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Four Scenarios to Resolve the Global MegaCrisis

Four Strategies to Resolve the Global MegaCrisis

 

Overview

We start by acknowledging that the present global order is not sustainable. The Trend Analysis below makes it clear that climate, pandemics, government gridlock, conflict, inequality, water, and other threats are leading to disaster.  Michael Marien and William called it the “Global MegaCrisis.” The New York Times reported that 56% of 10,000 people who were surveyed think “humanity is doomed.” (May 3, 2022)  A recent report by the UN warns that a “total societal collapse” is likely unless serious action is taken quickly. (ByLine Times, May 26, 2022)

The first phase of this study tested 2 scenarios — Global Consciousness and Muddling Through — but the results were inconclusive. We then developed the 4 scenarios described below, which produced interesting and credible conclusions.  Results show that Global Consciousness is rated most highly, but the two Muddling Through scenarios are most likely. The first Muddling Through scenario describes how Global Consciousness can evolve gradually rather than emerge full-blown. Combining both scenarios 1 and 2 then produces a combined probability for some type of global consciousness at about 50% — teetering on the divide between maturity and catastrophe. The Second Muddling Through scenario based on capitalism and technology has a poor outcome, and the “autocratic” scenario is terrible. 

These results suggest a strategy of muddling through with the need for sustainable solutions and cooperation in mind.  Then allow global consciousness to evolve gradually as threats are addressed, and at some point make global consciousness the dominant worldview.

Research Method

After we first framed this study, Round One invited estimates for two scenarios. Results of Round One were inconclusive, so Round Two expanded the study to 4 scenarios. 

TechCast is grateful to the following 33 contributors who provided the data reported here:  Peter King,  Margherita Abe,  Jacques Malan, Clay McDean, Lester Ingber, Art Murray, Leopold Mureithi,  Tom Dickinson, John Smart, Gerry Stoopman, Rene Opplinger, Art Shostak, John Meagher, Young-Jin Choi, David Passig, Jose Cordeiro, Sami Makilianan, Steve Hausman, Mark Sevening, Victor Motti, Andrew Micone, Ruben Nelson, Clark Capshaw, Gerd Leonhard, Chris Galick, Michael Lee, Kent Myers, Yul Anderson, Wendell Wallach, Paul Haase, Angus Hooke, and Xin-Wu Lin. 

 

Four Alternative Scenarios

These four scenarios provide a varied and plausible set of options that are short and accurate summaries of four distinctively different paths comprising the full range of strategic thought. We make a point of focusing on the actions taken and their strategic implications, without presuming to know or evaluate the outcomes.  Those judgments are left to our contributors when making their estimates.

The following four scenarios span the full range from “transformative change” to “regression”.  The No. 1 option describes how a global vision and plans emerge to develop a sustainable world. Option No. 2 continues to muddle through but global consciousness evolves as challenges are met with sustainable solutions. Option 3 muddles through by relying on market forces and free enterprise. The final option reverts to strong governance to manage disorder.

 
1. Global Consciousness Emerges 

As climate, pandemics and other threats became more severe, leaders in business, government, and grassroots groups advocated various forms of global consciousness to form a sustainable world. Proposals for changing worldviews were abundant with great confusion. The UN formed a special task force to form a “Global Vision,” along the lines of its Sustainable Development Goals, stressing respect for the planet and cooperation. A new pandemic emerged, and this time it was well managed better through global cooperation. The media, most nations and corporations worked together on technological advances, business initiatives, and government plans to transform world systems for achieving this vision of planetary health. A sense of global awareness, responsibility and shared values emerged, much like the global support provoked by the war on Ukraine — global consciousness.

 
2.  Muddling Toward Sustainable Enterprise and Hi-Tech (Sustainability and Cooperation Guiding Global Markets and Hi-Tech) 

As climate, pandemics and other threats became more severe, people resisted all-encompassing changes but they focused more on sustainable solutions and cooperation to guide global markets, creative entrepreneurs, and technological innovation. Governments set up a global carbon tax, with the proceeds returned to citizens for strengthening economic growth. Business invested heavily in renewable energies, and most people made the lifestyle changes needed to reduce CO2. A new pandemic emerged, and this time nations worked with WHO to develop global solutions.  The rise in ESG programs to work on social problems with stakeholders reinforces the new ethic of collaboration, shifting attitudes everywhere. In 2022, 1000 companies began partnering with the government on climate solutions. Al Gore claimed, “We are in the early stages of a Sustainability Revolution” (Time). After some progress, these changes seemed to form the beginning of global consciousness. 

 
3. Muddling Through with Capitalism and Technology (Global Markets, Free Enterprise, Profit, and Technology)  

As climate, pandemics and other threats became more severe, people resisted all-encompassing changes because many thought that the dangers are overblown, that market forces driven by profit motives would find solutions, and renewable energy was growing in use. Corporations started new initiatives to adopt renewable technologies. A new pandemic emerged, and pharmaceutical firms developed more advanced treatments. The past reliance on markets alone failed to address these crises, but renewables are now cheaper than carbon-based fuels, so their decreasing costs should help mitigate climate change problems. With renewables growing at about 30% per year, the present 2% of global energy due to wind and solar should double to 4% by 2025, 8% about 2028, 16% by 2031, 32% about 2034, etc. Carbon capture, geothermal, wave energy and even nuclear fusion could also help in the long term.

 
4. Revert to Strong Governance  

As climate, pandemics and other threats became more severe, people came to believe that stronger forms of governance were needed to avoid disaster. This reinforced the trend toward autocratic leaders who are able to act free of the demanding nature of democracy. Rules for business operations, government work, and public behavior were imposed to curb disorder, and some burdensome regulations on civil rights and environmental safeguards were dropped. A new pandemic emerged, and solutions were mandated. Climate problems seem to be under fairly good control with various technical requirements, but crises erupt occasionally. 

 

Results

Bar charts presented below summarize the averages for the 4 scenarios. What stands out is that the 2 Muddling Through scenarios are most likely and that favorable outcomes diminish markedly moving from progressive to regressive scenarios. 

The averages in the bar charts do not show the details, of course, with some responses differing wildly. This diversity of opinion can be seen in the comments below. And we should note that the definitions of the 4 scenarios changed a bit as we struggled to define them accurately. We strongly suggest that readers look over the details in the comments as they provide a rich understanding not shown the statistics.  Salient comments are used in the conclusions to capture this richness.                             

                  

 

Conclusions

1: Global Consciousness Is Rated Most Highly

The favorable outcome of the Global Consciousness (GC) scenario is undisputed, although its probability is only 19%.  Our experts anticipated this conclusion. Young-Jin Choi noted, “Scenario 1 is an ideal but unlikely scenario,” and Ian Browde said, “My gut feel is that we are on the cusp (within 20 years) of a shift in global consciousness.” And Art Murray even anticipated the low probability, ” Option 1 would produce the best results, but has the lowest probability.” Rene Opplinger notes that the world has solved a similar crisis: “The world has proven before that environmental protection measures could be implemented effectively (e.g. regarding the ozone layer).”

While a 20% probability is discouraging, it should be noted that Scenario 2 also leads to GC, but through the process of muddling through. Thus, the probability of GC occurring is more like 19% plus 31% for a total probability of 50%.

This conclusion clarifies our earlier forecast that GC is most likely to emerge at the leading edge about 2030 +/- 5 years. We can now assign a probability to this forecast of roughly 50%. Not bad. 

We also note that this dramatic change is likely to be spurred by massive threats that make it clear there is no alternative. Clark Capshaw thought,  “A full-on crisis may be necessary to spur action,” and  Gerry Stoopman thinks “… catastrophic environmental disaster(s) will shock a sufficiently large number of people worldwide into supporting serious mitigation actions.” Michael Lee agrees: “Humans only reach peace when all other options have been exhausted.”

But this conclusion comes with serious doubts by many. Clay McDean wrote: “I continue to be a global consciousness skeptic.  The likelihood of a meaningful, cogent, actionable Global Consciousness is unlikely.  However, were one to emerge it would undoubtedly be highly effective.” Xin-Wu Lin is even more adamant: “Global Consciousness is impossible when each person considers his own situation.” And Lester Ingber says, “I have to follow the camp against GC happening. My reasoning is that we are a species that requires ‘Them vs Us’; it’s in our DNA.”  Jacques Malan dislikes any form of control: “As a Libertarian with a conservative bent, I absolutely hate the idea of having a “big brother” dictate terms to me.” Paul Haase said: “As we see people’s behavior in the past, taking into account the lack of political will which has been ongoing for more than 20 yrs, we cannot trust the emergence of Global Consciousness,” and Tom Dickinson thinks: “We may have missed the opportunity.”

 
2: The Two Muddling Through Scenarios are most likely, but they have lower outcomes.

The two Muddling Through Scenarios are estimated to have probabilities of 31% and 28%, the highest probabilities in this study. This testifies to the attraction of incrementally finding a way through the minefield of threats rather than choosing a solution that may be dubious. John Meagher agreed: “The two scenarios described as “muddling through” seem most promising to reach some reasoned consensus for the Global MegaCrisis. And Clay McDean was eloquent in explaining: “Necessity is the mother of invention and so humankind figures out a way to get through the worst of things. It may not be pretty but we get there. We squeak by.” 

But opinions divide between the two forms of muddling through. As the comments below suggest, Scenario 2 adds a layer of sustainability and cooperation to the capitalist market forces, entrepreneurs, and innovators in Scenario 3.

Scenario 2 muddles through but adopts concepts of sustainability and cooperation to guide markets and entrepreneurs, eventually allowing GC to evolve incrementally, rather than in one grand vision (Scenario 1). Michael Lee notes the need to develop support from the bottom up: “We need a grassroots people’s movement which promotes low tech for local problems and high tech for global problems to accelerate sustainability.” And Gerd Leonhard explains at length: “The Covid crisis has painfully reminded people of what’s really important: collaboration, trust, engagement and striving for collective benefit. We will either all do better or nobody will … the hopeful narrative of global consciousness must REPLACE the existing narrative of the dystopian and hopeless future …what used to be unthinkable (such as carbon tax, deep global sanctions or a ‘United States of Europe’) might well become the new normal.”

By contrast, the muddling through of Scenario 3 focuses on the status quo of capitalism and technology, with a much lower outcome of 1.1 rather than 3.7 for Scenario 2. Wendell Wallach expressed the present situation best: “This scenario captures where we are and have been for the past decade and shows distinct signs of leading to a deterioration in any shared commitment to cooperate.” Clay McDean is leery of market forces alone, “Leaving it purely to market forces is too simplistic,”  and Gerd Leonhard agrees: “Capitalism, as we have practiced it until now, is unfit for the future.”  Lester Inger noted the destructive power of unbridled self-interest: “We humans will continue to desecrate our Earth, if not by mass disregard, then by greed by the few.” And Yul Anderson speaks for the needy: “Many of society are still locked out of wealth creation and are still feeling hopeless about escaping their fate.” Chris Garlick notes that progress will be uneven: “Urban areas will advance rapidly while rural and third-world countries will be stagnant”.

The prevailing wisdom was summed up nicely by Michael Lee: “Capitalism requires a counterbalance with cooperation; it is more a part of the problem than it is part of the solution. The free market is an impersonal force that is driven by greed and leads inexorably to predatory social behavior. Competition must be counterbalanced by cooperation and collaboration.” While Angus Hooke is confident in capitalism: “I am skeptical of most doomsday scenarios … deep down, I think we will muddle through. And I am putting my money on the free enterprise system and the technical progress it generates as the main contributors to our survival.”

Our respondents also expressed doubt about the dominant role often attributed to technology. Sami Makelainen suspects, “30% growth of renewables is unrealistic once the absolute numbers become big enough.”

3: Autocracy a Quick Solution But Not Sustainable.

It was surprising to find such strong support for the autocracy scenario. But there it is — a stunning 22 % probability.  The expected outcomes are a horrible -4. The view of our experts is that autocracy may be an appealing way to maintain control when the situation is perilous, but the closing off of diverse opinions, inflexibility, and loss of support eventually dooms it to failure. Art Murray summed it up this way: “I gave this scenario the highest probability, based on the premise that a trend in motion tends to stay in motion until it exhausts itself … such approaches might work over the short term, but never over the long term.” Michael Lee agrees: “Even though I hate autocracies, I believe this trend hasn’t peaked yet.”

A central theme is the illusion of action. Margherita Abe noted, “Not all autocrats will necessarily rule in a way that promotes solutions.” Kent Myers pointed out the fallacy: “Fearful people seem to think it works better, but they are just hoping that they are on the side of the winners when they are just the loyal slaves of the true masters.” Andrew Micone is eloquent: “The global trend towards nationalism is a natural reaction to a world in crisis; in the face of uncertainty, people turn to a confident, decisive leader with a commonsense solution. Indeed, a part of human myth and folklore is that in turmoil, a leader will arise to bring people to a promised land. However, as H. L. Mencken noted in 1920, “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.” 

