Thursday, 12 April 2012

A Speculative Look Ahead

This is a post I summed up in a few minutes in response to a discussion on the alternate history dot com discussion board under 'Future History' and the topic was 'What will the world look like in the year 2100?' and being the opinionated person I am, I chimed in. This is a brief over view of how certain nations and regions will fare in the future in my opinion:

-Canada remains a parliamentary government with close ties to the UK. Despite a general population decline in the early 2030's to 2060's immigration from China and India has taken some of the slump while the remaining Anglo population is mainly conservative joined by a vocal Muslim population. Economically the country is still successful and the provinces have once again managed to wrench much control from the central government in Ottawa but the New Democratic Party is once again trying to wrest control back into the hands of the Federal Government.

-The US is not the nation it once was. Wracked by fresh economic troubles and violent policital activism. The transhumanist movement has run up against both a vocal gay rights community and the Christian-Revanchists who harken back to the 'glory days' of the US. The never ending rights battles and violent activism cast an ominous shadow on national politics. Puerto Rico has become the 51st state and the entrance of a 52nd seems imminent. Racial tensions, supposedly a relic of the 2050's continue and have reared their ugly head again with the controversial transhumanism movement. Political murders are disturbingly common and Maryland resembles a military base more than a political center. Checkpoints and military patrols across certain states that are known to be hotbeds of political activism. After the relative peace of the 2070's the economic troubles of the 2090's have cast the nations future in deep uncertainty. The standard of living varies between first and second world conditions depending on the state.

-Mexico has become a stable country, for the most part. Democracy is thriving and fair and honest elections have become the norm and education has improved. Economically it has grown but continues to have problems with the United States as border issues are a constant diplomatic tension and relations are somewhat strained.

-Europe is the new second world. The Mediterannian areas remain economically central to the development as the regions around the Baltic and North sea become stagnant. Disease as in North America is once again becoming annoyingly common after the early 2000s disease resistant to many modern drugs and are relatively useless against new strands of disease. The great population shifts from Asia to Europe brought more than immigrants. New plagues served to wipeout an estimated 10% of the European population from 2030 to 2050. So Europe has become increasingly less relevant bar places like England and Switzerland who each host the Commonwealth and UN capitol respectively.

-South America is defined by economic competition between Brazil Argentina and Chile respectively. First world living standards are across the board and these three countries are the prime destination of immigration from around the world from Europe to Asia. The most cosmopolitan cities in the world are located here. Peace is almost completely known across the continent and the nations (Argentina in particular) regularly supply peace keepers around the world especially in Central Africa and Central America. The economies are proud and thriving but continuous uncertainty in the US and Europe investment is centered mainly in South East Asia and West Africa.

-Africa has become a continent of both rapid progress and stunning decline. Central Africa has been devastated by warfare after limited economic development and tribal nationalism with many micro states emerging inside national borders (sort of like Somalia OTL) while the UN and African Union attempts to mediate between the many different factions war remains almost a central part of life in reaction to famine and plague. East Africa is much the same. West Africa however has become the modern miracle, with a booming free market (mind one heavily regulated) and flourishing democracies. First world standards of living are prevalent.

-China has collapsed into separate constitute countries after years of overt warfare and internal revolution. In the wake of economic issues earlier in the century the nation was forced to take harsh measures in order to not risk democratic reform. The PCP has collapsed and democratic infighting has generally taken over the countryside. Reform is slow and it is estimated that it will again take decades to rebuild after war and economic stagnation. Russia has primarily replaced China as the boogy man of the West again as it defeated China in the border wars. Economically it has expanded to Eastern Europe and South America.

-The Middle East has liberalized and the Saudi Monarchy has been unravelled as economic prosperity from the oil fields has dried up. Ethnic rivalries and religiously motivated politicians dominate the political field however. People wish to harken back to their cultural roots and despite the religiously charged atmosphere of the 2050's 50 years on have become milder in the face of ethnically motivated groups and pan nationalist ideals.

-India has become one of the world’s great powers. Being one of the nations that defeated China it is viewed with respect and fear by the world and its neighbors. It has a major material economy and an exporter of labour. It is the world’s most populous country. Though democracy has become freer the past century has also seen a real crushing reduction of corruption for the first time in history. Though many social problems remain and natural disasters cause significant problems yearly the country can afford to rebuild.

-The biggest social issues in the world are transhumanism and many false-Nietzshean ideaologies have emerged around it proclaiming the 'new species' who are mainly the wealthy upper class which can afford the treatments. But the movement is opposed by both governments and the religious movements around the world. Religion has not died out as some expected rather it has become introvertive and the majority of missionaries travel to Europe and Asia from South America and West Africa preaching. In the US the religious right thought it has become less political is still a significant cultural part of the nation.

-Famine is now something known in almost all parts of the world as even North America has experienced periods of shortages and natural disaster decreasing food products. Weather has become more wild and destructive with hurricanes and monsoons regularly devastating coastline

Now this is a very vague and general outline that I have predicted. It is neither dystopian or utopian (contrary to some of the weird insanely utopian 2100 predicted by many technology lovers on that board) and is something that fits in with general trends as they are going, with a few trends being noticably reversed.

For instance I do not predict the oil wealth of Saudi Arabia will last into the next century, nor will it be able to maintain its strict control over the population. The leaders of the nation are becoming old and frail and there is a disturbing possibility of infighting and civil unrest in even the near future. I see that balance of power is most likely going to be shifting away from the elder elite as the younger population begins to liberalize and seek out alternatives to the monarchy, their power to buy their way out will certainly dry up with the oil wealth as well, and with no strategic reasons for the US to support them, they may be left blowing in the wind. Of course it could also be a gradual economic decline mixed with liberal tendancies taking over, but I don't see an overly optimistic future for the Sauds at this point.

I also can't see the Chinese system lasting beyond 2050. With their main chumps trading partners in the US experiencing economic decline and most likely a few nationalist tendancies the Chinese will be forced to take harsh measures to keep their economy competetive, especially if they can't continue to pull the country along. If people become disillusioned with the neo-facist system they have in place then the last card they have to play is the nationalist card. That my friends will be a bad day.

Similarily the United States will be hard pressed to hang on to super power status in the 22nd century. The world is becoming mutli-polar and America has proven that she cannot over extend herself nor continue to prop up her allies as she once did. I believe that the American system is due for an overhaul and in the coming century we may just see that overhaul come to pass. The rigid and inflexible system which now caters to the elite more than anyone is starting to crack at the seams in ways similar to China's. The government is floundering under an increasingly hopeless situation of debt which could send shockwaves around the world. The bloated military budget is seeing backlash and the war of words is heating up to a shocking degree whether in the public sphere on on the blogosphere. I see the next century as a rocky road for the US and one that will give the nation an interesting test of character.

India and Brazil are poised to become the other two great powers in the world. India will most certainly be wary with her Chinese and Pakistani neighbors both being sullenly courteous at best and coldly hostile at worst. The region is rife with flashpoints for conflict and with China flexing her muscles in the Pacific it won't be long until they are looking at the Indian Ocean as well. Brazil is working its way up from the disastrous miltiary regime that overtook it in the late 80s so we have great potential for the golden age to continue in South America while the West falters behind. This centruy may be the Chinese century as some predict, but I believe that the 22nd Century belongs to the Latins.

Two big issues which I see changing are the decline of religion in Europe and the weather getting wilder. I think that small scale disasters will become the norm and hurricanes will be much more likely to ravage coastlines and create Katrina-esque situations in many nations as governents are either caught off guard or unprepared to deal with the consequences of large scale disasters. Similarily with things changing in Europe I see religion making a comeback as the continent begins to lose either its sense of cultural identity, or as a simple backlash against the percieved notions of secularisms failures in the future. America is a deeply religious country and even with current trends I don't see that changing.

Another issue which I tenatively put in to this guess work is transhumanism. I do not believe that transhumanism will become a movement that is widely available (or safe) until into the 22nd century. Even then it will be a rich mans pleasure and will create all sorts of societal, religious, political, and economic questions which will have to answered. I can see it now, some neo-Marxist preaching how the class struggle has changed to a racial one as the rich bourgeoisie have become s seperate species! Even though I find that notion laughable it is one that if it becomes a reality must be stopped. The potential for abuse, racist ideologie and outright genocide is to great. I have seen some people who totally believe it is a better thing, and even those who feel that they will be the better species when they become the H+ (advanced humans, hence transhumans). This smacks of the fictional Draka, and the chillingly real Nazi ideologies of Hitler's Germany. Abusing Nietzshes ubermensch theories is something that has been done before and can easily be done again. I shudder at the thought.

I did not include technology in my predictions as it is not my expertise and my grasp of many new technological insights is woefully insufficient to even begin describing how they would work. In fact if a record of this blog survives future historians may look back and laugh at my predictions for being too gloomy (or worse, too optimistic!!!) while they rummage through my laptop and murmer at how quaint (or the future equivalent thereof, shiny perhaps?) the technology I am using was. There are those better suited to that kind of topic. The only thing I can predict for certain is that we will still find more creative ways to kill each other!

Now again I must say that this prediction of the future depends on some trends remaining the same (all trends will eventually change though in some fashion) and some changing. There are millions of tiny variations which could make my view of the future extremely wrong. For instance technology could advance at a rate I cannot even imagine (something that as of now does seem very real) or it could stagnate due to socioeconomic impedements. Whatever the future holds we are in for an interesting century!

1 comment:

  1. One of my longest posts yet! I apologize to readers for the shrinking font, I am unsure of how to fix that.