‘Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land …” – Michael Nesmith
I have decided that there is a needed addition to the growing list of things one should never say: Specifically, “what’s next?” Because verily, ye shall be enlightened.
Like most folks in this modern day unprecedented shelter-in-place national lifestyle of hours made necessary by the exponential spread of virus that sounds like it should have been the title of a 1950s sci-fi film (“It Came from Planet COVID-19”), I am sick of being cooped up and I have spent a lot of time cleaning out stuff– filing cabinets, desk drawers, you name it.
And while most of what I had cleverly sought to save, lo, these many years, was suitable only to hastening the landfill’s reaching its capacity, there were a few gems rediscovered.
And one of those was a neat little ditty, a 2012-vintage look ahead by a government intelligence agency, remarkably appropriately titled, “Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds.” And folks, I am here to tell you that while it has been my experience that a great many government reports are best suited for the same fate as the content of my cabinets and drawers, there was at least one group of folks on the public payroll back eight years ago that was not populated by dummies.
If you remember, the closing months of 2012 saw all of the country’s conspiracy theory community consumed with one about some old dead Mayan “prophecy” calling for the world to end on Dec. 21 on that year. As I recall, that one inspired a column in which I rhetorically asked all those folks if the Mayans were so great at making predictions, how come they didn’t see their entire race dying out one fine day?
But back to better prognosticating, the report made public by the National Intelligence Council was intended to provide policymakers with a statistically probable framework for what is now but a few years in the future, ostensibly to guide decision-making.
That report envisioned four “megatrends” that would shape mankind’s future: growing individual empowerment, diffusion of power, major shifts in demographics and rising demands for food, water and energy.
And as for the United States?
The report predicted that the U.S. will “most likely remain the first among equals among the other great powers,” but that Asia will have surpassed North America and Europe combined in terms of global power with higher Gross Domestic Product, population, military spending and technological investment. And while all of that has not quite materialized yet, I would point out that it is not quite yet 2030, either.
While the intelligence types tended to believe that by then Islamic extremism will have waned somewhat, but they warned that other groups, foreign and domestic, might well emerge to cause heaps of trouble, particularly in the areas of cyber-terrorism, resulting in all manner of economic, financial and political disruption.
The report also predicts, with a higher than usual in such things level of confidence, that by 2030 food and water may be running short in any number of spots around the globe, most notably in areas of Africa and the Middle East. Citing the published works of a “Who’s Who” of the world’s climatologists, it also predicts “the severity of existing weather patterns will intensify, with wet areas getting wetter, and dry and arid areas becoming more so.”
Anybody in the South Delta want to argue about the “getting wetter” part of that?
And, just to make folks sleep better at night, the intelligence types, the goofy Mayan businesses notwithstanding, provided plenty of fodder for other conspiracy theory nightmares, noting the increased likelihoods of, among other things:
Severe, worldwide pandemics and new flu-like strains. (I’m thinking that one looks pretty solid.)
Collapse of the European Union. (Brexit, anyone?)
Faster than forecast climate change.
A large-scale cyber attack.
Geomagnetic storms that have the potential to knock out U.S. satellites and the electric grid.
In other words, anybody around a decade hence might look back on the current troubled times and think of them as the good ole days.
And isn’t that just simply special?
“In the year 2525, if man is still alive, if woman can survive, they may find …” – Zager and Evans
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.