And some think autocracy is the inevitable result of liberalism. Jacques Malan: “if you give Scenario 1 or even 2 too much rope, it will inevitably end up at this point. If you don’t believe me, read Animal Farm again. ” 

 
4: Small Chance of Decline to Disaster

The results for this possibility are few, and they range from 2% to 80%, averaging about 25%.  If the 4 strategies above fail, we conclude there is a modest but serious probability that none of these options will be successful and civilization descends into anarchy and primitive tribalism. Wendell Wallach noted this change in outlook: “A significant increase over what I would have concluded a decade ago.” Tom Dickinson noted that base instincts are powerful: “We are fundamentally driven by motives of self-preservation and survival.” Art Murray explained that the problem may vary by region: ” … the chaos, although widespread, will be localized (the reversion to primitive tribalism) and in which case, there will be pockets of enlightened culture and pockets of sheer barbarism (much like the peace-loving, happy people of Bhutan vs the madness of North Korea that we see today)” 

 

Comments 

 

General 
Ian Browde

My gut feel is that we are on the cusp (within 20 years) of a shift in global consciousness, that is, ironically being exacerbated by some of the more egregious official behavior (US Supreme Court justices lying under oath, Ukraine invasion, etc.) 

Gerry Stoopman

I believe that big enough and catastrophic environmental disaster(s) will shock a sufficiently large number of people worldwide into supporting serious mitigation actions. I also believe that it’s going to take partnerships between businesses and academic research centers worldwide, promoted by the UN, and government incentives to develop successful climate change mitigation solutions. Either business or government actions by themselves alone won’t do it.  

John Meagher

The two scenarios described as “muddling through” seem most promising to reach some reasoned consensus for the Global MegaCrisis.  However imperfect our “muddling through” has been, it has brought about a world that allows people and their governments to express themselves for many successes and failures, to challenges we have experienced and endured. In a way, this is the reality of “global consciousness”. The two muddling through scenarios may be an example going forward of practical participative democracy and problem-solving approaches that might lead to sustainable outcomes that could become globally adopted.  

We have tried to unite as a species toward common purposes first via the League of Nations in the early 20th century, then later and now with the UN and by other means with limited successes and failures.  The Global Consciousness scenario has too much subjectivity leading to conflict of interests making it unlikely to be practically implemented, yet the aspirations described are positive.  Any global consciousness needs a solid foundational basis in science and objectivity supplanting subjectivity to attain global acceptance for a reasonable chance of long-term sustainable adoption to drive actions. The best means to do that in my opinion is participative democracy. 

Young-Jin Choi

Scenario 1 is an ideal but unlikely scenario. Unfortunately, our current education and media systems are not designed for this purpose; on the contrary, they represent obstacles. Scenario 2 is more probable in comparison and might allow human civilization to barely make its way out of the climate crisis with recoverable trauma, but it requires substantial additional effort, wisdom, determination, heroic activism, and advocacy to become real. Scenarios 3 and 4 are in my view failure scenarios – they both mean too little too late and represent a path dependency to a delayed decline to disaster. In scenario 3, the pace and scale of a largely voluntary, market-driven transformation will likely be too slow to prevent a transition/overlap with scenario 4. In scenario 4, the corruption and intense nationalism/militarization which tends to be associated with autocracies are likely to prevent the science-driven international cooperation that is needed. Precious resources are likely to be squandered on internal and external conflicts and wars.  

Michael Lee

I imagine the next ten years being a mixture of scenarios 2 (positive) and 4 (negative) producing a stop-start form of progress with one step forward and two steps backward, followed by two steps forward and one step backward. Economic models will be mixed, and we are probably seeing the last days of the global domination of free-market capitalism. Eventually, we will reach true economics based on sustainable ecosystems and world peace but that will only be after all other models have failed and it is the last option to try out. Humans only reach peace when all other options have been exhausted. 

Sami Makelainen

I do not necessarily think any one of those scenarios captures the most likely outcome – that of muddling through but with very regionally divided elements. In my opinion, we’re basically looking at a collapse scenario in some geographical domains and high-tech “sustainability” in others, along with unfortunately the rise of some hard borders. My baseline estimate is that any form of global consciousness is extremely unlikely to emerge, so even the modest percentages for the scenarios talking about it are probably generous.

All scenarios have their own optimistic flare to them; for example, YOY 30% growth of renewables is unrealistic once the absolute numbers become big enough – energy systems simply are incapable of moving at that speed from a pure materials point of view; the mention of Ukraine as a world coming together also dismisses the fact that large chunks of the world (Africa, India, China, and others) have much more sympathy for Russia than the current prevailing western media would lead you to believe. The “strong unity” of the world against Russia is limited to the Western countries. 

Clark Capshaw

I feel that many people do not take these issues seriously enough and that a full-on crisis may be necessary to spur action.  That said, I do think that certain agencies and companies are presently working on solutions, which will be useful and may actually help address some of the issues without such a kind of crisis taking place.  I have faith in the foresight of some forward-looking individuals and companies, but in the current political climate, it is more likely that politicians would oppose strong action rather than using authoritative means to create necessary action.  In most cases, we do seem to just “muddle through” and things tend to turn out OK eventually.  

Chris Garlick

While each of the scenarios alone provides a compelling argument, perfect governance will never exist.  While there may be additional awareness of key issues around global warming and social-economic disparity may shift slightly to new emerging products, but will still rely on the base economics of supply and demand that heavily weigh traditional methods and approaches.  Urban areas will advance rapidly while rural and third-world countries will be stagnant.  Society will fumble through new technologies and market failures until it stabilizes with a re-balancing portfolio that matches generational shifts in wealth. 

Gerd Leonhard

We are entering an era of successive and far-reaching paradigm shifts (probably for at least 8-10 years). The Covid crisis has painfully reminded people of what’s really important: collaboration, trust, engagement, and striving for collective benefit. We will either all do better or nobody will. The world has become a giant, interconnected ecosystem where everything and everyone is linked – and the only way forward is to take advantage of that fact and develop a global consciousness and a ‘global citizen’ scenario, with global answers for our most pressing global issues such as climate change, food, energy, water, disease, AGI and human genome editing, and space exploration (to name only a few). 

Gen Y (and some Gen Z’s, as well) is in great shock because of the effects of the pandemic, the coming wave of climate change disasters, the war in Europe, and the threat of technological domination. They are not simply heading towards a ‘great resignation’; instead, they are ready to consider and dare dramatic change, economically, politically, culturally, and most important, morally and humanly. Normal is over – and now it’s clear that ‘Normal’ wasn’t good enough in the first place. Business as usual is dead or dying. Capitalism, as we have practiced it until now, is unfit for the future.  

This is an era of great questioning, confusion, and emotional turmoil – and it will reboot everything.  Keep in mind that while Baby Boomers and Gen X are still very much in the picture, Gen Y will quickly become the dominant force in business, politics, and society in the next 5 years. A feeling of ‘being global’ is already very pervasive in this cohort. We can see this happening in New Zealand, Iceland, Scandinavia, Chile, and soon, Brazil, already.

In my opinion, the hopeful narrative of global consciousness must REPLACE the existing narrative of the dystopian and hopeless future, and the prevailing belief that humans can do little good, in general. The thought-leadership in terms of ‘the future’ must shift away from technology companies, star entrepreneurs, or billionaires to the leading public thinkers and/or a global ‘humanity council’ that could incite a movement. The outcome of such a global campaign could be a key trigger for leading us into a potential ‘strange golden era’  instead of a doomsday all-is-lost world. See Black Mirror or films such as the Social Dilemma.

I think this scenario is very likely as conflicts are coming to a head, and what used to be unthinkable (such as carbon tax, deep global sanctions or a ‘United States of Europe’) might well become the new normal.  

Yul Anderson

Russia’s invasion is catastrophic for humanity as there is no political will to disrupt a potential increase in global hunger, starvation, and poverty.  The US is seen as the only funder of arms for Ukraine which of course lines more pockets of the social navigators and global dominance.  What does this mean for the weak and the 56% that believe humanity is doomed?  That 56% needs to be stratified by race, wealth, and access. Power, money, wealth, and jobs are concentrated in circling the wagon, and access to transportation will become more expensive and more privatized as the super-wealthy create more super-wealthy communities 

Wendell Wallach

The times are tenuous. The future has not been written.  The four scenarios plus a disastrous decline are not discrete options.  A combination of muddling through, civil wars over the form of governance, stable regions, and mass starvation of refugee populations is quite conceivable as is a reduction in the world population by as much as 5% or more.  

Xin-Wu Lin

Global Consciousness is impossible when each person considers his own situation.   The fact is that now we all face people who are controlled in China and Russia. Their thoughts and behaviors are totally different from those of us who live in a democratic world. It is not easy to understand and predict their next steps.

According to what happened recently, the behaviors of directors in China, Russia, N. Korea have already led the world to disorder. The four alternative scenarios do not consider those countries’ leaders that still have intense benefits connected with China and Russia. The world is becoming a multipolar situation. However, if we put that kind of situation aside, policies from governments that could lead and shift the behaviors of enterprises and people are very critical.  The policies like CBAM, GDPR as well as some requests of ESG from financial regulators could be good examples. Good (instead of strong) governance and policies’ intervention will lead and influence enterprises and civilians to a positive future. 

Angus Hooke

If we survive for 100 years, there will likely be many people living outside Earth, on other celestial bodies and manufactured objects. We will be putting our eggs into an increasing number of baskets and the likelihood of our species continually evolving and adapting to new environments will rise as more time passes.

However, we may not get to that threshold. Evolution has led to the creation of trillions of different species competing for limited resources, and the only ones that still exist have very strong personal survival instincts. We extend our target groups to families and some others, but only because a degree of cooperation is in our self-interest. As the target group widens (to cities, states, countries, and regional blocs), so does the number of different and inconsistent agendas increase. It is possible that a few large competing groups will emerge and engage in activities that lead to the extinction of our species.

However, I am skeptical of most doomsday scenarios. Throughout there has always been an ogre waiting to devour us. In the late 1940s, when I was in high school, Australians were told that we would all die of syphilis, which the Americans had brought to Europe during WWII and the Australian soldiers had then brought back to their homeland (If America hadn’t surpassed Great Britain as the world’s leading economic power, we would have placed the blame on the English soldiers). Every Sunday, we were told that the only hope for survival was zero sex outside marriage. However, we learned to make better condoms and developed some new medicines to combat syphilis. In the 1960s, nuclear war was the preferred extinction event and unilateral disarmament was the shouted solution. Instead, MAD at least bought us time to engineer a more sustainable solution. And we have “muddled through” on this one for more than six decades.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, starvation was claimed to be inevitable due to rapid population growth (which peaked at 2.1% in 1969), fixed supplies of fossil fuels and farmland. Ehrlich proclaimed.” In the 1970s the world will undergo famines — hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. “ Paul Gilding (former head of Greenpeace) said “…we have passed the limits of our planet’s capacity to support. Our current model of economic growth is driving this system over the cliff.” Richard Heinberg of the Post-Carbon Institute stated that: “Economic growth as we have known it is over and done with. The general trend-line of the economy … will be level or downward rather than upward from now on.” Bill McKibben (The End of Nature) argued that economic growth is “the one big habit we finally must break. However, from 1970 to 2020, the global population more than doubled (from 3.7 billion to 7.8 billion) and the gross world product from $23 trillion to $146 trillion). And now, every year farmers are leaving the industry in the millions, and few are worried about reserves of fossil fuels.

Since then, we have had major concerns about water (The diet of the average American requires 3,600 liters of water per day. But if a population of 10 billion had the same diet, we would still need only 3% of global freshwater supplies; and current technologies would still bring the percentage below the 1980s level of 1.7%), climate change, climate warming, pandemics, and collisions with near-Earth objects. Each of these has been given extinction dates that are now several decades behind us. The current forecasts of imminent disaster may well turn out to be correct. But, deep down, I think we will muddle through. And I am putting my money on the free enterprise system and the technical progress it generates as the main contributors to our survival. 

 
Scenario 1. Global Consciousness Emerges  
Clay McDean

I continue to be a global consciousness skeptic.  The likelihood of a meaningful, cogent, actionable Global Consciousness is unlikely.  However, were one to emerge it would undoubtedly be highly effective. 

Lester Ingber

I have to follow the camp against GC happening. My reasoning is that we are a species that requires “Them vs Us”; it’s in our DNA. Yes, I would love to believe otherwise, but I just do not see that happening. The alternative is for us to “muddle along,” in that good people will continue to do good things, bad people will continue to do bad things, and the rest of humans will just try to get by as best they can. As Putin’s War demonstrates, there is no way that Humans will ever give up their precious wars.  It’s just not in our DNA.  There is a strong possibility that AI will dominate any trend toward Human Global Consciousness, possibly leading to unprecedented control of Humans. 

Art Murray

Option 1 would produce the best results, but has the lowest probability, only because the people in power will fiercely resist turning that power over to “grassroots” or free enterprise. Even if we completely resolve the current crisis, there will always be new challenges. 

Tom Dickinson

We may have missed the opportunity, or don’t realize we’ve been in this state pretty much since the invention and spread of moveable type and printing
augmented by the telegraph and telephone. 

Margherita Abe

Having an altruistic force behind Option 1to avert climate disaster makes this scenario, though unlikely to occur, the one with the most obvious positive outcome. 

Rene Opplinger

The world has proven before that environmental protection measures could be implemented effectively (e.g. regarding the ozone layer).  Beyond that, I see global consciousness critically because we are moving into a sharp bipolar world order (USA-China) and a global consciousness also carries dangers. Revolutions, religions, and dictatorships (e.g., Mao: The Great Leap Forward) have claimed to have a global solution but not without enormous damage. Overall, positive global consciousness will have a very hard time because of the lack of political structures that can take the right actions in a decentralized way at the local level. Moreover, the world is not yet willing to question things that until now have mainly brought benefits, namely globalization. 

