Possibilities 2050 | about the world in the mid-21st century


A concise all-round assessment of

the world's prospects mid-century


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This site presents a readable, concise assessment of the potential state of the world in 2050.
It's written for thinking people like you, and you won't need a PhD to understand it.
The red links are available now

 PDF  Introduction

The Main Issues
Fri 27th July Emerging Technologies
Fri 3rd Aug Disasters and Existential Risks

Contributory Issues
Fri 10th Aug Urbanisation
Fri 10th Aug Development
Fri 17th Aug Resources and Energy
Fri 17th Aug Pollution and Toxicity
Fri 24th Aug Agriculture and Food
Fri 24th Aug Culture and Religion
Fri 24th Aug Conflict

Fri 31st Aug  Conclusion
One planet, many worlds
Our dilemma
Scenarios and probabilities
Main Risks
Crisis and Change
Awkward questions
About the author
Palden Jenkins is an independent, realistic and progressive thinker with a background in geopolitics, history, humanitarian work, community projects, consultancy and consciousness work. He lives on an organic farm in Cornwall, UK.
Serialisation - latest upload: Global Public Health
This report is being serialised, one or two chapters per week. The full report will be available here from early September, with a full PDF version available for download and circulation. PDF versions of each chapter are available for offline reading or for printing.

You're welcome to refer people to this site and forward PDF versions to others. No charge, no strings.  Many people, especially in the Majority World, won't be able to read it if it costs money. This is for people in Gaza, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Ecuador as much as for Europeans, Americans and Japanese.

(The Majority World is where 85% of the world's population lives - people in the developed or rich world, 15% of humanity, call it the 'developing' world.)

It's written to help you clarify your understanding of what might be coming - this is important, since we're at a critical stage of human history.

It doesn't try to predict the future, neither to advocate what the author believes should happen. Clearly, he has his perspectives, biases and preferences, like anyone - however authoritative, objective or right they might be. But he has put a lifetime of thought into it.

Forecasting the future is a matter of qualified speculation with a good measure of uncertainty. Anyone who pretends otherwise needs a reality-check. When the future becomes the present, that's our reality-check, and when it becomes the past we'll understand it even more, in retrospect.

There are many variables, unknowns, unknowables, complexities and considerations involved in assessing the future. Nevertheless, likelihoods can be identified. By looking at overall trends and potentials visible today or hovering under the surface, and at mechanisms shaping the future, we can all prepare our thoughts for a spectrum of possibilities.

It's a perplexing and big question. Many people don't think about it - it's all very big and daunting, and we're all so busy. It would be great to give nice, simple forecasts, roadmaps, recipes and solutions, but this is neither possible, nor is it honest or advisable.

Our world is made up of a remarkable variety of people and cultures, each with different perspectives, questions and answers, and the future will be hammered out through a process of debate, fermentation, tugging and pushing, incidents, accidents, screw-ups, moments of brilliance, breakthroughs, disappointments, tedium and heavy lifting. It involves everyone.

This report highlights quite a few awkward dilemmas and contradictions, leaving many questions unanswered. It all depends on what we do with the future and, in particular, how we resolve one key question: who decides?

Let's get on with it. Enjoy the ride. First, we start with an introduction.

Possibilities 2050

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