at that point, and funds available to support it.
Unclear at this point,
however, is how US corporate power players will maneuver their
interests under these transitions. Given that corporations are
highly mobile, efficient in reinventing themselves, and innovative
in infiltrating any society on any level, it is to be expected
that many US corporate super powers will leave the burned-out
US markets and reappear as Brazilian, Indian, Turkish, Chinese,
Malaysian or Singaporean powers, using the high mobility of assets,
money and global nations' resource controls as tools to maintain
super power indefinitely. Most major multinational corporations
have already prepared for a resource based value system that can
survive even when currencies collapse due to their own volatilities.
This element of US
corporation transitions will actually be the accelerating factor
of the US decay, because a broad recognition of the financially
collapsing US will force them to fully abandon the US and Euro
zones and move all remaining activities to better pastures, as
corporations do not have any constraints of national citizenship
or loyalty to their citizens to provide jobs or sustainability.
This factor will accelerate the jobless numbers especially in
the US, and further depress their tax income. The corporations
are in fact the new nations of the world, and as they accelerate
in dominance, whereas the nations of the past (countries) will
become very vulnerable to decay. Corporations can also selectively
choose whom they will arm and to whom they will sell weapons,
to support their imperialistic agendas.
This transition process
will stay mostly undetected for the most part of the next 10 to
15 years, because the world is still very much focused on the
nation and still maintains the belief that Presidents and Prime
Ministers manage the world, and not corporations. By the time
this "new world order" under corporate leadership becomes
broadly recognized, the corporate culture will be so interwoven
into the nations' legal, commercial and even defense and security
systems that it will become very complicated to separate and regain
control of the world under a traditional system of governance.
By that time a broad
trend of privatization will have weakened the nations around the
world to a point, where they cannot regain power, except through
revolution. Such privatization will include the justice system
(example: American Prison Corporation, which owns and operates
many State Prisons in the US) and the military (example: the Blackwater
Corporation, which supplied a substantial force for the US war
in Iraq and Afghanistan). We predict, that corporations will lobby
governments to censor the internet and social media and filter
the anti-corporate emerging messages, but that the continued and
widening multinational corporate dominance will eventually trigger
widespread revolutions, at latest by 2022 to 2025, and the pressure
of the people, lead by some nations that are not easily manipulated
by corporate power, will force a power-compromise that will perhaps
create a tolerable balance at that point between corporate and
As we predicted often
in years past (2007 and 2010), the conflicts of the future will
be ones of social unrest revolving around the lack of the availability
of the basic economic necessities for human existence: affordable
food, water and fuels. This has now started not just across the
Arab world, in Syria, Libya, Egypt, but also across England and
Israel during August 2011. We believe that this wave of social
unrest will continue to spread throughout the world in the years
to come with increasing intensity, as more pressing problems develop.
Again, this social unrest comes exactly as we predicted in 2010.
The wave of social
unrest that will continue to sweep the world will affect China,
but in a way that is somewhat disconnected from their economic
process. The current police state will slowly fade away, as we
have seen happen in Shanghai. The government is extremely active
in staying on top of political and social developments in the
world, in order not to lose the relative peacefulness in their
own country. The Chinese government will, however, not hesitate
in the future to make a point with a second 'Tiananmen like event',
if deemed necessary.
From 2025-2030 onwards,
the world will be sobered by ongoing waves of deep crisis, and
ready for a global renaissance. Just as Europe built out of the
ashes of the world wars a period of unprecedented peace, so Asia
and the rest of the world will be ready to experience a new age
The meaning of globalization
will have gone from being what everyone can steal from himself
throughout this planet, to discovering how we can live together,
on a global scale, in peace. However, environmental devastating
consequences, and a necessary new arrangement of complex resource
patterns in unprecedented global cooperation will be the bitter
pill of this renaissance.
Big Picture and Likely Outcomes
What we end up with
in the final analysis is best summarized with the following:
Even so the problems
ahead are unique in type, scale and consequence, they still produce
familiar responses in people and societies. They usually come
in 10 very familiar and reoccurring stages:
1. First there
is irresponsible exuberance and reckless behavior, mostly motivated
by power and monetary gains that lead to major systemic problems
and, ultimately, to crisis.
2. When the negative effects of these problems occur and become
evident, society goes in denial about them, demonizes and even
incarcerates those that bring these problems to attention and
push for solutions.
3. Next is a phase of broad recognition by large portions of
society that these problems are real and that it is potentially
too late to solve them. There is a first 'coming to terms with
the consequences' by the majority of leaders in society.
4. Now the blame-game of those in power begins, and potential
solutions become part of endless political debate.
5. At this stage broad recognition gives away to fear. The reach
for religion, which results in a paralyzed state of societies'
'middle management' and, furthermore, leads to the inability
to act responsibly, manage the crisis on hand, or try to prevent
additional problems from escalating.
6. Fear turns into hyper fear, erases normal behavioral barriers,
then promotes high levels of aggression and finally escalation
into full conflict.
7. Conflict rages until the input factors for the state of fear
8. Society, or what is left of it, takes stock of where they
are, what they have just done, and what they have lost.
9. Society is now ready to deal with the problem in a sober
and analytical way, create visionary laws and regulations, and
begins the long and hard road to recovery.
10. Society is now ready for renaissance and an era of great
accomplishments, until stage 1 reoccurs again, usually at the
peak of stage 10.
Currently, we are
somewhere between stage 2 and 3. Stage 10 will fall into a time-window
between 2025 and 2035, depending on how we get to it. There are
two roads to get there: One is immediate commitment by all society
to put politics aside and embrace advanced technology as a problem-solving
strategy for all of society, and not as a strategy of monetary
gain for a few. The other road is severe global conflict on many
levels, until the problems or their input factors are removed,
including the prime input factor, "overpopulation".
The first road will
lead to developing a technological solution of sustainable coexistence
with many humans on the planet. The second road will lead to brutal
reduction of the world's population by a substantial margin. It
is now time to choose which way we wish to go.
Hardy F. Schloer
is a speaker at the
Years Club of Amsterdam