Nuclear war, the end of oil and other scenarios of the death of the modern world

Bloomberg agency published a "pessimist guide" for 2018, presenting eight bleak options for the future for both the US and the world. The authors warn: these are not forecasts, but provocative ideas, designed to show that our world is changing very quickly. "" understood how the world, which we know, can already next year to take the path of self-destruction.

Scenario 1: Trump becomes president a second time

In 2018, Donald Trump is holding back his pre-election promise: taxes are lowered, trillions of dollars are allocated to the infrastructure and the army. The US economy shows an enviable growth rate, and the investigation of the special prosecutor Robert Mueller does not find any connection between the head of state and Russia.

Two years later, he still seeks re-elections, because the electorate of the Democrats is blurring between Democrat Kamala Harris and independent politician Bernie Sanders. In 2021, Trump cancels Obama's health care law, but does not offer it a substitute. The stock bubble bursts, the US falls into a deep recession. The S&P index falls from 2,660 points to 1,400.

In 2024, TV presenter-democrat Jimmy Kimmel proposes to introduce universal medical insurance in the country and wins the presidential election. The country is split: Virginia is choosing a white nationalist and Trump's chief associate Stephen Bannon as a senator. In large cities, because of the unsettled issue with insurance, commotion begins.

In 2028, the country is waiting for new elections, but the electorate is disappointed with the traditional opposition of Republicans and Democrats, and gives their votes to alternative candidates. No one collects 270 votes of electors, there is no presidential power in the country, long litigation is pending.

"" comment: one of Trump's election promises is to "cancel and replace" Obama's insurance law. "Cancel and replace" - the wording is just this, at once from two words. Attempts by Republicans to repeal this legal act failed more than 70 times even when the majority of both chambers of Congress were in their hands, so it is doubtful that lawmakers allowed to do so without a law to replace it.

The recent elections in Alabama showed that non-systemic and systemic candidates are quite capable of competing in the usual political field, and it is hardly to be expected that the hopes for mainstream politicians will collapse, rather non-systemic candidates will be built into the usual system. And the democrats, having allowed a split in 2015, will do their best to make a single candidate run for them in the elections-2020. Therefore, this scenario is rather unrealistic.

Scenario 2: Fake News Crashes Facebook

In 2018 there are elections to the Congress in the United States: it becomes clear that Facebook can not stop the flow of fake news. 30 percent of voters believe that Hillary Clinton is going to the polls, although this is not true.

A year later, Facebook hires thousands of contractors to deal with suspicious content, but they do not succeed. States around the world "follow the Russian example", creating farm bots to fight other farms of bots. Almost half of the traffic in Twitter is now accounted for by bots.

In 2020, the leaders of the largest Silicon Valley companies report: an artificial intelligence has been developed to combat misinformation. But the unexpected happens: before the presidential elections, someone is carrying out a large-scale hacking of systems of home voice assistants, and they begin to answer the owners' questions about economics and politics in a profitable for Trump way.

Five years later, no one knows where the truth is and where lies on the Internet. The administration of the president-comedian Kimmel decides to put an end to Facebook, Google and Twitter and launches a large-scale campaign against them in the courts. IT giants cease to exist.

Three years later, the results of Kimmel's policy are visible: instead of giants, small companies and social networks are formed, rigidly separated along ideological lines: there is no place for discussion and an alternative point of view. Disinformation captures the world: according to polls, 55 percent of Russians believe that Trump has become a lifelong president. To this they were pushed by a fake video of his coronation and coronation speech, dedicated to Russian nationalism.

"" comment: The first part of the script is quite realistic in our time: Facebook, like other social networks, more likely mimics the fight against fake news: only sources in English are checked (there are simply no other countries for Facebook), and they can get into the moderation after a couple of days, when users will all be allowed, they will believe and pass the fake to their friends.

