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World Global Trends

Accurate representation of world issues is crucial

Updated: 2017-02-08T23:50:24.493-05:00



A variety of problems have combined to move the global civilization toward a collapse. The key drivers of collapse, according to Stanford University scientists Paul and Anne Ehrlich, are overpopulation and overconsumption by the wealthy.

Reforming Democracy and the Future of History / ISN


As history is nowhere near its end, the sustainability of democracy depends on a substantial reform of its current form. This may resemble the “Sustainable History” model that fulfills the fundamental human need for dignity in its holistic sense, and would ensure accountability, equity, authenticity and sustainability."

Reforming Democracy and the Future of History / ISN: "To make them more sustainable requires a stronger focus on, and application of, eight criteria of national good governance:


 equity and inclusiveness

 the rule of law

 separation of powers

 free, independent and responsible media

 government legitimacy

 accountability and transparency

 the limitation of the distorting effect of money in politics



The project has the overall purpose of enhancing capacity for forecasting mass atrocities and genocide globally and in the Asia-Pacific region. The specific aims are to:
  1. develop sophisticated, appropriate, and cutting-edge quantitative forecasting models,
  2. improve understanding of the causes of political instability and conflict which greatly increase the probability of mass atrocities or genocide,
  3. improve understanding of the crucial causal processes which lead from instability to mass atrocities or genocide, and
  4. produce forecasting software and reports which are useful as early warning tools for protection of vulnerable populations.
The aim is to provide tools for analysts and policy makers. The project builds on the current academic literature, and employs econometric and machine-learning based forecasting techniques, which can greatly enhance analytical capacity in combination with standard qualitative and quantitative social science methods. The forecasts are intended to be used in combination with other quantitative and qualitative analysis and expert knowledge.
Funding for this project from AusAID’s Responsibility to Protect Fund, via the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, is gratefully acknowledged. However, the projects’ Chief Investigators, based at the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales, take full responsibility for the analysis and forecasts presented here and in the project's reports and publications.


If current trends continue, we’ll be dealing with three times as much waste by the end of this century as we are now, warns the World Bank. One solution is to treat waste as a resource. Read more.


  • A poll of 67,806 respondents from 65 countries found that the U.S. won by a landslide the dubious distinction of being considered the “greatest threat to peace in the world today”. 


State formation has been the driving force behind civil and interstate war -- a fact woefully missing from much of the popular debate about the violent conflicts of today.

It is not diversity, but political inequality, that breeds conflict.


Building more inclusionary power structures -- not necessarily through electoral democracy -- represents the most viable strategy for new states to prevent armed conflict.


Gerald Joyce of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, frets that as the boundaries blur, biologists are now going to be directing evolution and that we are witnessing “the end of Darwinism.” “Life on Earth,” Joyce has noted, “has demonstrated extraordinary resiliency and inventiveness in adapting to highly disparate niches. Perhaps the most significant invention of life is a genetic system that has an extensible capacity for inventiveness, something that likely will not be achieved soon for synthetic biological systems. However, once informational macromolecules are given the opportunity to inherit profitable variation through self-sustained Darwinian evolution, they just may take on a life of their own.”

This is not hyperbole. All the key barriers to the artificial synthesis of viruses and bacteria have been overcome, at least on a proof-of-principle basis. In 2002, researchers at SUNY Stony Brook made a living polio virus, constructed from its genetic code. Three years later, scientists worried about pandemic influenza decided to re-create the devastating 1918 Spanish flu virus for research purposes, identifying key elements of the viral genes that gave that virus the ability to kill at least 50 million people in less than two years. What all this means is that the dual-use dilemma that first hit chemistry a century ago, and then hit physics a generation later, is now emerging with special force in contemporary biology.




The chances of a U.S.-Chinese crisis in the coming years are low, but they are not negligible, and they are made more troubling by the risk of such a confrontation escalating. The most important steps Beijing and Washington can take are those that might help prevent crises from developing in the first place. Since uncertainty about the scope of each side’s vital interests would be a trigger for such crises, the two countries should deepen political and military exchanges that focus closely on this problem. Even if they cannot achieve full clarity, discussions can help draw attention to what each side believes poses the greatest risks.


The advent of wearable smartphones could accelerate the disappearance of endangered languages, but also lowering of economic barriers and of fundamentalist intolerance.

By 2020, the ubiquity of wearable smartphones and the power of the conversational interface will give youth everywhere “teacherless education”; that is, conversation, both with remote peers and with the Web itself.

For kids in developing nations, the killer app of teacherless education will be learning a more developed nation’s language at the same time they learn their own. Their wearable will “listen in” as they learn their native language and deliver the same words in the foreign language of choice, along with images, learning aids, and games that test proficiency.

Of the roughly 6,000 languages spoken today, perhaps 3,000 endangered languages will no longer be spoken by children in 2030. Most other languages will have lost users as well, as the languages of developed nations with the most open cultures increasingly take their place. We’ll also see many more scientific, technical, business, social, and artistic “languages” (knowledge systems) taught from birth.


Adults will no longer need to visit a doctor’s office for routine checkups.

By 2030, adult visits to a doctor for an annual physical, blood cholesterol screening, exams for prostate or breast cancer, and many other important but nonemergency consultations will be a thing of the past.

Several trends will drive this change:

1. Technology will enable an accurate and personalized diagnosis in your own home. The ubiquity of smartphones and sensors tied to cloud computing will allow screening for chemical indicators for cancer, blood glucose and oxygenation levels, EKG, respiration rate, heart attack and stroke precursors, and more. The information will upload into a personal medical database, and no human will ever see it until your database alerts your doctor that something is amiss.