Jacques Malan

As a Libertarian with a conservative bent, I absolutely hate the idea of having a “big brother” dictate terms to me – especially one as dysfunctional as the UN. I almost hate this idea as much as scenario 4. But I do agree that if it was feasible, the outcome for the earth and maybe 50% of its inhabitants would not be too bad in the short term. 

Andrew Micone

There is a sense that the world is out of balance. When America was colonized, the Hopi described their way of life ending with the word Koyaanisqatsi. Translated as “corrupted existence” or “a state of life that calls for another way of living,” it also describes our sense of dread. Yet, in the face of Manifest Destiny, rampant land speculation, and forced relocation, only 115 Hopi out of 4,000 accepted the plan. Suppose that history is indicative of human nature. In that case, we may need a machine consciousness, coupled with advanced data science, to make our global consciousness actionable. 

Michael Lee

The power of nationalism, populism, high levels of fear and anxiety, and social media “bubbles”  would probably work against a  global consciousness in the next decade. There is still a far too wide a gap between rich and poor, haves and have nots, exacerbated by the vast numbers of migrants and refugees in the world.

Kent Myers

I was more skeptical that thinking could change this way. It’s similar to the way we deal with mass shootings. Climate losses are just another chapter, and we can do nothing about it. But now I’m thinking that some event may be large and quick enough to be truly arresting and that we sense that something can actually be done about it.

Yul Anderson

As more corporations expand, humans, individuals, and the working class will be locked out of wealth and locked into working-class poverty, driving, or traveling on average 2 hours each day to a decent job.  Those who work from home live in isolated areas with limited access to the super-wealthy cities, like, NY, San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, Dallas, and Miami.  The trouble with corporations and governments is that they believe they know best how to manipulate society. More Control.  A global consciousness will evolve, but I am just not sure if it is the corporation whose consciousness is being awakened.  Corporate lives can be like Roller Ball or Soylent Green. 

Wendell Wallach

While the emergence of world consciousness is a hopeful scenario it will need to be more than a secular vision or an intellectual force for integration.  At the moment, the felt positive spiritual/emotive impetus for such a worldwide movement is not in evidence.  Empowering hope is never easy. 

Paul Haase 

As we see people’s behavior in the past, taking into account the lack of political will which has been ongoing for more than 20 yrs we cannot trust the emergence of Global Consciousness. High dependency on technology (e. g. food industry) requires the consumption of fossil energy for a decade or more and cannot be reverted easily (only at extremely high costs). Short-sighted outcomes will further drive behavior if not guided and/ or imposed by governments and rules frameworks.  

Scenario 2.  Muddling Toward Sustainable Enterprise and Hi-Tech  
Rene Opplinger

This change is already well underway wherever the financial resources are available. The problem lies in the fact that most of the world’s population has hardly any means or opportunities to make a change. As a result, the gap between poverty and wealth continues to widen massively. In addition, there is great mendacity in lifestyle changes: the rich now drive Tesla and heat the swimming pool with solar power, and they then call this renunciation. 

Lester Ingber

Humans are pretty good at this, except for the sustainability part. For example, with respect to Climate Change, which Science tells us must be addressed soon if we are to salvage Earth, the next few short years will tell us if we can do this. Even with controlled Fusion at our doorstep, we humans will continue to desecrate our Earth, if not by mass disregard, then by greed by the few.

Clay McDean

This is the most likely scenario.  Necessity is the mother of invention and so humankind figures out a way to get through the worst of things, muddling indeed. It may not be pretty but we get there.  We squeak by.  

Jacques Malan

Similar comments to that of scenario 1 above. Relying on Governments and the WHO. No thank you. If it did get off the ground, a moderately positive effect on Earth is possible for maybe 30% of its inhabitants in the short term. 

Andrew Micone

With the current crisis in Ukraine, we’ve seen that the one system through which we can cooperate globally is the market system. World trade makes us all interdependent. It is the de facto system globally for regulating human ambition. Guiding markets to prioritize sustainability will require advances in economics, data science, machine learning, and cyber-defenses to protect decision-making information. Global consciousness needs to advance so that those who benefit from the status quo realize that the shortcoming in their thinking imperils what they have built. 

Michael Lee

This is the way to go because it is incremental and doable for most societies, communities, and demographic groups. It is also in keeping with social and biological evolution. Most of humanity would be prepared to live with this incremental “muddling through” and would readily rely on high tech because of the huge global success of the mobile phone to reach the whole of humanity in a short time. Dump all lying and phony politicians into the waste bin of history and invest in low tech and high tech and we will see a better world within a decade. Instead of populism, which relies on hollow, phony orators like Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, we need a grassroots people’s movement which promotes low tech for local problems and high tech for global problems to accelerate sustainability.  

Kent Myers

It produces results gradually, but we will come to realize these results are wholly inadequate.  We might even get to net-zero rapidly, then realize that civilization collapses with steady-state at 400ppm.  Missed the opportunity for rapid removal of gasses to the level that prevailed for 10000 years, prior to industrial runaway combustion 

Yul Anderson

The Russian invasion of Ukraine makes people see the futility of resistance to autocratic power solidified in one man/woman.  As a result, Climate Change will be fought over by those with less power, and the continued of plastics will make weak nations uninhabitable.  There may not be an opportunity for collaboration as many of the poor and weak have died from Covid 35 and increased climate change.  However, the continued misuse of the word makes climate change seem livable and sustainable.  Many, if able will seek environments that have less impact due to climate change. 

Wendell Wallach

Despite a few hopeful signs, there has been a decline in the likelihood of this more hopeful internationalist scenario. Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that to date this has been a more elitist vision that served those in power or with privileges and failed to address the distribution crisis or embrace meaningful inclusivity.

Paul Haase

Smartly Guiding Markets are the key to success with a forward-looking rapid improvement of high tech — in many areas initially funded by government subsidies and/ or protected by trade tariffs and penalities. Multinational alliances of the “willing” with strong market power can make this scenario happen to force other countries to follow. 

 
Scenario 3. Muddling Through with Capitalism and Technology  
Wendell Wallach

This scenario captures where we are and have been for the past decade and shows distinct signs of leading to a deterioration in any shared commitment to cooperate.   

Lester Ingber

Humans are good at this too. Yes, enterprise and technology will be on the upswing, but the issue is what can we expect of these forces? Perhaps the confluence of Quantum Computing (for control of systems) and Controlled Fusion (to provide alternative energy sources) make yet work out fine for all of us — if a war does not crush some of these industrial plants. Of course, we all recognize that there are saints among us that will always be there, but the ratio of Saints to Sinners will still be low. 