The traffic generated by the bots officially swallowed up more than half of the Internet last year, and the US and China remain breeding grounds for bots. The scenario for the nomination of the comedian Kimmel is an amusing detail, with which the Bloomberg experts probably attempted to present another television victory over the Internet. They can be understood: a few years ago, a progressive part of humanity buried TV, and now the most popular videos on YouTube are fragments of TV programs. Creating a fake video from scratch is also a gloomy present rather than a distant future: there are already tools for making porn with celebrity faces. But after all, nothing prevents using the same tools for the video with Trump, saying anything and with anyone.

Scenario 3: Bitcoin replaces the banking system

In 2018, one of the regional credit institutions of the United States declares: all systems were subjected to a cyber attack, accounts were devastated. Financial regulators around the world assure customers that their money is safe. Against the background of all this, the cost of bitcoin soars to 40 thousand dollars. Gold is also becoming more expensive, but not so much.

In 2021, the largest Chinese network of online stores Alibaba produces its own crypto currency for use within the system: crypto-currencies first enter the mass market. In Greece, Venezuela and several African countries, bitcoin is accepted as a national currency.

Two years later, programmers of one of the companies developing important infrastructure products are introducing the Worm Hole Trojan into banks around the world. A malicious program stealthily steals personal data and money.

In 2026, a 10-year-old schoolgirl from Pittsburgh discovers Worm Hole and talks about it in social networks. The banking system is collapsing around the world: the Central Bank is accepting blockchain-technology, and they are issuing money immediately to the hands of the population, bypassing intermediary banks.

Two years later, many commercial banks are closing, the global financial system is collapsing, followed by a patchwork of crypto-currencies and payment systems, led by companies like Amazon and Alipay. Bitcoin rises to 1 million dollars.

"" comment: Cyber attacks on financial institutions occur monthly, but none of them has yet led to large-scale withdrawal of investors from classical assets into crypto assets. Sudden leadership in the crypto-finance of countries such as Venezuela, Greece and a number of African countries looks not very realistic - these countries have no special prospects to jump 100 years ahead and take the leading position in the world.

The development of its own crypto-currencies within the systems of transnational companies (Alibaba, Amazon and others) is quite realistic, but the companies will face confrontation of state regulators around the world, and the economic effect of launching corporate currencies is not obvious. Rise in cost of bitcoins to a million dollars can not be analytically predicted, at the current moment the price of bitcoin is determined solely by supply and demand, the sharp rise in value is most logically explained by the rush demand and the desire of investors to earn.

Scenario 4: North Korea threatens with nuclear war

In 2018, the world is on the brink of nuclear war: a North Korean missile lands 20 miles from the West Coast of the United States. President Donald Trump does not respond to the attack. He flies to the summit in Honolulu, where he meets with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. The next day, China closes the border with the North Corea.

In 2019, Pyongyang is mourning. The hosts of the North Korean state television report the sad news: the leader of the North Corea Kim Jong Un suddenly died of a heart attack. The new puppet regime agrees to liquidate the stockpiles of nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, in the US, Trump's ratings are reaching new records. The relationship between Comrade Xi and President Trump is warmer than ever. Many talk about the golden age of China-US relations.

In 2020, Trump's first term in office ends. He is trying to gain as many foreign policy victories as possible. So, the owner of the White House announces the sale of military equipment to China. Trump warns Japan and South Korea that he will withdraw American troops from their territory if they do not support his decision. Fearing losing an influential defender, Japan is increasing defense spending.

Five years later, Comrade Xi announced plans to seize Taiwan. Trump, who is in the White House last day, supports the ally's intention, noting that "it will only be better for the people of Taiwan". Japan is starting to develop nuclear weapons. South Korea enters into a defensive alliance with China.

2028 year. 82-year-old Trump arrives in Taipei for a celebration in honor of the unification of the island with the mainland. Accepts an expensive guest a close friend of the 45th US President - Chairman of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping. On the same day, Japan declares that it is now capable of deploying a nuclear warhead on an intercontinental ballistic missile. Asia is drawn into a new arms race.

