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The world is a dynamo. Approximately 7.6 billion people (nobody knows the exact number). Different religions, nationalities, beliefs and agendas. 20th century was a tumultuous one. But two main events eclipsed all the others: 1. The rise and fall of Communism and 2. The formation of the European Union. Similarly, the 21st century will be defined by the three trends.

Every four years, at the start of a new administration, the American intelligence agencies (16 in all) put out the ‘Global Trends’, which covers 20 years. The latest report, Global Trends 2040, presents a very disturbing picture. I have not had access to the report, only a summary. It talks about “competitive coexistence”, “separate silos”, “tragedy and mobilization”, etc. This is INTEL jargon. In common English it means the world will be a dangerous place – and worse, nobody knows where the danger is coming from.

  1. The West vs. the Rest. After 400 years the Christian White races are being challenged. There is a tectonic power shift underway. A rising China, Latin America, Pacific Rim countries. The Euro-centric races were wise. They colonized almost the whole world and plundered and extracted the resources to develop their own societies and economies. The white Christian countries had a 400-year-old stranglehold on geo-politics, natural resources, technology, military & armaments, trade, logistics, medicine etc. now a power shift is underway. White Christian hegemony is under challenge. Russia has been largely repaired by Vladimir Putin from the near-death experience under Boris Yeltsin. China continues to ascend. Currently, the biggest economies are (by (Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) $ trillion): China 23,190, the USA 19,485, India 9,597, Japan 5,422, Germany 4,199, Russia 4,027. As of February 2020, the world GDP ($ trillion) was 84,740. Advanced economies’ 51,070, G7 39,000. The White Christian World (WCW) will not surrender power. They will band together, form alliances, go to war, bribe, coalesce to dominate. Russia is the wild card. The unwritten agreement reached by the big three (Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill) after the WWII (in Potsdam, Yalta and Tehran) agreed that white races shall not fight against each other. If the West can persuade Russia to side with them, or at least remain neutral, the West’s supremacy is assured for the 21st century. NATO has made a few mistakes to rile Russia. Despite this, Putin has made a recent announcement that sends an important message to the strategists. Putin started “Russia is a European and Christian country all the way to Vladivostok”. Ominous words. The Vatican is solidly behind this project. In fact, the WCW domination of the last 400 years was inspired and partly created by the Vatican. Britain has the previous experience of destroying two superpowers of its time: India and China. The WCW has taken Israel on board as a proxy. The Judean-Christian ties run deep. The great game of the 21st century is underway.

  2. Ascendancy of Tech. Technology has invaded all aspects of our lives – daily living, agriculture and food, health and medicine, transportation, education, entertainment, leisure, sports etc. As technology mushrooms, there will be winners and losers. The 21st century will see the growth of diverse technologies, but essentially the focus will be on Artificial Intelligence, Info tech and Biotech. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the world who the powerhouses are. Russia dominated the nuclear arms race, Israel is in the forefront of spyware, Taiwan in semiconductors. Currently, 20% of the corporate decisions are made by machines. By 2050, AI decision-making will rise to 50%. In the advanced economies people will be made redundant at an alarming pace, as machines replace them. Tellers have already become extinct. Next, taxi drivers. Next, janitors. Next, pilots. Soon 30% of the working class will become ‘useless’. Every 2 to 3 years, they will have to re-educate, re-tool, re-train. The only entity that will have a secure job is a beautiful woman. I have never seen a beautiful woman being fired. She may be reassigned or retrained or promoted. But never sacked. Here is an example of nature beating technology. The countries that are technological powerhouses are self-evident. In the 10th century to more than first half of 13th century, Baghdad was the technological powerhouse of the world. Scientific innovation and inventions were a routine – from armaments to gas lighting to music. It was the envy of the world. Then the Mongol forces and allied troops destroyed Baghdad. People were slaughtered. The knowledge base of Baghdad was destroyed. All books, research papers, manuscripts were torn and thrown into the Tigris river. Because of the delible ink, the waters of the Tigris ran black for weeks. The Mongols were not promoting any religion, cause, belief or even loyalty. It was conquest for the sake of conquest. Everything in his path was destroyed or swept into oblivion. Yet no higher cause.

  3. The dangers of inequality. The Covid-19 has laid bare the stark reality of inequality. The rich countries (G-20) were equally hard-hit by the pandemic. Now they are fighting back. They have the resources – scientific and economic, to do so. India is the current poster child of deprivation. Eventually, the rich countries will beat the pandemic – as they did the AIDS pandemic in the early 1980s. Countries, societies and social groups are divided between the haves and have nots. The haves (known as Plutocrats) are the 1% who control more than 40% of the world’s assets. A further 0.1% of the Plutocrats are even more dominant. It is this group that actually controls the world – from the advent of History. There are no secret societies or Cabal that control the world – Freemasons, Illuminati, Skull & Bones, The Bilderbergers etc. It is the Plutocrats. Always. The pandemic has further exposed these realities. The conventional media is under control of the Plutocrats. The Social Media occasionally tries to make an ‘expose’. Wall Street vs Main Street conflict has spread across the world – from Anchorage to Adelaide, from Rio to Roma. In this century we will see occasional uprisings by the Proletariat to dislodge the 1%. These uprisings will be cynically tolerated. Various stratagems will be deployed – fear, disinformation, patriotism, nationalism, bribery, material comforts. But when the red lines are crossed, the armored corps will be rolled out. The Plutocrats believe that killing one billion people, to perpetuate their hold on power, is no big thing. In the 21st century, we will see regular squabbles by the Proletariat. But the Plutocrats will dominate. Remember the Arab Spring.

(The writer is a former Executive Director of the Management Association of Pakistan)

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

Farooq Hassan

The writer is a former Executive Director of the Management Association of Pakistan

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