2. Patients will, after initial privacy concerns abate, begin to understand that regular, consistent monitoring of many health indicators will act in their favor, preserving good health and indicating potential catastrophic conditions.

3. Insurers will price policies and make coverage conditional on the use of this system of monitoring and detection.

4. The efficient economics of this system address the cost implications of socialized medicine and the looming doctor deficit.

The public-health benefits begin to become evident as daily, real-time reporting of conditions like typical flu symptoms will aid in the delivery of medicines and enable people to avoid interactions where they might either become ill or spread their own illnesses.

Users will be alerted to issues via algorithms that scan daily test results. Computers may send simple text questions to obtain more information; if that questioning cannot resolve the issue, the computer will schedule an examination with an appropriate specialist.


  • Percentage of U.S. adults who considered homosexual relations morally acceptable in 2002: 38
  • Percentage who considered homosexual relations morally acceptable in 2012: 59


  • Estimated number of humans who have been born in the last 50,000 years (when modern humans appeared): 107 billion
  • Percentage of humans ever born who are alive today: 6.5


40 maps that explain the world

2013-09-04T15:36:36.142-04:00 More than half of humanity lives within this circleBy Caitlin Dewey, Published: May 7 at 7:30 amE-mail the writer(Via Imgur)In yet another illustration of China’s and India’s enormous populations, Reddit recently surfaced the above population map, which claims more than half the world’s people live within a circle superimposed over a section of Asia.[...]


The process is fraught with challenges. At the beginning of the process, what these countries have to sell to their customers is their relative poverty. Their poverty allows them to sell labor cheaply. If the process works and the workers are disciplined, investment pours in to take advantage of the opportunities. Like the investors, local entrepreneurs prosper, but they do so at the expense of the workers, whose lives are hard and brutal.

It's not just their work; it's their way of life. As workers move to factories, the social fabric is torn apart. But that rending of life opens the door for a mobile workforce able to take advantage of new opportunities. Traditional life disappears; in its place stand the efficiencies of capitalism. Yet still the workers come, knowing that as bad as their lot is, it is better than it once was. American immigration was built on this knowledge. The workers bought their willingness to work for long hours and low wages. They knew that life was hard but better than it had been at home, and they harbored hopes for their children and with some luck, for themselves....

As the process matures, low wages rise -- producing simple products for the world market is not as profitable as producing more sophisticated products -- and the rate of growth slows down in favor of more predictable profits from more complex goods and services. All nations undergo this process, and China is no exception. This is always a dangerous time for a country. Japan handled it well. China has more complex challenges.


Since the Industrial Revolution, there have always been countries where comparative advantage in international trade has been rooted in low wages and a large work force. If these countries can capitalize on their advantages, they can transform themselves dramatically. These transformations, in turn, reorganize global power structures


The arcs along which nations rise and fall vary in length and slope. China's has been long, as far as these things go, lasting for more than 30 years. The country will continue to exist and perhaps prosper, but this era of Chinese development -- pyramiding on low wages to conquer global markets -- is ending simply because there are now other nations with even lower wages and other advantages. China will have to behave differently from the way it does now, and thus other countries are poised to take its place




Who Authorized Preparations for War with China? – (Yale Journal of International Affairs – June 12, 2013)

In this detailed analysis paper, the military-policy expert Amitai Etzioni asks, “Who authorized preparations for war with China?” His answer is stark: Mr. Obama has spoken of a “pivot to Asia,” but there has been no political intent or desire to have such an active military confrontation with China – in fact, the politics and diplomacy have been moving in the opposite direction. Nonetheless, the Pentagon has concluded that the time has come to prepare for war with China, and in a manner well beyond crafting the sort of contingency plans that are expected for wide a range of possible confrontations. It is a momentous conclusion that will shape the United States’ defense systems, force posture, and overall strategy for dealing with the economically and militarily resurgent China. Etzioni writes, “The imagined result of ASB (AirSea Battle plan) is the ability to end a conflict with China in much the same way the United States ended WWII: The U.S. military defeats China and dictates the surrender terms.” “AirSea Battle is demonizing China,” James Cartwright, the former vice-chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, warned last year. A Marine Corps assessment warned that the concept is “preposterously expensive to build in peace time” and, if used as intended, would “cause incalculable human and economic destruction,” in good part because it makes escalation to nuclear war far more likely. And the Chinese have responded in kind: “If the U.S. military develops AirSea Battle to deal with the [People’s Liberation Army],” Col. Gauyue Fan warned, “the PLA will be forced to develop anti-AirSea Battle.” And that is now taking place. Soon after assuming power last year, Mr. Xi abandoned his predecessor’s commitment to “peaceful rise,” took direct command of the Central Military Commission and commanded the military to focus on “real combat” and “fighting and winning wars.” (Editor’s note: This article is a long, very detailed analysis worth your attention, but if you just want the “bottom line”, see U.S. and China Smile for Cameras, Prepare for War.) 


After the end of World War II, there was an abundance of low-cost labor in Japan, so that’s where manufacturing moved. But as the Japanese economy recovered and the standard of living went up, the cost of making goods also went up. So low-cost manufacturing moved to South Korea. After “the miracle of South Korea,” it moved to Taiwan. When the standard of living went up there, manufacturing moved to the province of Shenzhen in China.


The Limits of the Earth — Part 2: Expanding the Limits


Mega trends


The economic costs of pollution have been the focus of various government-backed studies in China. A recent study by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning found that environmental damage to forests, wetlands, and grasslands shaved 3.5 percent off China’s 2012 GDP. The World Bank puts the total cost of China’s environmental degradation in the late 1990s at between 3.5 and 8 percent of GDP. China’s pollution problem is holding back its economy -- and poisoning its own people and the rest of the world in the process.