Seven predictions about our future. Most are unusual. All are certain to happen (I think)
Summary: What possible futures lie ahead for America and the world. We can only guess, but good guesses will help us prepare. Here are the seven big predictions of the FM website. Our past record is quite good (see the Past Predictions page). You might find these forecasts deserve your attention.
(1) Forecast: Death of the American Constitution, 4 July 2006
The the post-WWII global order collapses around us, but America seems unable to see this – let alone adapt to it. This post discusses one of the most important consequences: is the following still true? It has been revised several times since its original publication in 2006. Other chapters in this series appear at the end.
(2) The Fate of Israel, 28 July 2006
Part two in a series of articles about grand strategy in a 4GW Era. This chapter shows (1) the difficulty of distinguishing strong from weak in 4GW, and (2) that choosing a wrong grand strategy can be terminal for a state. It could easily prove fatal for Israel.
(3) COIN – a perspective from 23rd century textbooks, 10 June 2008
Neither America or any other State will attempt large-scale attempts to directly fight insurgencies in foreign lands. They may send cash, advisers, and trainers, but no combat troops. The local government will retain the lead role. If there is no functioning government, other major powers will either abandon it (e.g., Africa) or take over (intending to restore order and exit). But the incredible cost in blood and money of America’s early 21st century adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan will act as definitive proof of the intolerably low cost-effectiveness of COIN in foreign lands. Historians will find it incredible that such vast resources were wasted in the face of pressing and urgent needs elsewhere.
(4) A third American regime will arise from the ashes of the present one, 30 March 2010 — An optimistic vision.
The dysfunctional nature of our political apparatus shows that the second American regime has begun its death throes. History shows that the transitional period can take decades — and that America can emerge renewed and stronger. Or stronger but undemocratic. Or weaker and undemocratic. Our choices will determine the outcome. Here’s another article with the same theme: “The Coming of the Fourth American Republic” by James V. Delong.
Update: on other days my expectations for the next regime are less optimistic:
- For America to prosper it must first burn, 22 November 2010
- Origins of what may become the 3rd American Republic (a plutocracy), 8 April 2011
- RIP, Constitution. The Second Republic died this week. Of course, we don’t care (that’s why it died)., 5 December 2011
- What will replace the Constitution in Americans’ hearts? Let’s check for Fascism., 29 March 2012
(5) Important: The coming big increase in structural unemployment, 7 August 2010 — First in a series about the next wave of automation, larger than we can imagine.
The future holds many new and strange challenges. And some that we’ve grappled with successfully for generations, but most be confronted anew again. Such as automation. The next wave of automation will affect the service sector, by far the largest sector of employment. It will affect America like nothing since the automation of agriculture, which reshaped America from a rural to urban nation. We can only guess at the effects.
(6) Important: The good news: America’s politics are neither polarized nor dysfunctional. That’s also the bad news., 16 November 2011
How sad that we so underestimate our leaders, confusing their skillful political engineering with folly. Of course their successful manipulation of us allows them to laugh at our scorn. No matter who wins in the 2012 elections, in 2013 our representatives will raise taxes, cut expenditures (including Social Security and Medicare), start rebuilding our infrastructure, and begin the long process of reforming health care. America is well-governed. But not governed in our interests, but rather those of its stakeholders.
Another explanation of this: Fear not! America will not fall due to its citizens’ imprudence. We’ve found a sure solution.
(7) Something different: A look back at our time from the 2100 A.D. edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 24 June 2010 — Some wild speculation and inspired guessing.
Today we have an exercise in future history (see Wikipedia), a look at my forecast of medium-term geopolitical trends. The most interesting predictions are at the end (starting with #4), our responses to the obvious trends.
Also see these FM reference pages