Clay McDean

This scenario is likely coupled with #2.  Leaving it purely to market forces is too simplistic, though undoubtedly a factor.  As innovation makes things affordable, corporations and entrepreneurs will surely make changes and racing for the advantage.  That said for a significant number of companies to change there either must be pre-existing cultural pressure or rapid adoption of emerging technology to effect societal-wide change.  This can happen quickly once a tipping point is reached but as most corporations are loath to kill cash cows and are dragged forward by market (and society) changing innovators… until that inflection reaches critical mass. 

Margherita Abe

I estimate a lower outcome because the expectation that market forces will mitigate climate change assumes that pressures on the market are supportive. However, an event like the current Ukraine war produces not just attempts to enhance green tech but also pressures to increase FF production.  There is not an obvious clear winner here thus far.  From this one might consider that market forces left to themselves may not produce results consistent with the changes needed to avert climate disaster. 

Rene Opplinger

Many countries have already taken drastic measures, and more are on the way. A scenario in which these do not play an important role does not seem plausible to me.

Jacques Malan

This is the most likely (realistic) scenario in my view. It offers the least positive outcome for both the earth and its inhabitants in the short term, but one with plenty of freedom. The only one that I would buy into. Or should I say one I have already bought into?  My house is going off-grid, both with water and electricity. My next car is going to be an EV. I work in Renewable Energy. AND I can choose my religion, what to put into my body (yes, I am vaccinated, but you don’t have to be), how to raise my kids (no, they can’t do what they want), etc. 

Andrew Micone

There is a common idea that advances in technology will be able to clean up the mess we are making of the planet. The globalist capitalist system is pretexted upon the idea that old money needs to find new opportunities in innovation for growth to continue unabated. But, of course, the resources of the Earth are not infinite, and most ambitious technologies fail to advance up the s-curve. The idea embodied in the motto of the 1933 World’s Fair, “Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms,” should be seen as naïve in the face of today’s complexities. 

Michael Lee

Capitalism is more a part of the problem – the gap between rich and poor, haves and have nots, exploitation of the environment, dehumanization – than it is part of the solution. In other words, it does worse than it does good. The free market is an impersonal force that is driven by greed and leads inexorably to predatory social behavior. Competition must be counterbalanced by cooperation and collaboration. The current world order is breaking down and capitalism as an ideology is powerless to stop this. It has run its course, just as communism ran its course. 

Kent Myers

Climate restoration is needed, and only a portion of the work will be outright profitable.  It would be like trying to make trains, bridges, and airports profitable. They are infrastructure and some measure of public subsidy is necessary. A few clever people get rich rapidly, and we think we have made progress as a result, but we lost the services of nature that were never priced. 

Yul Anderson

There is a great opportunity of renewed hope in humanity, however many of society are still locked out of wealth creation and are still feeling hopeless about escaping their fate. Africa at this juncture has developed with China’s aid as the last natural landscape with the least impact due to climate change, Africa begins to reverse desertification like China, and new civilizations are being discovered. 

Paul Haase

A more liberal way forward regarding markets letting technology evolve freely and opportunistically will leave the question of consciousness to pure profit-making drivers. However, fossil fuels, non or non-sustainable recycling of waste e. g. can deliver profits to individual enterprises for a long time unless countered by ESG-driven financial incentives. Nevertheless, the probability is high as elected governments always pursue reelection after 4-5 years thus often not ready to take risky and non-popular actions. 

 
Scenario 4  Revert to Strong Governance 
Lester Ingber

It’s a bit ironic that the push for distributed systems (e.g., think Bitcoin and Blockchain technologies) is occurring with the rise and increased strength of Autocrats, but here we are!  Again, this is in our DNA. Our grand experiment with Democracy seems destined to Failure. Like many, I wish this were not true, but the Writing is On the Wall.

Clay McDean

For the non-Western world, this scenario is most likely.  One needs to look no further than Russia, China, or even India to see what the future looks like for large segments of humanity.  It may be helpful to conceptualize the foundation needed for strong innovation through the lens of a ‘societal Maslovian hierarchy.’  Maslow isn’t a pyramid — it’s a ladder.  The higher up one is the less stable it becomes and the easier it will be to come crashing down.  To date only Western democracies have gotten to the higher rungs – it remains to be seen if a ‘benevolent dictator’ can reach the upper rungs.  It seems unlikely that these ‘strong governments” will continue to be a drag on any possible global consciousness.  

Art Murray

I gave this scenario the highest probability, based on the premise that a trend in motion tends to stay in motion until it exhausts itself.  And the current global mega-trend, East, and all points West, has been and continues to move toward less freedom and democracy and increased rule by edict by small groups of elites in power. However, the outcome is rated deeply negative, as such approaches might work over the short term, but never over the long term. 

Tom Dickinson

Always a possibility if frustration with government ineptness gets high enough. Jan 6 could be a predictor….and we were born out of revolt and strong governance…look at the first 5 presidents! And FDR in the time of crisis! 

Margherita Abe

Not all autocrats will necessarily rule in a way that promotes solutions that positively affect climate change.  We have an example of one would-be autocrat in former President Trump, whose actions in this arena would almost certainly have a negative effect. Autocrats also tend to be strongly self-serving.  This attitude may not be consistent with implementing decisions that upend the status quo and produce significant societal turmoil to implement. 

Rene Opplinger

The willingness to sacrifice human rights in the COVID crisis and the desire for strong leadership was very high in the major European countries. In addition, the pooling of country debts via the ECB leads to further centralization of power and thus to a strengthening of the EU authorities. Both together lead to an overflowing bureaucracy, which is willing to accept enormous collateral damage to achieve its goals. 

Jacques Malan

I personally hate this idea for the aforementioned reasons. It may be the best possible scenario for the earth and its inhabitants in the short term, but most catastrophic result for freedom and long-term stability. Hopefully, we never get here, but I fear that if you give scenario 1 or even 2 too much rope, it will inevitably end up at this point. If you don’t believe me, read Animal Farm again……   

Andrew Micone

The global trend towards nationalism is a natural reaction to a world in crisis; in the face of uncertainty, people turn to a confident, decisive leader with a commonsense solution. Indeed, a part of human myth and folklore is that in turmoil, a leader will arise to bring people to a promised land. However, as H. L. Mencken noted in 1920, “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem – neat, plausible, and wrong.” Moreover, the sweep of human history from the enlightenment to the age of reason shows autocracies rarely achieve their ends.

Michael Lee

The rise in support for the autocratic style of “strongman” leadership in the West shocked me during the presidency of Donald Trump and during the Brexit process in Britain and its aftermath. The demographic shift towards aging societies in the West seems to be behind this growing support in democracies for more autocratic and less ethical leaders. There’s a cynical nimbyism evident in some older demographic groups.  Even though I hate autocracies, I believe this trend hasn’t peaked yet and that we will see cycles of populism throughout an aging world for the rest of this decade. 

