The Future of the Global Economy and Political Structure: A Tentative Forecast for the Next Decade
Updated: Apr 15
Predicting the future economic and political environment is inherently uncertain, especially given the myriad of factors and complex inter-dependencies at play. However, by examining current trends and giving a thorough reading of modern academic research, a speculative outlook on the potential developments over the next decade is absolutely possible
Part of my motivations for writing this is both to lay out the trends myself and others are seeing as well as invite criticisms and other predictions from others who read this.
Now before you ask "what makes you credible?" and I give some form of justification through my collegiate studies and world travels I'd rather direct you to the fact I have been writing this article in collaboration with various Artificial Intelligence platforms (yes even the overused, but extremely useful, Chat-GPT 4) in an attempt to sift through the massive amount of data and writings out there nowadays.
By using AI platforms to not only do research for me, but also interpret that data in its own words, I believe it is more than possible for the everyday college student or professor to produce writings and studies that can compete with the best of the best in academics not only from the idea of accuracy but also in critical and predictive thought.
A true collaboration of Human and Artificial minds.
Granted I am still spending hours reading and studying on my own in order to collaborate and verify effectively the outputs given to me by any Artificial Intelligence, but still I think it important to place great weight on the time cut down by using and working with AI on projects like this.
To me the way in which I use AI for writing in economics and politics is the same way mathematicians use calculators to create and solve intense problems. The invention of advanced calculators saved massive amounts of time and allowed for even the everyday mathematician to work on more advanced theories and proofs and allowing them to be very accurate at the same time.
If you are not using some sort of deep learning software or technology to help your studies, work, writing, or anything else, it's the same as using only the library to answer your usual "google searches".
Let me be clear, it's important to read books and know the fundamentals of any field of research, but once you have the groundwork, it just makes sense to use the faster and better resource so your time can be spent on more important and advanced topics.
Now that I've given my lengthy justification on why what you are about to read is decently accurate and at the very least allows for greater critical thought in the upcoming few years, let us move into the predictions that myself, professors around the world and Artificial Intelligence have about our future.
So what does the next decade look like?
The Shift Towards a Digital Economy
The ongoing digital transformation is expected to accelerate, with industries across the board embracing new technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation, and the Internet of Things (IoT). According to a 2020 report by the World Economic Forum, the digital economy could account for more than 60% of global GDP by 2030, up from around 30% in 2020.
As digital technologies become increasingly integrated into industries far and wide, individuals can expect to see improvements in the efficiency and convenience of products and services that dwarf changes seen in the 1990s and early 2000s. Even in the last year we are seeing AI tools and apps that have increased the productivity of everyone from writers, to artists and now even programmers. (You can literally have AI code for you, a good chunk of India's GDP is now just AI doing coding for them.)
The digital economy will likely create new job opportunities as industries evolve to incorporate advanced technologies. A 2018 report by the World Economic Forum predicted that while some jobs will become obsolete due to automation, the digital revolution will create 133 million new jobs globally by 2022 leading to a net gain of over 58 Million Jobs. These jobs will require individuals to possess new skill sets, such as data analysis, programming, and digital marketing. As a result, governments and educational institutions may need to invest in retraining and reskilling programs to help workers adapt to these new demands.
The actual loss and gain of jobs due to automation is much harder to place into statistics and much work needs to be done in studies of these numbers but it can't be argued that entire industries that didn't exist even two years ago have developed leading to entirely new fields of study and career paths. Even further the fact that many freelancers like myself can now take on twice or even triple the workload with AI services has allowed individuals and sole properties to compete on the big stage.
However, the shift towards a digital economy also brings potential challenges. One significant concern is the digital divide, where individuals and communities without adequate access to digital infrastructure or skills may be left behind. A report by the International Telecommunication Union (2020) highlights the need to bridge this divide, as nearly half of the world's population still lacks access to the internet.
Governments and businesses must work together to ensure that the benefits of the digital economy are inclusive and accessible to all, regardless of geographical location, socio-economic status, or educational background.
Additionally, the rise of the digital economy also raises questions about data privacy and security. As industries become more reliant on digital technologies and the collection of user data, the risk of data breaches and misuse increases. Policymakers must work diligently to create robust regulations and standards that protect consumer data and ensure the ethical use of new technologies.
The Rise of Green and Sustainable Businesses
As the world grapples with climate change and resource scarcity, sustainable business practices and green technologies will likely take center stage. Companies focusing on renewable energy, circular economy models, and clean technologies are expected to thrive. A 2021 study by the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance highlighted that sustainable investment assets grew by 15% between 2018 and 2020, indicating a strong trend toward responsible investing.
