The Future of the World
The NY Times has a great essay entitled "Waving Goodbye to Hegemony" discussing the future of the world written by Parag Khanna. Khanna argues that there will be three superpowers (U.S., E.U. and China) in the near future who will dominate the economics of the world. He also says that second-wold countries like Russia, Argentina and Iran will be the so-called swing states. They will determine who wins economically and will be doing deals behind the backs of the Big 3.
I definitely agree that Europe will consolidate into one power. The region already relies on one currency, except for England, and it seems like every day there is news of barriers falling between the countries of the E.U. The U.S. will maintain economic control of North America.
However, in Asia, while China is clearly the largest power in terms of population, geographic area, and economics, it is my opinion that they are lacking behind the rest of the region in terms of technology and innovation. The essay also ignores the problem the much of the growth occurring in China will catch up with the country. It is not possible for the country to sustain the growth it is presently undergoing forever. The country still faces numerous ethical and legal challenges in becoming a world leader. For years China has escaped from scrutiny in software piracy, human rights and environmental issues because the country remained a closed state of lesser impact. The current growth is and will continue to bring these issues into the global spotlight.
The essay also makes one huge, although unavoidable, mistake. All the predictions of future growth are presented from current information. Just like it's impossible to predict the future of stock markets, it is impossible to precisely predict the future of countries. Numerous events including natural disasters, wars, and other unforeseen events could drastically change the track the world is on. However, given all present information Khanna paints a incredibly probable future.