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Why Spy Agencies Say the Future Is Bleak

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GSOgymrat:
As part of GenX, I feel like life for younger generations of Americans will continue to be more difficult than what we experienced. There are the problems associated with climate change, an aging population, the rise of China, college expense, plus social media has resulted in constant psychological stress, propaganda, polarization, and an undermining of democracy.

Why Spy Agencies Say the Future Is Bleak

Every four years, at the start of a new administration, American intelligence agencies put out “Global Trends,” a weighty assessment of where the world seems headed over the next two decades. In 2008, for example, the report warned about the potential emergence of a pandemic originating in East Asia and spreading rapidly around the world.

The latest report, Global Trends 2040, released last week by the National Intelligence Council, finds that the pandemic has proved to be “the most significant, singular global disruption since World War II,” with medical, political and security implications that will reverberate for years. That’s not sturm und drang. It’s the prologue to a far darker picture of what lies ahead.

The world envisioned in the 144-page report, ominously subtitled “A More Contested World,” is rent by a changing climate, aging populations, disease, financial crises and technologies that divide more than they unite, all straining societies and generating “shocks that could be catastrophic.” The gap between the challenges and the institutions meant to deal with them continues to grow, so that “politics within states are likely to grow more volatile and contentious, and no region, ideology, or governance system seems immune or to have the answers.” At the international level, it will be a world increasingly “shaped by China’s challenge to the United States and Western-led international system,” with a greater risk of conflict.

Here’s how agencies charged with watching the world see things:

“Large segments of the global population are becoming wary of institutions and governments that they see as unwilling or unable to address their needs. People are gravitating to familiar and like-minded groups for community and security, including ethnic, religious, and cultural identities as well as groupings around interests and causes, such as environmentalism.”

“At the same time that populations are increasingly empowered and demanding more, governments are coming under greater pressure from new challenges and more limited resources. This widening gap portends more political volatility, erosion of democracy, and expanding roles for alternative providers of governance.”

“Accelerating shifts in military power, demographics, economic growth, environmental conditions, and technology, as well as hardening divisions over governance models, are likely to further ratchet up competition between China and a Western coalition led by the United States.”

“At the state level, the relationships between societies and their governments in every region are likely to face persistent strains and tensions because of a growing mismatch between what publics need and expect and what governments can and will deliver.” ...

Gawdzilla Sama:
They'd lose funding if they said everything was going to be peachy.

Hydra009:

--- Quote from: GSOgymrat on April 21, 2021, 04:10:30 PM ---“Accelerating shifts in military power, demographics, economic growth, environmental conditions, and technology, as well as hardening divisions over governance models, are likely to further ratchet up competition between China and a Western coalition led by the United States.”
--- End quote ---
Hmmm... I wonder what that could refer to?

*notes the steady decline of democracy worldwide: an erosion of democratic norms in some countries - in others, the imposition of some brand of authoritarianism*

SGOS:

--- Quote from: Hydra009 on April 21, 2021, 10:42:25 PM ---*notes the steady decline of democracy worldwide: an erosion of democratic norms in some countries - in others, the imposition of some brand of authoritarianism*

--- End quote ---
Most anyone who hasn't been in a coma has noticed this, but it still perplexing.  I can understand it happening in the US.  We've been shifting away from unity and cooperation for 40 years.  Maybe it's been longer, but I started to notice it in the late 70s, I think.  I thought it was just what they call the "swinging of the pendulum," and was not seriously alarmed until about 20 years ago, and then terrified under Trump.  But you don't just blame these things on presidents.  Politicians, as a friend of mine observed, are just assholes waiting for something to happen that they can utilize to further their own needs.  Trump was a symptom, not a cause.

OK, but that only accounts for the US.  Why should it be happening world wide?  Maybe in three other countries here and there.  These things are bound to happen, but worldwide?  Is it because as a world leader, other countries look at the US and say,  "Hey, look what they're doing!  Why don't we act like assholes too?"  Tight resources?  Some countries have got to be winners in that case, all fat an happy.  Or maybe fat people aren't all that happy.

I've thought about this before, and I've yet to make sense out of it.  I read the article.  But I'm not satisfied with my understanding of the societal dynamics.

GSOgymrat:

--- Quote from: SGOS on April 22, 2021, 05:08:07 PM ---I've thought about this before, and I've yet to make sense out of it.  I read the article.  But I'm not satisfied with my understanding of the societal dynamics.

--- End quote ---

I think one factor is some people take democracy for granted. When democracy is all you have ever known, it can be easy to think what is happening over there couldn't happen here.

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