Another thought on this is the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent issues of the supply chain may have pushed individuals around the world to understand the need for self-reliance and sustainability within their own lives. I know personally, it made me want ALOT more chickens.
With the growing emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility has significant implications for stocks and investments. As more investors recognize the importance of supporting businesses with eco-friendly practices, it is anticipated that green and sustainable companies will attract greater investment.
People are seeing that not only can they make profit off of sustainable business but they can continue to lower costs over the long run.
This trend is reinforced by the increasing number of investment funds and products with an explicit focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. In fact, a report by Morningstar (2021) found that ESG funds attracted $51.1 billion of net inflows in the first quarter of 2020 alone, demonstrating the rising demand for responsible investment options.
For everyday investors, this shift towards sustainable businesses provides an opportunity to align their financial goals with their values. By investing in companies committed to environmentally responsible practices, individuals can support the transition to a greener economy while potentially benefiting from the growing market demand for sustainable products and services.
I have been personally involved in a few local startups completely based around the reuse of plastic and sustainability in food and consumable products.
Just in the short few, months, I've been working with them we have seen a massive acceptance and adoption of our ideas.
My favorite among the initiatives is this 3D-printed hydroponic water tower that will eventually be printed from entirely reused water bottles.
It has been a joint project with Flagler College ENACTUS and Marstellar Farm Co. in which both the members I have been working with and the customers all share a view of a more sustainable future.
Moreover, numerous studies, such as one conducted by the Journal of Sustainable Finance & Investment (2015), have shown that companies with strong ESG performance tend to exhibit lower financial risks and better long-term performance, making them attractive investments.
However, navigating the world of sustainable investing can be challenging for the average person. It is essential for investors to research and understand the environmental and social impact of the companies they invest in, as well as the specific criteria used by ESG-focused funds.
This due diligence helps ensure that investments align with individual values and contribute to a more sustainable future. In addition, investors should be wary of "greenwashing," where companies may exaggerate or misrepresent their environmental credentials to appeal to eco-conscious investors.
The Gig Economy and Flexible Work Structures
I have put a little more into this section compared to the rest due to the fact I wholeheartedly believe the idea of freelancing or being your own boss under a decentralized or network-based company will be the structure of the majority of our industries and companies as time progresses
I'm not the only one who thinks this.
The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that by 2030, up to 540 million individuals could participate in the gig economy, making flexible work arrangements the new normal across various industries. This excerpt delves into the future implications of this trend, examining the potential benefits, challenges, and the impact on workers, businesses, and the overall economy.
The Gig Economy: Definition and Drivers
The gig economy refers to a labor market characterized by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent, full-time jobs. It encompasses a wide array of sectors, including transportation (e.g., Uber, Lyft), accommodation (e.g., Airbnb), and various online platforms that connect freelancers with clients seeking specific services (e.g., Upwork, Fiverr). The gig economy's growth can be attributed to several factors, such as:
Technological advancements: The widespread adoption of the internet and mobile devices has facilitated the development of digital platforms that connect workers with potential clients or employers. Blockchain and decentralized networks have allowed for and even greater control of assets and money for the individual.
Changing work preferences: Workers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, are increasingly seeking more flexible work arrangements, better work-life balance, and opportunities for personal and professional growth. This was pressed even further by the COVID-19 outbreak and the massive paradigm shift of nearly all companies to provide some sort of digital options.
Economic pressures: In the wake of economic recessions, businesses have been increasingly turning to gig workers to cut costs, while workers have been forced to take on multiple jobs to make ends meet.
The growth of the gig economy and flexible work structures is expected to have far-reaching implications for workers, businesses, and the overall economy. Some of the potential benefits include:
Increased labor force participation: By offering more flexible work options, the gig economy and flexible work structures can attract individuals who might otherwise be excluded from the labor market, such as stay-at-home parents, people with disabilities, and retirees.
Enhanced productivity: Flexible work arrangements can improve employee productivity by reducing stress, allowing for better work-life balance, and enabling employees to work during their most productive hours.
Greater innovation: The gig economy fosters innovation by creating opportunities for collaboration between workers with diverse skills and expertise, enabling businesses to tap into a broader pool of talent.
However, these trends also pose several challenges, such as:
Job insecurity: The gig economy and flexible work structures can lead to increased job insecurity, as workers may not have access to long-term contracts, benefits, or stable income.
Exploitation and inequality: Workers in the gig economy may be susceptible to exploitation due to a lack of labor protections, such as minimum wage and overtime regulations. This can exacerbate income inequality and contribute to the rise of the "working poor."
Loss of social connections: As more people engage in remote work, there may be a decline in face-to-face interactions, leading to a potential loss of social connections and camaraderie among colleagues.
