My Best, Worst and Most Likely Case Predictions for the World in Five Years
In the corporate world prediction of the future is a routine matter at each stage of doing business. This Crystal ball gazing comes naturally at every decision point. The decision maker wants to know the depth of water before entering a pool. The bigger the business, the more risk averse it is. Risk management is the name of the game.
In the current Corona environment the focus of all thinking people is centred on what tomorrow holds for them and the world. The projection of all other hitherto, future critical risk factors like global warming, fuel reserves, pollution, political and economic stability, drug menace, terrorism etc. appear to have suddenly taken a back seat.
I look into my own Crystal ball and try to see, through the hazy mists of time and place, and try to guess what the world will be like in the next five years.
In the best case scenario the beast called Corona would be behind us, totally conquered and destroyed without any possibility of recurrence. The development of a vaccine for prevention and drugs for treatment will enable this. The number of cases will dip dramatically normal life will resume without any fear or risk of Corona within a year. By normal life one is talking about normal life expectancy. By then of course the personal financial resources would have taken a beating for about 50% of the world’s population due to a number of factors like permanent job losses, erosion of savings if any, medical expenses on self and family, ruined health due to permanent damage to life sustaining organs like lungs, heart, brain, kidneys, liver etc. as a consequence of Corona. There will also be a drastic reduction in the earnings of wage earners, liquidation of small businesses due to a huge drop in the demand of dispensable and the so called luxury items. A cautious mind-set will prevail. The present tendency to buy on the back of credit cards will diminish.
However the new scenario will also provide a mountain of opportunities to entrepreneurs to exploit the potential of digital technology and AI to lift the world again to normalcy. As a by-product the new WFH and online teaching and learning skills compulsorily imposed by Corona will substantially reduce travel pollution and increase all round efficiencies. This is the best case scenario.
The worst case scenario is the possibility that a large section of humanity may succumb to Corona or be crippled by it. The stated reasons are:
- Till date the nature of the deadly virus and the way it spreads has not been fully understood despite intense efforts across the globe.
- Every day a new theory is floated to be replaced by another theory.
- The most alarming factor is the recurrence of corona in many countries after a few months.
- There are indications that the level of antibodies tends to go down in a few months.
- Although vaccines are under trial, there is no assurance about the date of their availability or affordability to the billions of humanity. The logistics are also simply mind boggling and the time span uncertain.
- Doctors and their support staff are also dying of corona. If this continues, their strength will be depleted and victims will suffer even more.
- Already the developers are salivating on the huge jackpot to be won. War has already broken out about waiver of patent regime. It is anybody’s guess whether the vast majority of poor people will be able to receive vaccine in the next 5 years.
- Even assuming that everyone will be vaccinated in 3 to 5 years, there is no assurance that its effect, if at all, will last for an entire lifetime or whether there will be need to repeat the exercise again and again. Some vaccines currently under development need a second dose to be injected after an interval of 4 weeks, which will double the effort and the cost of vaccination.
- The side effects of the vaccines is another cause for anxiety. Some adverse effects may be visible only after a gap of time which may be even 5 years or more.
Admittedly the Chinese economy has not suffered as much as other economies. Possibly only the Chinese have some clues to the secrets of Corona. But they have desisted from sharing the information with the rest of the world, in order to gain the first mover’s advantage. Given their huge population, their internal demand is the envy of the whole world and is sufficient to provide the basis for the economy of scale. They are establishing supremacy in defence, manufacturing, technology, AI, logistics and Human Resource ahead of even US in many fields. Their ability to be dominate the entire Asian and European continents is almost certain. At the present moment it does appear that they can successfully survive Corona without much damage, although their exports too will be hit if the world market collapses. But they are actively working to establish master-slave relationships with many countries. This does not auger well for prospective colonial victims. In the worst case scenario the future of all the countries except China looks extremely gloomy.
In the most likely probable scenario, the situation is likely to be in between, but tending more towards the worst case scenario. More sections of the world population will join the struggle for existence. Some kind of recovery may commence but it is unlikely to be dramatic. Contrary to the dream of most optimists the pre-corona times will be a thing of the past. GDP (although it is an over-rated measure of prosperity or happiness) growth of various countries will be limping back to its original level in about 8 to 10 years.
However there will be 1 or 2 ameliorating developments. Most governments will be compelled build better health infrastructure and concentrate on health education. They will be compelled to reign in the rogue drug industry as a top priority.
In many respects Corona has been a great leveller. It has attacked the rich and the poor alike. It is to be hoped that this will teach a lesson to humanity. Will it?
This is my take on this week’s Friday blog post topic suggested by Conrad. The other bloggers who write on the same topic every Friday are Shackman, Conrad, Ramana, Sanjanaah, Gaelikka, Srinivas and Padmini.
Please do go over to their respective blogs to see what they think what the next 5 years will be for the world.