"" comment: Recently, the US considers China to be one of the "revisionist powers", which poses a serious threat to world security. The main allies of Washington in Asia are South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Although the United States adheres to the concept of a unified Chinese state, military-technical cooperation links them with Taiwan.

Beijing is an ally of the North Corea, which is unlikely to decide to assassinate Kim Jong-un, especially in collusion with the US. In addition, the good personal relations of Xi and Trump do not mean an alliance between Beijing and Washington. The forecast seems completely unrealistic.

After North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missiles tests, relations between Washington and Pyongyang seriously worsened. Donald Trump promised to deal with the leader of the North Corea, Kim Jong-un, whom he contemptuously called "shorty with a rocket." In response, North Korea threatens to inflict an unexpected and "unimaginable blow" on American territory. However, this is unlikely.

Scenario 5: Socialists take power in the UK

In 2018, Brexit talks between Britain under the leadership of Prime Minister Teresa May and the European Union are stalled. Theresa May resigns. The election is won by Socialist leader Jeremy Corbin. The parties again sit down at the negotiating table.

A year later, on March 29, the United Kingdom still leaves the EU. The new leader, Jeremy Corbin, branded the Conservative Party for bringing the country to such a state. The withdrawal from the European Union cost the UK even more than the Government of Teresa May expected.

In 2022: Corbin collects loans and raises taxes to lead the country into a socialist future. Education in universities is now free. Rich bankers flee from London, along with them from the country leaks and taxes that they used to pay. The yield of government loan bonds is only five percent.

A year later, socialism is still attractive. Corbin receives a majority in the elections and is again headed the British government. However, the economic situation is steadily deteriorating. Inflation is getting out of control. External debt is 100 percent higher than the United Kingdom's GDP.

In 2028, the country is rapidly rolling to default. Henceforth, the United Kingdom is a high-risk developing market. The British are afraid of the IMF loan and the conditions set by the bankers.

Commentary of "": in recent years, socialists are gaining popularity because of its leader Jeremy Corbin. At the parliamentary elections in June, the Tories took 319 seats, Labor - 261.

That result was considered a defeat of the conservatives with far-reaching consequences. Laborers wrested from the conservatives more than 20 districts in England. Moreover, the polls showed that more and more educated young people are voting for the left - that means the party is on the road to success. This forecast, unlike many others, does not seem so unrealistic.

Scenario 6: Pensioners Break Up Europe

In 2018, French pensioners go to protest against the pension reform of President Emmanuel Macron. The recent elections in Italy demonstrate a generational split in the country: those over 50 support the decrepit Silvio Berlusconi, who promised to protect their savings.

A year later the situation worsens: a shrinking able-bodied population can not pay pensions out of their own pocket to those born during the demographic explosion. As a result, Portugal, Italy, Spain and Greece are rapidly slipping into a financial crisis. With this, nothing can be done either by Macron, or German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Both policies are absolutely unpopular among the population. The European Commission fined Germany and France for violating the rules of the budget deficit.

2022 year. The ultra-left candidate Jean-Luc Melanchon with the support of youth wins the presidential election in France. He wants to show the Prime Minister of Great Britain Jeremy Corbin how socialism really should look like in the 21st century. In both countries, they raise taxes. Scotland, believing that this will help reduce the fees, leaves the United Kingdom.

Two years later, the unemployment rate among young people in Europe reaches 50 percent. In Italy, the populist Eurosceptic party "Movement of Five Stars", founded in 2009, comes to power. Catalonia votes for an exit from Spain. The impoverished kingdom can not even send military men into the autonomy to prevent it. Catalonia becomes independent.

In 2028, a low birth rate and early retirement means that there are only two working people per retiree. Young people refuse to pay taxes. Belgium is divided into three parts: French, Flemish and Brussels. However, Brussels remains the capital of the EU, more precisely, what is left of it.

"" comment: this scenario does not seem so far from reality. In mid-November 2017 in Paris, protests against the social and labor reforms of President Macron were already held. Annoyance of the population causes plans to reduce the number of subsidized jobs.

