Forecasting is always a dangerous business. But in a world characterized by shifting power struggles, technological change, and rising temperatures, no one can claim that the future is entirely impenetrable.
Project union commentators again offered their suggestions for the most important political, economic and political developments to watch over the next 12 months. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its third year, the drastically different ‘new normal’ from last year is no longer so new. The coronavirus continues to acquire mutations and threatens economic and social stability in the world. Global temperatures – both literal and political – continue to rise. And while a deep sense of uncertainty persists, some results are as imminent as the trends behind them are undeniable.
It’s hard to be optimistic about 2022. Despite all the corporate commitments and media attention focused on climate change, the COP26 conference was a failure. In 2022, we will continue to realize that greenhouse gas emissions are not decreasing and that more radical responses are needed. I am concerned that climate policy will significantly worsen the relationship between the United States and China, which is already at a breaking point. Add the intensifying repression in China and the tensions over Taiwan and you have the makings of a prolonged bout of instability.
I am also concerned about the polarization in America. US President Joe Biden’s $ 1 trillion infrastructure plan and the “Build Back Better” bill are the country’s best hopes of moving on a path of more inclusive economic growth. In general, such bold tax policies could unite the country and demonstrate that democratic politics always works for the people; yet, in today’s environment, spending plans have become another partisan football. The next year will show whether American politics can become less dysfunctional. Much will depend on how many Republicans have the courage to break with former President Donald Trump. Unfortunately, given Trump’s consolidation of control over their party, that seems unlikely.
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