Kent Myers

I didn’t believe this until recently. Fearful people seem to think it works better, but they are just hoping that they are on the side of the winners, when they are just the loyal slaves of the true masters. While the masters have the power, they use it for corruption and still somehow think that, with wealth, they can separate themselves from all the disasters. 

Yul Anderson

If this happens, we will see humanity increase in assassination attempts. This is just horrible. The US was seen heading in this direction under Trump, we don’t want to see it again, even under the Queen. What I hope from all of this is that the increased dominance of corporations in manipulating society results in a better more sustainable world for us all, however, the thievery of places like Russia will remain a threat to humanity.  Corporate societies will emerge, similar to the heydays of IBM, but this time at all levels. What will Corporations offer society other than a cheap happy meal?  Corporations have failed as well as help, but society is realizing it was all for profit.

Wendell Wallach

In the short-run authoritarian governments may be better at responding to emerging challenges than the cacophony of democracy. Strong governance can look attractive to those who hope their beliefs will prevail, but for most societies, it will succumb to internal tensions and even civil war between competing worldviews, and a lack of resilience as complex challenges compound.  Strong governance is unlikely to lead to any form of strong international cooperation.

Paul Haase

There is a temptation by environmentalists to call out the “eco-dictatorship”, however, the foreseen outcome of such a scenario cannot be seen as desirable by a majority of people. As long as key world powers are ruled by democratic decision-making relying on majorities I’m optimistic this scenario will not become very realistic. 

 

Decline to Disaster 
Art Murray

I rate this rather high simply because that has been the ebb and flow of civilizations since Day One. However, the chaos, although widespread, will be localized (the reversion to primitive tribalism) and in which case, there will be pockets of enlightened culture and pockets of sheer barbarism (much like the peace-loving, happy people of Bhutan vs the madness of North Korea that we see today) 

Tom Dickinson

Low probability, but can’t be totally discounted…we are fundamentally driven by instinctual motives of self-preservation and survival… 

Clark Capshaw

I don’t think this is very likely, although the failure of education to teach us to select news and information sources with good judgment plays a big part.  Unless we gain the ability as a society to be better-informed consumers, this is indeed a possibility, though not a probable one. 

Kent Myers

Higher probability than any of the others but not a sure bet. Given time, the world would get through the crisis with civilization damaged but intact.  There is no time. Lately, I’m thinking that the methane that is released when all the seas and tundra melt will overwhelm all the good efforts that have been made. 

Wendell Wallach

A significant increase over what I would have concluded a decade ago. My view is not that of a total collapse, but I do foresee the possibility of intense suffering and governments so caught up in reacting to crises that they lose the ability to proactively shape the future.

Paul Haase

Latest developments in the pandemic, e. g. internationally joined efforts to develop vaccines and restrengthening of international alliances in a common-enemy environment (Ukraine war) show a strong rebound on individual disastrous events. Being optimistic, this leads back to solution-focused balances and lowers the probability of a broad disastrous decline. 

 

Trend Analysis

The 15  “Driving Trends” and 13 “Resolving Trends” below define the force field in which action is interwoven into a Gordian Knot of entangled complexity. This analysis helps identify and gauge the extent of forces working in “optimist” versus “pessimistic” directions. For more, see (Halal and Marien, JFS 2012).

Trends Driving the MegaCrisis

1.    Climate Change Heading to Catastrophe  The 2022 IPPC Report warns “The catastrophic impacts of climate breakdown may soon outpace humanity’s ability to adapt …  It forces a stark reality that the crisis is here and it is all around us.” Forty percent of US counties had wildfires, floods, tornadoes, and other extreme weather in 2021. But greenhouse gases should be reduced by 80% from current levels to avoid severe climate shifts, costing 1-3 % of global GDP. The NY Times asked: “Will humanity continue to edge toward a dangerous precipice or take a crucial step back to avert catastrophe?” The polar ice caps recorded temperatures 50-90 F above normal ranges — unprecedented. With the Ukraine war curbing the flow of Russian fuels, the rising price of oil and gas has made the energy industry the most profitable sector on the SP 500 and thereby discouraging change.

2.    Environmental Degradation Continues  Pollution and plastic waste remain unabated. Large amounts of methane are being released from the thawing tundra. Hotter weather is spreading diseases more easily. A quarter of all animal species face the greatest extinction since the dinosaurs. The mining of tar sands in Canada would release twice the CO2 emitted by oil throughout history. Fracking shale oil is releasing methane and other pollutants. Overuse of antibiotics is creating superbugs that cannot be controlled. Medicines with hormones flowing into sewage will affect the reproduction of mankind in the long run.

3.    Industrialization Driving Multiple Crises The number of people living at industrial age levels will grow from 2-3 billion to almost 10 billion by 2050 or so, increasing all these threats by a factor of 2-3. Raising cattle for meat produces 30-50% of global warming.  The average body mass is 80 kg in the US, 58 in Asia, and 62 globally, and the world may be shifting to the lifestyle of the US. Consumerism seems relentless, and the Third World is doing the same. 

4.   More Lingering Pandemics   The Covid pandemic is the latest of several pandemics that appeared over the past decades, and more are likely to come. The Global Health Security Index recently rated nations at an average of 38.9 points on a scale of 100. They concluded, “every country, including the US, remains dangerously unprepared for future pandemics.”

5.    Little Political Will  There is as yet no global agreement on taxing carbon or other policies that would decrease carbon emissions significantly. The US, with the largest economy in the world, has no serious plan because the nation is in political gridlock. China, India, and the US are planning to build a total of 850 coal-fired plants, adding 5 times as much CO2 as present treaties intend to reduce. A PEW Research Center poll finds that only 17 percent of people in democratic nations are confident in the US as a role model of democracy.

6.    Social Media Spreading Disinformation The post-factual phenomenon is spreading misinformation in the form of political speech. Liberals insist on being woke, politically correct, and defunding the police — while conservatives are convinced of the big lie, anti-vaccination, and climate denial. Statistica reports that 70 percent of Internet users think fake news causes doubt and confusion, with social media the least trusted news source worldwide. And 83 percent believe disinformation negatively affects their country’s politics.  The outpouring of support for Ukraine was largely done through social media, showing that it can a positive force for good.

7.    Inequality Is Severe   The top 10 percent of the US earns three times as much as the bottom 90 percent, and the top 0.1 percent alone earns as much as the entire bottom 90 percent.  This disparity is roughly similar to Russia, where the wealth of a handful of oligarchs is as great as total household assets. American CEOs typically earn roughly 500 times their average worker’s pay. After years of concern over gross inequality, corporate CEOs’ pay rose 18 percent/year to an average of almost $19 million/year, for a total 940-percent increase since 1978, while worker pay was basically unchanged. The wealth of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk is greater than the GDP of 139 countries.

