A bold and vital
vision of our planet, The World in 2050 is an essential guide for anyone
worried about what the future holds. For if we understand how our world is
changing, we will be in a better position to secure our future in the decades
the author of this book, has built and maintained an estimably high reputation
n as an economic and financial commentator over an impressively lengthy period
of time. His regular journalism is unfailingly insightful and, therefore,
always well worth reading. McRae does, moreover, have past form as a purveyor
of longer-term “futurological” thinking insofar as almost thirty years ago he
published the ground-breaking “The World in 2020”. This I recall as proving
enormously useful in enhancing my thinking about how the global economy and
financial system might evolve over the turn of the century and beyond.
Importantly, I feel exactly the same way about McRae’s new magnum opus.
this is a book which – like its predecessor – is wholly global in its scope.
Far from being focused exclusively upon the outlook for the US or Europe, for
instance, it covers each and every region that comprises the jigsaw which
collectively comprises the global economy.
McRae’s discussion of these
multiple “forces for change” is wide-ranging and fascinating. He then moves on
to a wide-ranging deliberation about “how the world will look in 2050”.
Throughout, however, he emphasises the critical role of choice. Everything
could go well, thereby vindicating faith in sustained human progress.
Conversely, much could go wrong, with the world failing to fulfil its potential
and dashing the future prospects of so many of the world’s expanding population
(the United Nations’ World Population Prospects, which McRae employs, envisages
our total population rising from just over 8 billion at present to 10 billion
in thirty years’ time). McRae’s concluding chapter – The Big Themes That Will
Shape the World Ahead” – focuses constructively upon what might go wrong (ten
key issues) and, subsequently, what is likely to go right.