Despite the dissatisfaction with these political steps of the current president, the advent to power of ultra-left Melanchone is unlikely. In the parliamentary elections, his party won only 17 seats. Nevertheless, "revenge of the elderly" is quite a possible alternative to the "young revolution" - like those that took place in Arab countries.

Scenario 7: China starts a trade war

In 2018, China is hit by the most powerful typhoon in modern history: the country reports on floods and interruptions in the supply of electricity. President Xi Jinping is under pressure: he is being asked to use China's economic strength and good relations with Trump to force the United States to re-enter the Paris climate deal and limit harmful emissions to the atmosphere.

By 2021, China poured billions of dollars into subsidizing electric transport. Trump wins the election a second time, but refuses to sign the Paris agreement, on the contrary: he provides tax deductions to oil companies and automakers. Russia, meanwhile, is getting out of the Paris deal.

By 2024, climate change is increasingly affecting China: the rivers begin to dry up. Relations between Xi and Trump remain good, but Beijing is increasingly talking about the need to press the United States and change their position on combating global warming. A year later, China is imposing sanctions against those who are not in a hurry to reduce the level of harmful emissions, including against the US.

Four years later, comedian president Kimmel tries to pass through Congress a law on reducing emissions, but fails and loses the election. China is strengthening sanctions against the US, Australia and Russia, plunging the world into the first "climatic" trade war.

"" comment: the global cataclysm that hit China can really serve as a catalyst for taking more radical measures to combat the greenhouse effect. However, this is not just China's problem: in 2017, the US faced three powerful hurricanes. The elements can hit the US itself, which can sharply change public opinion, and after that the attitude of the establishment towards global warming.

China is the largest consumer of oil and gas, which means that neither the US, nor Russia, nor Australia will be able to painlessly abandon the Paris agreement. Losing the largest market is an extremely sensitive blow even for such a large and diversified economy as the US.

Scenario 8: Electric cars burying the oil era

In 2018, finally, there is a breakthrough in battery technology: electric cars are becoming cheap and affordable. Afraid of this, OPEC decides to sharply reduce oil production: the price of "black gold" stabilizes at a mark of $ 50 per barrel.

Two years later in Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman took the throne. The largest oil producer of the country, Saudi Aramco, is holding an IPO and brings huge profits to Riyadh, which largely go to the construction of the "future city" NEOM. The world in the meantime watches as in the USA and China new electric cars leave the conveyors. The price of oil is $ 40 per barrel.

In 2021, the economies of many countries - in particular, the United States and Japan - feel the effect of lower oil prices due to the collapse of the supply chain of the automotive industry. Most suffer Russia and Saudi Arabia. Russian plants workers are developing protest actions. The price of oil is $ 20 per barrel.

Three years later, in Saudi Arabia, the economic and political crisis is beginning, which is felt throughout the Middle East. Russian President Vladimir Putin resigns, but retains power, leading the country through his "puppet" Elvira Nabiullina. The price of oil is $ 10 per barrel.

In 2028, Saudi Arabia leaves plans for the construction of the NEOM metropolis. Half-built skyscrapers gradually fill with sand. OPEC dissolves itself. In Russia, Putin has not been seen for several years, and Nabiullina is trying to prevent the collapse of the country. Investors around the world are panicking because of a possible chain of bankruptcies of the oil industry companies.

Commentary of "": a scenario with a gradual refusal of the world from oil as a key fuel looks close to a realistic one. The rapid transition to electric cars, according to the agency, will contribute to a collapse in oil prices: from $ 50 per barrel in 2018 to $ 10 per barrel by 2024. This completes the realism of the scenario.

The dynamics of increasing the share of electric cars in the world so far does not allow us to speak about such a rapid refusal of the world economy from oil, and accordingly, the blow that awaits Saudi Arabia and Russia will not be as strong as the agency predicts.

Catherine Stone
Philipp Kensington
( comments)
Post a comment