Out of All the Possible Futures . . .
As crucial elections pass and the world moves more deeply into a narrowing set of futures, a few things become more clear. Almost none of the possible futures which have been predicted by pundits, bureaucrats, visionaries, and speculative writers, are likely to come about. That is because the future cannot be created deliberately in the manner of conventional construction. Instead, the future must be facilitated and channeled by the erection of specific, well-placed constraints, keeping in mind the natural forces underlying the movement of humans through time.
The set of constraints being erected by the great powers as of today, combined with apparently inexorable demographic forces at work across the globe, increase the likelihood of a global dystopia of poverty, low intelligence, and constant, low-level violence.
The world’s urban population is expected to grow by 2.6 billion people between 2011 and 2050, bringing the total number of urbanites to 6.3 billion. This urban expansion will be especially burdensome for developing countries, where 82 percent of the world’s population currently lives...Across the more developed world -- from North America to Europe to Oceania to East Asia -- populations are aging, fertility is falling far below replacement, and these generally more intelligent and accomplished societies of the world are embarking upon a grand experiment of group extinction. These populations which accomplished so much over a fairly short period of time, appear to have chosen to fade away.
Slum populations are expected to grow significantly in the future, and UN HABITAT projects that 6 million more people live in slums every year.
The World Health Organization identifies the rapid increase of urban populations, especially slum populations, as the most important issue affecting health in the 21st century. The agency cites overcrowding, lack of safe water, and improper sanitation systems as the primary factors contributing to poor health among the urban poor. Slums often become breeding grounds for diseases like tuberculosis, dengue, pneumonia, and cholera, and slum dwellers contract water-borne or respiratory illnesses at much higher rates than people in rural areas do.
Cities and their slums will continue to grow as long as rural populations continue to migrate to cities to find economic and other opportunities, such as access to cultural amenities, education, and health care. _Worldwatch_via_GCC
...nearly all of the world's annual demographic growth - close to 95 percent - is occurring in less developed regions. Top seven contributing nations are India, 22 percent; China, 9 percent; Nigeria, 5 percent; Pakistan, 4 percent; Indonesia, 3 percent; Brazil, 2 percent; and Ethiopia, 2 percent
...African birthrates... stand at more than 4 children per woman, with some countries, such as Mali, Niger and Uganda, continuing to have rates above 6 children per woman. Such fertility rates, though expected to decline, translate into rapid population growth for most sub-Saharan African countries for the coming decades. For example, with a current fertility rate of 5.5 children per woman projected to decline to 3.5 children per woman by 2050, Nigeria's population of 162 million more than doubles to 390 million over the next 40 years.
...The consequences of these major demographic changes affect every aspect of human society, including food, natural resources, economic well-being, security, revenue, politics, employment and healthcare. Neither political rhetoric nor wishful thinking can dispel the enormous impacts. _Demographic Trends Shaping the World
Of those who are left after the depopulation of the advanced world -- the primitive tribal societies of Africa and Asia along with the emerging nations -- only China is likely to have the wealth, resources, technological expertise, and infrastructure to persist in creating grand visions of great futures.
And China is virtually certain to split at the seams into competing factions -- some of them based in modern China, others based overseas in Africa, Latin America, and areas that were formerly part of Russia, Oceania, and Europe.
Already we see the beginnings of "the coming anarchy" across the middle east, central Asia, and sub Saharan Africa. The fault lines for civil wars are setting up across a number of countries in Latin America. The forces of secession are erupting from the UK, across Europe, penetrating deeply into the US and Canada, and are likely to grow in intensity as global instability builds. The schisms -- both old and new -- are building, reaching well into the emerging BRICS -- Russia, China, India, Brazil -- and throughout the first and third worlds.
Up until now, the US has been an anchor to which Europe, Oceania, and Latin America could grudgingly hold -- and an oppositional brace against which Russia, China, and their satellites and hangers-on could orient. But it is clear that the US cannot sustain its role as world-policeman, world financial guarantor, world guardian of the trade lanes, world rescuer in times of war and natural disaster, or world anchor.
The US is now undergoing a designed stealthy undertow and dissolution of internal cohesion and external power that is slowly releasing more and more parts of the world to their own fates. A slow destruction which was already occurring through blind corruption and ambition is now taking place by craft and planning. That intentional process of dissolution of cohesiveness and strength can only accelerate with the re-selection of the current US president for yet another 4 year rule.
The moderating powers of Europe, North America, and Oceania on world affairs are dissipating.
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;There is no need for peak oil, climate catastrophe, resource collapse, global overpopulation, and all the other bugaboo tools of leftist scare-mongering -- all of those meant only to facilitate the grab of power and resources, after all.
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. _WB Yeats . . . The Second Coming
Everything needed for a collapse of civilisation after the style of Mao, Pol Pot, or Kim, is contained within the weaknesses of human nature combined with the demographic forces at work around the globe.
Parts of the "civilised world" are likely to cohere and fortify themselves against the coming anarchy. Other parts will ally themselves with the anarchy, in an attempt to bring down the remaining foci of a livable future. Much will depend upon where one happens to be when the camels' backs begin to break.
This is where I am supposed to write: "And then I woke up, and it was all a dream."
But was it really? The shape of the shakeout above is only one out of all the possible futures. Yet the forces of dissolution and anarchy are certainly hard at work. They have always been and always will be as long as humans are what they are. Pax Americana was never meant to last forever, just as Pax Romana and Pax Brittanica could not last.
Those periods of transition can be a bit difficult, and quite unpredictable. You have choices: You can choose to fight a courageous holding action, a la The Tea Party movement and the like. You can take your chances and try to profit from the turbulent volatility in markets around the world. You can sit on your laurels and accept whatever comes. Or you can find a good place to hunker down. If you choose to hunker, be advised that there are no guarantees as to how long you will have to wait for TEOTWAWKI. You may find yourself hunkered for quite some time. ;-)
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.