Global Governance in 2030. Prospective Scenarios on the Future of Politics

We are living in an era of unprecedented changes. Mature democracies, emerging polities and the least electorally competitive countries are now facing new challenges in a globalized world. They are all dealing with technological breakthroughs, changes in global economic power, ageing populations and urbanization of their territories.

Today’s picture shows that social inclusion seems to be an unfulfilled promise, and social cohesion is weakening. Some citizens are disenchanted, and political systems are having trouble adapting and responding to new demands.

According to Edelman’s Trust Barometer (2017), one in every two countries does not have faith in the system, and we still do not know how this picture is going to evolve. In democracies, pro-democracy attitudes coexist with openness to nondemocratic forms of governance, such as rule by experts (49 per cent), strong leaders (26 per cent) or the military (24 per cent). This picture might be part of a transition period or indicating that polities are not being able to cope with some of the new challenges.

It is why we need to think about the future of politics and how these trends will shape global governance in the next 10 to 20 years. Are political systems ready to govern a digital economy? How should political leaders evolve to address radical changes in an automated world? What will the consequences be for global governance and for the role of G20?

This paper analyzes current global trends in domestic politics and the prospective scenarios on the future of politics. To do so, the paper presents a brief description on three forces we know will forge the future: technological breakthroughs, demographic changes and shifts in global economic power. Later, it turns to the uncertainty of the future. We live in nation states, so we first attempt to devise how these forces will shape domestic politics. We then look at global governance and the way these trends will impact upon it. The final stop of this journey is an analysis of the implications of these scenarios for the role of the G20.

The report draws heavily from the results of an intensive design thinking workshop led by PwC’s Global Leader, Strategy and Leadership Development, Blair Sheppard. Workshop participants explored how political systems can confront disruptive, rather than incremental, change, worldwide. They engaged in a ‘strategic foresight’ exercise, an analytical exercise that involves thinking through various ways the future might unfold. We want to thank PwC for their invaluable collaboration, and specially to Blair Sheppard and Ramiro Albrieu (CIPPEC), Bethan Grillo (PwC), Alexis Jenkins (PwC), Gianluca Grimalda (Kiel Institute for the Economy), Jann Lay (GIGA), Sonia Jalfin (Sociopúblico), Colm Kelly (PwC), Martín Rapetti (CIPPEC), Justine Brown (PwC), Dennis Snower (Kiel Institute for the Economy) and Richard Wike (Pew Research Center), for joining us in this enterprise.

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