8.    Water Scarcity Could Erupt  Nearly 1 billion people lack clean water and 2.6 billion lack good sanitation. Water tables are falling on all continents, and the World Bank estimates half of the world could face water scarcity due to climate change, population growth, and increasing demand. Water shortages will cause mass migrations, higher food costs, malnutrition, and conflict.

9.   Financial Instability Likely  Sovereign debt often exceeds GDP, and the entire global debt is 2-3 times larger than global GDP. A serious depression, war, or other threats could cause national banks to become insolvent, leading to a collapse of the financial system. Most bankers think it is almost certain at some point. George Soros thinks riots are “inevitable.”

10.   Institutional Failures Unabated The pandemic and other crises highlighted structural failures in business, government, and other institutions. An IBM study of 1500 CEOs noted: “… the world’s leaders think their enterprises are not equipped to cope with complexity.” Nobel economist Joseph Stiglitz wrote,  “The [capitalist] collapse may be to markets what the Berlin Wall was to Communism.”

11.   Cyber-Insecurity Everywhere  Military networks, nuclear facilities, banks, air traffic systems, and electrical grids are under constant attack. The US Naval War College was shut down for 2 weeks. The annual cost is estimated at $1 trillion. The threat is so great that one expert suggested it’s time to install “cyberwar hotlines” – like the special phones the USA and USSR used to avoid nuclear Armageddon.

12.   Autocracy Is Appealing  China, Russia, N. Korea, Hungary, Venezuela, Brazil, and other nations have resorted to dictatorships, and many find it an appealing way to manage crisis and social division. In Great Britain, the portion of people who favor “a strongman ruler who does not bother with elections” doubled from 25 percent a few decades ago to 50 percent. Freedom House notes this is the 15th consecutive year of declining global freedom. The conflict between Western democratic nations and the autocracies of Russia and China is threatening and could erupt into war.

13. Weapons of Mass Destruction Remain   The status quo of Mutually Assured Destruction worked for a few nuclear powers, but it is no longer viable with a dozen or so contending nations now having nuclear weapons, and more are likely, possibly including terrorist groups. The Illicit Trafficking Database recorded 1,784 nuclear trafficking incidents over the past years. Bioweapons are also probable.

14.   Organized Crime Growing Worldwide  The total annual income of organized crime is estimated at $3 trillion, twice the military budgets of the entire world combined. The World Bank also estimates $1 trillion is paid in bribes each year.

15.    Post-Collapse Scenarios Futurists Jim Dator, Dennis Meadows, and others think a global collapse is coming, but a rebound could follow to create a better world. This seems unlikely if the Decline to Disaster scenario were to occur because civilization would no longer exist in major parts of the globe, but it’s plausible under the Muddling Down scenario. 

 
Trends Resolving the MegaCrisis

1.   Alternative Energy Accelerating  Solar and wind power are now less costly than carbon fuels and are the largest source of growth in energy. Alternative energy is growing 30-40%/year, likely to provide 30% of all energy by 2030. The EU, China and other nations expect renewables to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions about 2035-50. This could prove a boon for both developing and developed nations.

2.  Energy Conservation Steadfast  Higher auto fuel economy, regulating coal emissions, and replacing oil with cleaner gas are reducing energy use, costs and CO2.

3.  Technology Revolution Increases Knowledge  Information Technology (IT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and other revolutionary fields offer more powerful communication, amass knowledge, form intelligent systems, and generally improve awareness.  People are now connected by almost 16 B mobile phones, laptops, and PCs, averaging 2 computers per person using the web. Increasing space travel, the Webb telescope, and other breakthroughs are raising awareness.

4.  Forces of Social Change Rising    The rise of women into power, the Millennial generation modeling the first “global citizens,” and other people are introducing fresh perspectives and energy. The Ukrainian war united the world against Putin, war, and autocracy. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is moving to require all corporations to disclose their impact on climate change.

5.   Global Movements Emerging   #MeToo, BLM, gay rights, and other movements are spreading around the world. Almost all nations passed laws requiring a minimum corporate tax of 15% to stop tax evasion. They recently passed a global treaty to improve recycling, clean up plastic waste and reduce plastic use altogether.

6.  Consumer Saturation Possible  Material consumption may reach a saturation point, which would lessen the forces driving crisis. Developing nations are increasing consumption, but trends toward Voluntary Simplicity have been rising in the developed world and could in time lead to more realistic living standards globally. Still, the demand for more consumerism is hard to resist.

7.  Age of Consciousness Is Here  The digital revolution is automating knowledge, driving social evolution beyond the Knowledge Age into an emerging Age of Consciousness. TechCast’s study suggests that 60% of decisions in families, organizations, and governments are based on emotions, values, and beliefs. Henry Kissinger recently noted, “… we are moving into a new period of human consciousness which we don’t yet fully understand.”

8.   Coming Revolution in Thought  All stages of evolution have been powered by revolutions in thought — the Agrarian, Post-Industrial, Industrial, and Digital Revolutions. Just as the Industrial Age was led by the Protestant Ethic,  Consciousness is likely to produce a Mental/Spiritual Revolution to resolve the crisis of global maturity. TechCast estimates a Global Consciousness will emerge among the leading edge in about 2030 +/- 5 years. In fact, the unified world support for Ukraine is a good example of global consciousness.

9. Corporate Social Purpose  The move to “stakeholder capitalism” is transforming business goals to include social interests in addition to profit. CEOs are struggling to reconcile these goals into a common purpose that remains competitive. Corporations are the most powerful institutions in the world, and this form of “democratic enterprise” could set a model of cooperation throughout the global order. An increasing share of companies is ruled keeping in mind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

10.    Hi-Tech Back to the Land Movement   The Internet, distributed renewable energy, and other trends make it possible for people to relocate anywhere. Combined with the gig economy and halophyte plants that can grow in poor soil,  this could ease the gap between rich and poor, avoid pandemics, relieve congestion, and decrease the load on the environment.

11.  Transformative Change The World Economic Forum called for a “global reset” in all spheres of society, and a PEW survey finds that two-thirds of modern nations demand major changes in political, economic, and health care systems. 

12.  Moment of Truth With former President Trump likely to seek reelection,  an escalating climate crisis combined with the results of Trump’s first term is likely to make 2024 a critical turning point. The 2022 elections may also be critical.

13.  Long-Term Evolutionary Trend  Humanity has always struggled through crises that have been surmounted: The Fall of Rome, the Dark Ages, World Wars I and II, the Nuclear Arms Race, etc. 

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René Oppliger, Switzerland

  PROFILE SUMMARY An Attorney-at-law (state and bar examination) with a Master in Business Administration (Rochester (NY)/ Berne). Former CEO of a RegTech company and

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