The Next 100 Years

the next 100 yearsIn 2009 George Friedman, Stratfor?s Founder and Chief Intelligence Officer, published a fascinating book entitled ?The Next 100 Years? in which he attempted to lay down his forecasts regarding the world affairs. He presented quite controversial views regarding the twenty first century global and regional superpowers, with the USA, Japan, Turkey and Poland constituting the world?s most powerful political giants. Surprisingly, at least to some observers, his predictions concerning Russia are playing out in front of our eyes. Here is, however, what Friedman had to say about China:


?China, then, has three possible future paths. In the first, it continues to grow

at astronomical rates indefinitely. No country has ever done that, and China

is not likely to be an exception. The extraordinary growth of the past thirty

years has created huge imbalances and inefficiencies in China?s economy

that will have to be corrected. At some point China will have to go through

the kind of wrenching readjustment that the rest of Asia already has undergone.


A second possible path is the recentralization of China, where the conflicting

interests that will emerge and compete following an economic slowdown

are controlled by a strong central government that imposes order and

restricts the regions? room to maneuver. That scenario is more probable than

the first, but the fact that the apparatus of the central government is filled

with people whose own interests oppose centralization would make this difficult

to pull off. The government can?t necessarily rely on its own people to

enforce the rules. Nationalism is the only tool they have to hold things


A third possibility is that under the stress of an economic downturn,

China fragments along traditional regional lines, while the central government

weakens and becomes less powerful. Traditionally, this is a more plausible

scenario in China?and one that will benefit the wealthier classes as

well as foreign investors. It will leave China in the position it was in prior to

Mao, with regional competition and perhaps even conflict and a central government

struggling to maintain control. If we accept the fact that China?s

economy will have to undergo a readjustment at some point, and that this

will generate serious tension, as it would in any country, then this third outcome

fits most closely with reality and with Chinese history.?


It would be interesting to know what you think about the three scenarios outlined above. You are welcome to enter your opinions here or send your comment to We would gladly get back to you.



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