One of my friends emailed me with Sterling's State of the World, 2014 edition. This year's seemed a bit light, so here are 4 comments about the past year, and 4 comments about our collective futures.
2013 in review =
Depression / WWII spawned budgets survived the end of the cold war
Snowden and Manning showed that sunshine doesn't really impact global politics, it only hits wayward individuals.
Bots keep getting smarter
If someone doesn't have at least one bot working for them, they're the proverbial one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest.
Energy use growth continues along exponential path
Vaclav Smil has a good quote about how someone with a typical suburban house and SUV has the energy equivalent of 6000 human slaves. And what do we do with that army at our every day disposal?
We keep dumping energy into the atmosphere
Thereby melting the poles and perhaps making big storms more powerful.
Future in review =
For individuals, we've learned about managing antemortal pain. We've not done the same for societies.
Japan's working-age population has been shrinking since the '90s resulting in villages dying and people aggregating, leaving utilities and gov'ts with large legacy overhead and diminishing revenue.
Tepco and others have to learn how to gracefully kill off parts of their infrastructure without compromising their overall architecture. Managing that pain is something we don't know how to do yet, so we accidentally blow up nuclear power plants instead.
The world's wealth is growing exponentially. It's fine to bandy around Anti-Bankster / Redistributive rhetoric, but if someone can't successfully play devil's advocate and argue for allowing people to trade what they want, then that person looks an awful lot like the aforementioned one-legged individual.
Those lucky enough to live in the capital-rich parts of the world will have an advantage competing against the less-rich, but only if the wealthy use their capital to their advantage.
Happy is the poor smart man who goes up against a dumb rich man.
Resident Intel and China's Fleet
Governments will likely be too busy playing with their new citizen monitoring toys for the next few years. We probably won't see any real conflicts unless we have some food / energy catastrophe.
China will keep building out its fleet and it will grow to rival the US. Their expanding sphere of influence and global projection of force will likely result in dominant capture of Africa.
India and China will keep ironing out their spheres of influence. Where that leaves Singapore and Southeast Asia is anyone's guess. That said, there's still plenty of money to be made, and that will grease the wheels for the next 10 or 20 years.