We’re just days away from a compilation of “what happened in 2012” and “what’s going to happen in 2013” type stories. Admittedly, I enjoy them as much as you do and have written a few in my day. But let’s take a little bit of a longer view and see what a new report has in store for the world in 2030. This is from a once-every-four-years report about created by the intelligence community of the US for the incoming politicians setting the stage for the next four years. Do they read it? I’d like to hope they did. Our politics don’t seem to indicate that though. Here’s just a few highlights:

China >= US: China’s economy is well on their way to being larger than the US. But the US can maintain their presence as a global power through leadership and influence. China is not really interested in being a superpower, they just want to be China. The US has a lot of ego though. Their ability to influence other countries and team up with trade partners could bolster their standing in the world. Overall, relations between China and the US will continue to be the most important around the world.

Middle Class: The developed world welcomes the developing to the middle class. As the population surges past 8 billion people, more and more join the middle class. This means our consumption of food, water, energy, and all kinds of resources is going up. Countries with some level of self sufficiency will likely do well.

US Health: While the US may not be as bright a star as they once were, their position in the world could be further threatened. The US is going through some fiscal challenges that go further beyond the cliff. Likewise we still have an unhealthy addiction to oil. The rise of natural gas at this point seems to be a given. That will help with energy independence. Between now and 2030 we’ll probably see more use of green energy sources, but not as much as people would probably like. What will really help are methods to reduce our gross consumption of energy.

*Bonus Prediction: I don’t know whether it’s included in their report or not, but I’ve got a prediction of my own. By 2030 stock markets in the US will provide much lower returns than they do today. But American investors will have access to markets in China and Africa, where growth is still regular. Accounting and regulatory standards will be make it safer for traditional investors to put their money overseas. Financial advisors will recommend asset mixes that today would make the average boomer’s head spin.

And for fun, just check out a few different headlines all talking about the same report:

Actual report: Global Trends

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categories: economics, government, investing, links