Systemic Events

As noted earlier, this chapter's analytic premise is that massive nonlinear events in the global environment will give rise to massive nonlinear societal events. The specific profile of these events will vary, but very high intensity will be the norm.

—We could see class warfare as the wealthiest members of every society pull away from the rest of the population, undermining the morale and viability of democratic governance, worldwide.

—It is possible that global fish stocks will crash. Signs are that this process is already well established and accelerating. Aquaculture will expand dramatically to mitigate fish protein shortages, but the destruction of natural marine food chains will have an incalculable impact on the viability of the oceans themselves.

—Climate change may have serious impacts on disease vectors. Under conditions of extreme climate change the risk of pandemic explosions of disease increase.

—As drinkable water becomes scarcer it will become an increasingly commercialized resource. Governments, lacking the necessary resources, will privatize supply. Experience with privatized water supply in poor societies suggests the likelihood of violent protest and political upheaval.

—Human fertility may collapse in economically advanced regions, as the consequence of increasingly difficult living conditions and of general loss of hope for the longer term.

—Globalization may end and rapid economic decline may begin, owing to the collapse of financial and production systems that depend on integrated worldwide systems.

—Corporations may become increasingly powerful relative to governments as the rich look to private services. This may engender a new form of globalization in which transnational business becomes more powerful than states.

—Alliance systems and multilateral institutions may collapse—among them the UN, as the Security Council fractures beyond compromise or repair.

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