Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds – A New Report by the National Intelligence Council
On December 12, 2012, the Transatlantic Academy hosted a presentation of the new National Intelligence Council (NIC) report “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds” by its principal author, NIC Counselor Dr. Mathew J. Burrows. Dr. Stephen F. Szabo, Executive Director of the Transatlantic Academy responded to Dr. Burrows’ comments, while Dr. Daniel Twining, Senior Fellow for Asia at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, moderated.
The Global Trends report has received much attention in Washington and around the world. It sees today as an inflection point for the international system, such as 1815, 1919, 1945, or 1989. The report names four “megatrends” that are certain to shape the future, above all individual empowerment through technology and other factors; examines six “game changers” which will determine what kind of world exists in 2030, including the role of the United States and the crisis-prone global economy; and offers four potential futures, from the optimistic to the pessimistic to a world dominated by non-state actors. Burrows noted one likely tectonic shift by 2030: U.S. energy independence, which will affect many countries in different ways. China is expected to be the world’s dominant economy by 2030, and the best case global scenario is reliant on good cooperation between Washington and Beijing. The report also predicts India will become the biggest driver of middle class growth by 2030.
Dr. Szabo agreed with the importance of the resource nexus megatrend outlined in the Global Trends report, which was also highlighted in the Transatlantic Academy’s May 2012 report “The Global Resource Nexus: The Struggles for Land, Energy, Food, Water, and Minerals.” He also discussed the role of Europe’s development to 2030, where a slow decline seems most likely, although the ongoing crisis in the European Union could lead to better or worse outcomes. Szabo noted that a transatlantic free trade area, promoted by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a recent speech, could be a helpful new project to revitalize the transatlantic partnership.