Skill development and career progression: Gig workers and those in flexible work arrangements may face challenges in skill development and career progression, as they may have limited access to training opportunities and mentorship compared to their full-time counterparts.
Now this wouldn't be a Van Clief Media article if I just left you with a bunch of problems and no solutions no would it? Lucky for, you an hour of arguing with an AI can come up with some interesting solutions.
Strategies to Address the Challenges
To ensure that the growth of the gig economy and flexible work structures yields positive outcomes for all stakeholders, policymakers, businesses, and workers must develop strategies to address the associated challenges:
Enhance labor protections: Policymakers should consider extending labor protections, such as minimum wage subsidies (subsidies, not price floors, one of the more recent Nobel Prize winners in economics explained why this is an important distinction), overtime pay, and access to benefits, to gig workers and those in non-traditional employment arrangements.
Promote skill development and career progression: Businesses should invest in providing training opportunities and mentorship programs for gig workers and those in flexible work arrangements to ensure their long-term employability and career growth.
Foster social connections: Companies should develop strategies to maintain social connections among remote and gig workers, such as organizing virtual team-building events or creating online communities for employees to interact and collaborate.
Encourage responsible business practices: Governments and industry bodies should promote responsible business practices and ethical treatment of gig workers, including ensuring fair pay, providing safe working conditions, and respecting workers' rights.
The gig economy and flexible work structures are poised to reshape the future of employment and business over the next decade. While these trends offer numerous benefits, they also present challenges that must be addressed to ensure a fair, inclusive, and sustainable labor market. By working collaboratively, policymakers, businesses, and workers can navigate this rapidly evolving landscape and create a future economy that works for everyone.
Political Theories and Structures
As the global economy faces unprecedented challenges, such as increasing income inequality, technological disruption, and climate change, a pragmatic approach to policymaking that blends elements from various political theories and structures may prove most useful.
This could involve combining the innovation-driven focus of free-market capitalism with the social safety nets and wealth redistribution mechanisms associated with social democracy. By doing so, governments can facilitate sustainable economic growth while addressing pressing social and environmental issues.
The shift towards a digital economy, as previously discussed, presents unique challenges and opportunities for governance. As technology continues to advance rapidly, governments will need to adapt and develop digital governance frameworks that address issues such as data privacy, cybersecurity, and the digital divide.
One possible development could be the creation of digital agencies or ministries dedicated to overseeing the implementation of digital policies and ensuring that digital transformation is inclusive and beneficial for all citizens.
Furthermore, the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation presents complex ethical questions that require thoughtful policymaking. For example, and as crazy as this may sound now just wait, governments will most likely need to address the issue of AI and robot rights, determining the extent to which these entities should be granted legal personhood or protections.
I understand how absurd that may seem now, but take a moment and reflect at the speed in which AI and robots are developing and how thin the line between what we see as a robot and a thinking being.
After all, it was less than 200 years ago we were trading and treating human beings as objects and slaves. The people using them at the time or even just within the slave-owning society had *roughly* the same opinion of them as we do of most AI and Robots.
Am I saying that we will see civil rights protests for the rights of robots and AI in the next few years? Not necessarily, but I'm also not saying that it isn't definitely possible.
The use of AI itself in decision-making processes could lead to potential biases or discrimination, necessitating policies that ensure fairness and accountability in algorithmic systems.
In the next decade, the increasing commercialization and exploration of outer space will also demand the establishment of new legal frameworks and international agreements. As countries and private companies seek to utilize space resources and establish human settlements on celestial bodies such as the Moon and Mars, it will be crucial to develop laws that address property rights, resource management, and environmental protection in space.
Without this headway being made, a recreation of what was seen with the new world is more than likely to happen. That means revolutionary war, Genocide, and who knows what else when the dimensionality of our own orbit in war, is taken into consideration.
I mean think about it for a moment, a bunch of moon workers thousands of miles from their home or the country controlling them having to pay taxes that don't even benefit them? I give it a month before they start throwing Tea barrels off the space dock.
So I believe it goes without saying, the need for international cooperation in this domain will be paramount to prevent potential conflicts and ensure the sustainable use of space resources for the benefit of all.
Another wild possibility to consider is the potential emergence of virtual nations, driven by blockchain technology and decentralized governance models.
These digital entities could challenge traditional notions of nation-states and citizenship, demanding innovative policy responses from governments to accommodate new forms of political and economic organization.
To effectively address these complex challenges, governments must adopt a pragmatic approach to policymaking that draws upon various political theories and structures. This may involve fostering public-private partnerships to drive innovation and investment in green technologies, while simultaneously implementing progressive taxation policies and social welfare programs to reduce income inequality and ensure that the benefits of technological progress are shared equitably.
