5 geopolitical forces shaping the world for 2040

Photo by Debra Murphy, 2015.

Fast forward 20 years to the year 2040. What will the world look like from a geopolitical perspective?

The U.S. and China will still be locked in a “strategic competition” of some form says Jacob Shapiro, director of analysis for Geopolitical Futures, a Texas-based company that provides analysis on geopolitical trends.

“I don’t see a path for them to get out of it,” he says in the interview below, following his opening keynote at the GrainWorld conference in Saskatoon.

While the U.S. and China will advance down their current path, Shapiro says India, with its massive population, and Turkey, asserting itself among Muslim-majority nations, will likely be major powers as well.

The shift in global influence could coincide with what Shapiro refers to as “America’s Victorian era,” pointing at escalating U.S. debt levels.

“That comparison with the British Empire, where right before Britain was going into World War I, that spike of debt…that’s why it’s disturbing to me from a U.S. perspective. It just seems to be repeating past mistakes,” he says.

Underlying all these trends will be strategic competition for resources, including arable land and clean water — a potential advantage for Canada.  The parts of the world seeing the strongest trends of urbanization, population growth, loss of arable land (desertification), and climate change hurting agriculture, are “all in the same places,” he says.

“It’s all Africa, the Middle East and Asia. You’re going to have a lot more demand and competition,” he says, noting countries like China, Russia, and Turkey are already “thinking of food and water not from a trade or import/export point of view like we are used to doing. They’re increasingly thinking of it as a national security issue.”

Shapiro’s five geopolitical forces shaping the world by 2040:

1.) Strategic competition for resources

2.) China’s maturation

3.) India’s rise

4.) The “Muslim civil war”

5.) America’s “Victorian era”

Listen to Shapiro’s conversation with RealAgriculture’s Jessika Guse below: