Friday, August 26, 2011

In the year 2025...

-A multilateral world.  There will be more members of the UN Security Council.  I personally don’t believe that will make much difference, as the big guns, US, Russia, and China, will always be able to block anything that does not suit one of their agendas.  I am, however, intrigued by Slaughter’s notion of European Union-style economic collectives for Africa, Southeast Asia, and The Middle East.  This might be what’s needed to tackle poverty in Africa and elsewhere once and for all.

-Sustainability.  The nations “that will be the strongest in 2025 will be those that have figured out how to do more with less.”  Renewable energy and recycling are the names of the game.  A lot of us have been saying that for a long time but I don’t know if we’ve yet reached the tipping point for commitment yet.  More on that in a bit.

-Non-state actors.  All kinds of people organizing themselves into groups of all kinds and influencing governments.  It’s happened in America and Slaughter believes it’s going to happen globally.  I think she’s right.  We’re already seeing it happen in places like Egypt, Algeria, and even Syria to lesser success.  Social media and mobile technology will exponentially expedite this process, allowing people with similar convictions to come together.  It’s tough to stop someone with a laptop and a cameraphone. 

-It’s going to take something big.  Remember what I said about a tipping point and Slaughter’s rosy outlook?  She acknowledges it.  "These predictions may appear rosy. In fact, the enormous changes on the horizon will require major crises.”  So what are we looking at here?  Limited nuclear war, perhaps...or a global viral pandemic.  The most likely scenario in my opinion is an environmental disaster, an “ecological 9/11” as Mac Tonnies once put it.  Hurricane Katrina only on a much larger scale.  It will have to be a catastrophe that people will readily be able to see as directly attributive to human behavior and/or inaction. 

I hope she’s right.  I hope the future of 2025 will be along these lines.  Right now, as we continue to overpopulate and over-consume our resources, it’s tempting to see a future more like Soylent Green or A Clockwork Orange.  One aspect that I believe Slaughter neglects in considering the future is Transhumanism.  While I don’t necessarily expect The Singularity to have arrived by 2025, I do believe we need to consider just what kind of role technology will play in these scenarios.  If not replacement with techno parts, we need to consider the affect of genetic modification and engineering.  This might not only lead to alleviating certain problems, it could also mean a lot of people living a lot longer.  So we’re right back to that population problem again.

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