Seven Revolutions

In which fields is the world going to change the most over the next 15 years? The Center for Strategic and International Studies has the answer

and speaks of seven revolutions. Apparently, we are having exciting times ahead of us. The Center is trying to promote that leaders leave the short-sighted thinking behind and look at the greater – not to say sustainable – picture.

The areas which the CSIS sees as most important are:

1. Population: “What effects will population growth/decline, aging, migration and urbanization have on our future world?” Population is not growing at the same pace in all countries; rather “77 percent of population growth will occur in countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia”, the CSIS estimates. Things which have to be taken into account are: pandemics and diseases like HIV/AIDS, high youth dependency ratios, demographic transformations, longer life expectancies and increased migration and urbanization.

2. Resource management and climate change: “What changes will we see in food, water & energy consumption/production?” Many experts believe we have already reached the limits of sustainability, but with revolution 1 in mind we know that growth will not stop that easily. We must therefore “look at the strategic resources of food, water, and energy and the complex inter-linkages that exist between them.” Food: we already have “925 million people face food shortages and 150 million children younger than 5 are malnourished”, so how are we going to deal with this problem? Besides, we are over-exploiting the environment and climate change is not helping either. There is no doubt that we are going to face severe food crises. Water: Drinkable water will become more and more scarce. Already today “more than 884 million people, or one out of every eight persons, live without safe or reliable access to this resource.” Energy: not looking ahead in the energy debate means not finding sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels.

3. Technological innovation and diffusion: “What changes are we going to see in computation, robotics, biotechnology & nanotechnology?” Computers already do things we could have never imagined possible (like taking a picture with your cellphone and it tells who that person is for example). Science will definitely hold many more discoveries and surprises for us; will they be used in the good sense?

4. The development and dissemination of information and knowledge: “How does the vast amount of data change how we learn and govern in the future?” The internet has already shown itself revolution-proof in the Arab spring. Nevertheless, there are still many questions to be answered. Will the internet stay a free place or will it go more and more into the direction of censorship and data-overload? Is internet helping us to share creative ideas, to connect and learn from each other? Who will win the battle on intellectual property rights and the open source society?

5. Economics: “How is our economic landscape changing?” If you are from one of the (many) countries going through a crisis right now, I’m sure this is the area where you’d like to see a revolution. Will the juggernaut globalization keep transforming our planet? And what does it mean for international relations and the neoliberal world system? Are we going to see a more equal world?

6. The nature and mode of security: “How do we cope with a post-9/11 world? Or is there a new paradigm?” Are we going to overcome the “Clash of Civilisations” mentality? What are the futures for war, terrorism and transnational crime in a world with more and more scary weapons?

7. The challenge of governance: “The Future of Global Governance”. This point actually brings it all together. Are we going to learn to address together the problems that affect us all? (as far as the climate goes, things don’t look that way, at least not in Durban). Are we going to find the new way of global governance which seems to be needed to clean up the mess the other six points are creating? Let’s hope so.

If you were lazy and din’t want to read all the text, here’s the video:

(If it doesn’t work, click here)

So what do you think? Looking at all of these things awaiting us, wouldn’t it be time to stop thinking only as far as the next elections? I think it’s time to turn these seven revolutions into new wonders of the world.

Picture by tsukubajin. Thank you!

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