The next decade will undoubtedly bring unique and transformative changes to the global political landscape. As the world grapples with the economic, social, and environmental challenges of the digital age, it will be crucial for governments to adopt a pragmatic approach to policymaking that combines the strengths of different political theories and structures.
By doing so, they can promote sustainable economic growth, foster innovation, and address pressing issues such as income inequality, AI ethics, and space law, ultimately ensuring a more equitable and prosperous future.
The Importance of Global Cooperation
In an increasingly interconnected world, effective global cooperation will be essential to address challenges that transcend national borders, such as climate change, cyber-security, and pandemics. Multilateral organizations like the United Nations, the World Bank(unless of course this whole "decentralized banking thing" really takes off), and the International Monetary Fund will play a critical role in fostering international collaboration and promoting global economic stability.
As we envision a future marked by global cooperation, it is important to consider unconventional and innovative approaches to problem-solving that can complement existing frameworks.
One such example is the concept of "citizen diplomacy," which involves individuals and non-governmental organizations actively participating in international relations, fostering cross-cultural understanding, and contributing to global peace-building efforts.
This grassroots approach can empower everyday people to engage in global issues and supplement the efforts of traditional diplomatic channels.
Another out-of-the-box approach to global cooperation could be the development of decentralized, blockchain-based platforms for international collaboration. A personal favorite of mine considering the complexity of our future world will need just as complex a system to run it.
These platforms could facilitate transparent and efficient cross-border cooperation by providing a secure and tamper-proof digital environment for sharing information, coordinating policies, and tracking progress on global initiatives. This technological innovation may help reduce bureaucratic inefficiencies and build trust among participating countries by ensuring data integrity and transparency.
In addition to these innovative strategies, global cooperation can also benefit from the integration of non-human perspectives. (Before you Skynet fearmongers say anything just hear me out).
As artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies continue to advance, their potential to contribute to global problem-solving should not be overlooked.
AI-driven models and simulations can provide valuable insights into complex global issues, such as predicting the spread of pandemics, optimizing resource allocation for climate change mitigation, or identifying potential cyber-security threats.
By incorporating these advanced technologies into international decision-making processes, global cooperation efforts can be significantly enhanced.
Global cooperation can also extend to collaboration in space exploration and resource utilization. As countries and private companies invest in space programs, there is an opportunity for international partnerships to share resources, knowledge, and expertise.
For instance, the creation of a global space agency could facilitate joint missions, pooling resources, and expertise to promote shared goals, such as asteroid mining or the establishment of sustainable human settlements on other celestial bodies. (I understand how much this may sound like Star Treck but a boy can dream cant he?)
Lastly, the promotion of global cooperation will require a reevaluation of our educational systems, placing greater emphasis on fostering a global mindset and intercultural competencies.
By incorporating more diverse and inclusive curricula, schools can play a critical role in preparing future generations to navigate the complexities of an interconnected world and actively participate in global problem-solving.
This is coming from academic research but also from my own personal experiences, as I've traveled the world it became apparent how ignorant and short-sightedrdlesshted people can be but equally how open-hearted and hard-working. Regardless of what country, government or religion I happened to be interacting with, I was always able to find people with the same mindset and goals as myself, anywhere in the world.
The importance of global cooperation in addressing the pressing challenges of our time cannot be overstated. To succeed in this endeavor, we must consider unconventional and innovative approaches that empower individuals, leverage cutting-edge technologies, and promote international collaboration in various domains, from space exploration to education.
So where do we go from here?
As we've explored throughout this conversation, the world is poised to undergo remarkable transformations in various aspects of life. From the shift towards a digital economy and the rise of green and sustainable businesses to the need for pragmatic policymaking and innovative approaches to global cooperation, these multifaceted changes present both challenges and opportunities.
As an individual deeply interested in these topics, I am excited to delve into them further in two upcoming articles. These articles will break down the complex ideas discussed here into even greater detail, providing in-depth analysis and outlining actionable strategies to make these visions a reality.
In the first article, I will focus on the intersection of the digital economy, sustainable businesses, and pragmatic policymaking. We will explore how governments, businesses, and individuals can work together to harness the power of digital technologies and sustainable practices to create a more equitable and prosperous future for all. The article will also discuss the importance of addressing the digital divide, ensuring data privacy, and fostering a regulatory environment that promotes innovation while protecting society's most vulnerable.
In the second article, we will dive deeper into the world of global cooperation and the out-of-the-box thinking required to address the pressing challenges of our time. From citizen diplomacy and blockchain-based platforms to AI-driven insights and global space collaboration, this article will provide a comprehensive analysis of the innovative strategies and technologies that can revolutionize international relations and empower individuals to play an active role in shaping the future.
Stay tuned and keep sharing my friends.