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In twenty or thirty years people will look back and will say that it was so obvious, that all the signs were there, that only blind people could not see them. How could they have missed it? Never mind. Forecasting is always exceedingly difficult, particularly when it is about the future. Your future, our future, everybody’s future and the least we can say is that it is going to be weird. Quirky even.

There are three major forces shaping the world, and they will decide our future. This is no mystery since it has always been like this. The secret is to accurately gauge which one will predominate. That’s the difficult part.

The three strongest forces shaping our future are:

  • The fall and raise of new economic empires
  • The decay and developing of military forces in those empires
  • Globalization

To a degree, the military are dependent upon the first one. It is quite simple, no money, no guns. However, countries can always inflate and surprise us.

In the past the critical element of those three was the first one. Empires were a build-as-you-go task. With their growth in size, their economic power grew and with it, its military power. Trading was important, but the conquest of territories surpassed it. Why bother with trading (i.e. the ancient concept of globalization) if an empire could actually own the foreign lands instead of trading with them?

How about politics? Or people’s will? Or doctrines? Or economic theories? Or rights and wrongs? Or a myriad of other things that seemed to matter in the past? Well, they did not. They only seemed to matter.

However, this time may actually be different. We know that you must have heard this very same prognostication a myriad of times before. You have achieved a healthy state of logical cynicism. Congratulations and welcome to the club! It is a small one indeed!

History has changed. The balance of power between the three driving forces has changed and we believe this force has been unleashed past the point of no return. This will have dramatic consequences for our future. Welcome to the age of globalization!

Up to few decades ago, the mightiest economic (and hence military) power dictated the economic rules in its sphere of influence. Remaining countries and views did not matter. If you were in the West, you were capitalist. If you were in the East, you were communist. If you were anywhere else, you did not matter.

Globalization has changed all this and will continue to change it. Up to a few decades ago, what you produced in your country (assuming you did not live in the USA or USSR) was mostly and afterthought. It really did not have much of an impact at a global scale. You only mattered if you were “friends” with the superpowers and too-big-to-fall. Then you would matter, but there weren’t that many people that actually mattered.

Take a look at what is happening today. People have begun to detach themselves from countries and ideologies, geographic boundaries and political concepts, polarized points of view and dictated precepts. People have begun to embrace agnosticism in everything but business. They are starting to go massively into business for themselves and by themselves. In a sense, this is business of the people, by the people and for the people so to speak. They have found a new business religion and it is called me first. They have come to realize that governments and other processes set up “for their own good” only get in the way and interfere with their prosperity. Slowly but surely all the dusty layers of political precepts, religious, ethical and moral concepts and social peer pressure are peeling off. Underneath, greed reigns supreme and this is good.

Greed is the one thing that unites us all. Greed is the one think that we all understand. People can deny greed as much as they want, but reality remains: greed is hard-coded in our DNA and this is a good thing because it is the one thing we all have in common.

On the surface it would seem that old empires are dying (USA, EU) and new ones are born (China, India). It would seem that the future world will be multipolar. It only seems.

The future world will be much more homogeneous than what you can possibly imagine and greed will make it all possible.

In the past, the raise of empires gave birth to new ideologies and rules because these empires imposed themselves by force; militarily in many instances. But take a look at current would-be empires:

China. This country just became an economic power quite recently and only when they let out of the communist dungeons the contents of the capitalist Pandora’s box: greed. But what kind of greed? The kind that needs to export to survive. Their internal market is simply not large enough. This pressure is pushing their frontiers wide open. This will only accelerate. Eventually, greed will destroy the last vestige of communist theory and control.

Poland. It is another example of regression to capitalism.

Turkey. The perennial bureaucratic nightmare with gigantic industrial potentials that has started to grow.

EU. Germany and to a lesser degree France continue to be the classic EU engines of wealth.

Brazil. The new economic kid on the block with a new business attitude.

India. The perennial giant that can never wake up completely but that it is now beginning to stretch.

Russia.The giant land of mafia bosses turned businessman, with their Czar and their dictatorial culture. All engaged in business now.

We could go on looking at every country on earth and we would find the same awakening in almost all of them. Greed is good. Greed purifies. Let’s do business will be the motto of the 20’s (the 2020’s that is, and probably of the 30’s too).

The world is waking up and realizing that everybody must go into business by themselves and this means trading. Trading with whom? Everybody and anybody. There are no more ideological, moral, ethical or religious boundaries. This is the first time in the history of the world that its people are united under the same banner, and the banner reads: Let’s Do Business.

People in the world are starting to realize, massively, that they depend from each other to do business. We are each other’s customers. This instantaneously nullifies any other consideration, including political, moral, ethical and religious.

But the remaining question is this: will this awakening be enough? Wouldn’t old control forces (i.e. governments and power elites) reassert their brute force power and bring us back from the future and into a dim past? In a word: NO.

This is no longer possible. This is so for two reasons:

  1. They need the business. Some countries need them because they are bankrupt and other need them to stay in power. They need business far more than business need them. As a matter of fact, business has begun to realize that they don’t need them at all!
  1. Countries have begun the long process towards dissolution. Look around. There are no more “strong” countries. There are no more countries where people is truly united under the same nationalistic flag. Most countries around the world are now more formal than anything else. Of course, they still yield formidable power over their own citizens, but this power is weaning. We are being freed one business at the time.

And so we come full circle. Of the three historical forces that used do shape the future, the first two: economic empires and military strength are slowly being overrun by the third one: business.

Governments (all of them) are either decaying or getting neck-deep into inflationary games. This will initially bode badly for people until such people learn through pain that prosperity, the real one, cannot be inflated and can only be built. Then, the mental chains will begin to break down!

It is a very long journey, but it has begun. There is no way out of our future and it is a weird one. We will become increasingly more united and homogeneous, but not united in our beliefs, united in what we are: greedy.

Greed will topple all the barriers that small elite groups have been raising since the first time a leader was followed. Greed will achieve what philosophers and military people have attempted to achieve (and failed) for centuries: to unite the world. There is no way back.

The future looks increasingly messy, complicated, non-linear and full of small surprises and variations; truly the stuff that life is made of, in a word, delicious. We are going to enjoy it and you should too.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

 

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