More babies were born to Christian mothers than to members of any other religion in recent years, reflecting Christianity’s continued status as the world’s largest religious group. But this is unlikely to be the case for much longer: Less than 20 years from now, the number of babies born to Muslims is expected to modestly exceed births to Christians, according to new Pew Research Center demographic estimates. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The Global Risks Report 2017 features perspectives from nearly 750 experts on the perceived impact and likelihood of 30 prevalent global risks as well as 13 underlying trends that could amplify them or alter the interconnections between them over a 10-year timeframe.
2016 saw a crystallization of political risks that have led to the election of populist leaders, a loss of faith in institutions and increased strain on international cooperation. We should not be surprised by this: for the past decade, the Global Risks Report has been drawing attention to persistent economic, social and political factors that have been shaping our risks landscape.
This year’s report will examine the five greatest priorities facing the world in 2017, their interconnections and the actions necessary to avoid their harshest fall-out. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
The “no vote” victory rejecting Italy’s constitutional referendum is widely interpreted as a clear win for anti-globalization populist forces in Europe. Even the defeat of Austria’s anti-immigrant populist Norbert Hofer last Sunday in the presidential elections, with just a 53-47 percentage, is seen in the same vein, as the extreme-right candidate’s loss was slim. Forces from the political edges are gaining ground in the post-truth era and many pundits think the path of global integration has stalled. The author sees it differently. The schism of societies currently underway, even in the prosperous western democracies, is more of a globalization victory than a defeat. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Since 1945, the United States has pursued its global interests by building and maintaining various alliances, economic institutions, security organizations, political and liberal norms, and other tools — often collectively referred to as the international order. In this first report of a series on the emerging international order, RAND researchers offer several lenses to understand the character of the existing post–World War II liberal order. In addition to outlining the broad scope of the issue and the tools through which the order affects state behavior, the report categorizes and outlines the causal mechanisms that lead states to strengthen and work within the order. The report then reviews how U.S. policymakers have consistently viewed the international order as a key means of achieving U.S. interests in the world. Finally, the report concludes with potential questions for a research agenda that explores what type of international order — and, thus, what type of world — the United States should seek over the coming decade. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Regional institutions and initiatives have proliferated in the twenty-first century. This latest wave of regional innovation raises, in new guise, a long-standing conundrum for global order and U.S. foreign policy: When is regional organization a useful, even essential, complement to the ends of global governance—financial stability, an open trading system, sustainable development, robust protection of human rights, or the end of civil wars—and when does it threaten or undermine the achievement of those goals? The new regionalism presents the prospect for new benefits for global order as well as new risks. How those challenges and risks are addressed, by the United States and by other member states, will determine whether a fragmented global order or more effective global and regional governance emerge over the next decade.
Five authors examine these dilemmas across five issue areas: finance, trade, development lending, human rights, and peace operations. In each issue area, regional actors and institutions have emerged that reopen and recast earlier debates about regionalism and its effects on global order. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
What will the world be like in 2035? According to the report, the forecast seems dire. In the four years since Global Trends 2030 was published, the biggest change in the world is the increased risk of major conflict. In 2012, a large-scale US/NATO conflict with Russia or China was close to unthinkable. Now, the post-Cold War security order has broken down, and the consequences are immense, potentially threatening globalization.The report projects that, given the broader geopolitical and technological trends, in the best case, the world is looking at multipolarity with limited multilateralism. [Note: contains copyrighted material].
Economists expect the world economy to be more resilient than any of its parts, with recessions typically affecting only a few of the 200 economies at a time. Yet the world is gradually following the pattern of Japan, the world’s third largest economy, in struggling with persistent stagnation, explains Stephen Roach. For economists, the term “secular” describes long-running trends that are difficult to shake. With ongoing shocks, he warns, the probability of a relapse into recession runs high. “There is no quick fix for the globalization of secular stagnation,” Roach writes, pointing to failure to embrace well-known and needed reforms. “Only nations that face up to the heavy lifting of rebalancing and structural change will come out in better shape, with the wherewithal and resilience to withstand the inevitable pressures of the next crisis.” [Note: contains copyrighted material].