‘The World in 2018’ is a world full of concerns about the future, yet a world that seems to be getting slightly more optimistic about its economic prospects. Ten years after the onset of the financial crisis, there are hopes that the global economy may have turned the corner and could finally be starting to pick up after years of slow growth. Are we seeing light at the end of the tunnel – or rather getting deeper into the fog?
To make sense of ‘The World in 2018’, what we need is maybe not so much to try guessing what might be on our way over the next 12 months than to develop a more acute consciousness and comprehension of the road we are travelling, of where it is leading us, and of where we currently stand on that path. This is certainly not an easy task: volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (‘VUCA’) reign more supreme than ever, and, together with the ever-accelerating pace of global change, they make it increasingly difficult to understand the world’s trajectory and situation. Some key themes of the ‘global conversation’ can however give us a few clues about how these trajectory and situation tend to be perceived at this particular moment in time.
In early 2018, the ‘global conversation’ seems to denote a growing sense of concern about a whole series of ongoing events or developments and about their possible or likely ramifications into the future. These include America’s descent into a spiral of political insanity and retreat from global leadership, the multiple and often widening cracks in European unity, the erosion of the international liberal order and of liberal democracy in many places, as well as the rising or persisting geopolitical tensions in Asia, the Middle East or Eastern Europe.
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