The Accidental Superpower: The Coming Hurdles & Opportunities
The world is changing fast. Demographic shifts are turning everything we know about the global economy on its ear, while shale energy is undoing decades of dependencies. The immutable rules of geography are breaking down our longstanding global free trade system. And it is all happening at the same time. What will this new world look like, exactly? With a mix of analysis and wit, Zeihan maps out the future from any number of viewpoints — government, corporate, financial, domestic and foreign — so audiences can make plans for a now more understandable future.
No Assembly Required: The Future of Global Manufacturing
The world of manufacturing is an endlessly specialized venture, with most manufacturers sourcing components from scores of facilities across a dozen or more countries. But what if the ability to sail components from site to site became compromised? What if capital availability proves insufficient to update industrial bases as technology evolves? What if intermediate and end markets become less desirable – or less accessible? All that and more is about to happen, which signals the end of manufacturing as we know it. The successful manufacturers of the future will be those who can command access to raw materials, capital, labor and markets – all in the same location.
Amber Waves of (American) Grain: The Future of Global Agriculture
Modern agricultural patterns are the result of three largely unrelated factors: low-risk global trade, insatiable Asian demand, and unlimited cheap credit. Within the next five years, all three of these trends will not just evaporate, but invert. When that happens, the only thing that will hurt more than the gradual loss of demand will be the sudden collapse of supply. However, none of this impacts the American producer – it therefore will be the United States that will reap the benefits of its productivity and stability for decades to come.
The Alberta Question
As the global system evolves no country is better positioned than Canada. Very soon Canada’s choices will be about how to take advantage of opportunities, rather than how to avoid complications. But in this very silver lining is a very dark cloud. The same evolutions that will allow Canada unprecedented opportunities for wealth and respect also hold the possibility of damaging the Canadian state. This time the dangers do not originate from the United States, but from within Canada itself. And they could very well prove mortal.
Canada: Opportunities First, then Challenges
There are few countries who have been shaped more deeply by their sense of “place” than the Canadians. For the past two centuries the Canadians have been forced to play the role the Americans have allowed for them, and at the end of an era the Canadians stand with a quiet confidence – having made the very best of a very poor hand. Now a new era is emerging. One in which American power is stronger, but less predictable. Unless, like the Canadians, you happen to understand how the Americans think. Very soon Canada’s choices will be about how to take advantage of opportunities, rather than how to avoid complications. But in this very silver lining is a very dark cloud. The same evolutions that will allow Canada unprecedented opportunities for wealth and respect also hold the possibility of destroying the Canadian state. And this time the dangers do not originate from the United States, but from within Canada itself.