Looking to the Future: Will We Have a World War? A Revolution? Local Rebellions?

I look to the future everyday as I write new episodes of my serial novel 2213:Forever Young, soaking up scientific news and futuristic projections to try and "see" what it will look like. More wars, devastation, impoverishment, pollution and even a big-style revolution as so many predict?

Yes to war devastation, increasing poverty and pollution. No to revolution. Let me explain, taking the timeframe of my novel, i.e. what the world is likely to look like 200 years from now.

First, we can expect a  level field world-wide in terms of economic growth and scientific progress. That is: most major countries in the world - from the US to China - will be at more or less the same level technically and economically. And in social terms, it will be the same too. Differences that we now perceive as coming from countries still attached to a Communist ideology will have disappeared. As I posited in  Forever Young, the world will most certainly be divided between the Haves and Have-Nots, the One Percent and the 99 Percent.

Why? Because this is an unusual strong trend that has recently gone global. Traditionally a great divide between the ultra rich and the rest of the population was a characteristic of  the Third World where the poor lived and still lives in abject conditions. This divide used to be barely visible in the developed world but this has changed in the past 40 years. It has steadily grown to the point of looking irreversible. The Koch brothers and the Murdochs of this world increasingly control the big media and public opinion.  

Moreover conservative forces emanating from the ultra rich are taking over governments everywhere and shaping policy. The present Great Recession which has purely financial roots confirms this and it is no surprise that the recession in Europe and the troubles of the Euro are due to a concerted attack against government debt sovereignty, supported by American rating agencies like Moody's etc. Meanwhile the Occupy Wall Street movement has petered out...It may revive, indeed I expect it to revive again and again, but the forces in place are so strong that it will never be able to take over. At least, it doesn't look likely over the next two hundred years...

In a world that is economically and scientifically a "level field", where political power is firmly in the hands of the One Percent, what other forces may one expect to rise? Cultural forces driven by language, arts and religion but certainly not leading to a revolution in the French sense of a 1789-like upheaval of the classes in society. The One Percent will see to it that this doesn't happen.

However, we should expect a series of small, localized cultural rebellions supported by a common language, traditions and religion. We already have many examples of this in the European Union which is economically a "level field" of the kind I describe here: we have the basques, the bretons, the Catalans, the Lombards, the Flemish etc. They all rise together and demand recognition from European society at large.  

Will the EU or the nations hosting them (France, Italy, Spain, Belgium) give in to them? Not likely.

These are no more than bubbles in a boiling pot.

The question is how many "boiling pots" shall we be left with once the world is economically and scientifically level? I think we'll have just two big pots: an Eastern one dominated by China, Japan and India and a Western one pulling together North America and Europe, Russia and Turkey included. One may also expect the Western "pot" to draw in Latin America which shares its culture with several Southern European countries (mostly Spain and Portugal, but also Italy and Germany).

What we are likely to have then are two loose geo-political congregations of like-minded countries that will act and vote together as a group at the United Nations (which I don't expect to disappear), in short, the Eastern vs. the Western.

This still leaves a lot of countries on the border between the two or lost in far-flung uncertain positions that may be difficult to hold, like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

However, the biggest, unresolved borderline bunch of countries will be in the Middle East and Africa. And they are likely to be both the scene and the cause of numerous conflicts as the Eastern and Western congregations try to pull them in

Protest in Kenya - painting by Claude
A classic bipolar world, very similar to what we've known during the Cold War, always on the brink of war but most probably able to resist it, as turbulence shakes Africa and other "hot points".

On the other hand, tensions are likely to be sharpened by the very nature of Islam, the major religion in those areas. The Moslems, unlike Christians, do not have church systems based on a hierarchical model and they are further divided among themselves between Shiites and Sunnites (not to mention Alawites etc): these are cultural forces that tear at the very fabric of their society. Additional reasons to expect wars to continue to erupt in the Middle East and Africa.

Finally, with Climate Change and the warming of the planet, the Arctic will emerge as a major bone of contention between the US and in future China. For the moment, the group of countries bordering the Arctic are discussing in the so-called Arctic Council how to share the resources of this new continent and China is not yet part of the discussion. But it has just been invited as an "observer nation" (the others that were invited are India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Italy on the European side - curiously leaving out France and Germany, no doubt a temporary oversight)

For the time being, the focus in the Arctic Council is on resource development and trade but it is obvious that this could degenerate into acrimonious accusations...Throw in the effect of scientific advances that will permit the future colonization of Mars and the probable mining of meteorites for precious metals, and you have the basis for war. Not revolution - a war for precious, increasingly scarce resources in a world that doesn't give up on economic growth, that cannot give up because of the economic interests of the One Percent.

In short, if you want to get a glimpse of the future, look closely at what will happen in the Arctic, it is our last frontier, at least on this planet! And if you're curious, you'll find more about our future world in my serial novel 2213:Forever Young, Part One and Two already published. Be warned: this is not serious stuff like this article, it's fiction and full of unexpected twists and turns...

Ebook and paperback on Amazon
Ebook and paperback on Amazon
Your turn: What is YOUR vision of the future, 200 years from now?
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