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I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This

I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This

Ideally, I would have written this on May 4th not 14th, but I am going to talk Star Wars.

I was a fan in 1977, kept the flame alive when only battered VHS cassettes of the original trilogy existed, and was delighted to get prequels. Until the opening crawl announced, “The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute.” I recall thinking, “This is my job – boring!” But the prequels were better than the sequels and all the TV shows I don’t watch. Indeed, the prequels’ clunky theme of democracy crumbling into autocracy, dispute over trade routes, then war, seems even more prescient than my 2016 ‘Thin Ice’ report, which underlined how the 21st century could echo the 20th, and our more detailed fragmented ‘World in 2030’ report in 2020.

In just the last week: the IMF warned the world risks splitting into walled-off FX/trade blocs; The Economist stated “The liberal international order is slowly coming apart,” with “a worrying number of triggers that could set off a descent into anarchy”; Germany flagged conscription for all 18-year olds and spending over 3% of GDP on defenceChina introduced military training for all High School students; Biden raised tariffs on Chinese EVs to 102.5%, and Trump said he would make it 200%, with tariffs on used cooking oil likely next; Bloomberg warned “The US, China, Russia are in a spiral towards war”; the manager of the Hong Kong trade office in London was arrested for spying; and, as some underline Russia has shifted to a full war economy that incentivises the martial, my prediction that markets will serve national security going forwards came true in Putin firing his defence minister to appoint an economist to the role instead.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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