Global integration. Unfolding events, strained resources, failing states, cross-border challenges, and environmental and economic crises could force the world to integrate further, strengthening international law and compliance while instituting UN reform and making binding multilateral agreements. Intensifying events could push things this way since friction and diplomatic failure or disintegration could be more painful. It would need good leadership, forward ideas and a few game-changing events to make it work, because globalisation has since 2008 lost much of its shine. Developing facts could oblige such a change, especially if the world economy deflates and climatic, environmental and other issues go critical. This would be an historic step.Multipolarity. We are now in new territory: the relative subsidence of USA and the rise of China are reconfiguring things. Other nations might have to align with either power or with another grouping. A binary superpower system is conceivable, though the balance of power would not last long since the longterm fundamentals of China’s and USA’s positions will continue changing in China’s favour. Such a binary polarisation is likely to cause other powers, including Europe and India, to step up, creating a multipolar great power configuration. Multipolarity creates a kind of order though it subordinates most nations’ needs to the sway of big powers. A substitute for global governance, its value depends on powers’ priorities and agendas. Yet it does reduce the variability and complexity of competing geopolitical priorities and claims. Global power-projection is now increasingly expensive and troublesome – USA is, after all, the world’s biggest debtor nation – and the capacity of big countries to sustain such policing power in future is debateable. So a multipolar configuration would be the next best option, in a big-power context.Trilateralism. By the 2030s, China, Russia, Europe, the Middle East and possibly India could form a Eurasian bloc; the Americas could form a bloc – though Latin America has an historic distrust of USA; and Africa, more populous and developed than now, could form a third bloc. The most likely is the Eurasian bloc: China’s Belt and Road project is advancing, building powerful economic and institutional alternatives to the former Western-dominated order. It would make Eurasia the world’s dominant bloc. This would prompt a response from countries that are not involved – they would either become orbital to or resistant to Eurasian dominance. Much depends on China’s capacity to maintain its friendships and on USA’s capacity to avoid losing its own. The big question affecting the world’s future is whether these blocs would be competitive or collaborative and whether any rivalry were soft-power or military based.Continental blocs. To disperse global superpower primacy and deal with dysfunctional nations and continent-wide challenges, new blocs or unions could arise in Latin America, MENA (Middle East and North Africa), SE Asia, Central Asia, Africa and South Asia, to complement China, USA, India and EU. It would represent a hard-headed response to multiple global challenges and to the insolvency or breakup of some states – poorer and indebted states and those experiencing legitimacy issues or domestic frictions. Such blocs could be constructive or problematic in balancing power, yet they are a logical solution and a way of creating a global balance of power.Stalled Engines. There is a possibility of global downturn as major economic powers turn inward or lapse into wasteful superpower rivalry. Nations and regions retract into isolationism and trade and cooperation dwindle. Global issues remain stalemated or unaddressed. Conditions deteriorate, bringing about complex outcomes as the climate changes, food and supplies dwindle and insecurity and conflicts gain momentum. A global crisis resulting from this could lead to political corrosion and a sorry future, but also the experience of downturn and its consequences could later lead to a revival of international cooperation, configured differently from before.Regions of order and chaos. Strong countries form coalitions to maintain trade and order and deal with those environmental, migration and conflict issues they’re able to deal with, while letting uncontrollable areas drift. Megacity-regions could gain prominence as nodes of prosperity and order, even fortresses of stability. The poorest ‘bottom billion’ grows larger, some areas become zones of poverty or resistance and other areas come under criminal, militia, kleptocratic, political, religious, experimental or chaotic systems. Richer areas fend off threats from unstable regions while also depending on them for resources. Global issues struggle to progress. Trade and aid falter, migration and supply-line issues escalate. Environmental and economic conditions deteriorate, poverty and hardship increase and in some areas state organisation collapses. The world becomes harder, more unstable and cruel, with mounting problems that defy resolution.Breakdown and conflict. The world degenerates into conflict and insecurity with some ‘fortress’ countries and alliances holding firm, while shifting and deteriorating conditions pertain across much of the world. China, Russia and Europe or other combinations could form alliances while the rest of the world is tumultuous. The global agenda is hijacked by conflict, smuggling, black markets, opportunism and chaos. Trade and international law disintegrate. Many people have to fend for themselves, leading to some successes and many tragedies. Later, faced with a downward spiral of events and a weariness with insecurity, some areas could pull together and a movement could grow by late century for urgent global cooperation and revival.Networked world. A tech-driven cultural shift emerges in the 2020s-30s, reflecting the sharing, collectivist, circular-economy values of Millennials and the growing involvement of artificial intelligence. Megacities, corporations, NGOs, non-state actors, ethnic and social groups bypass increasingly dysfunctional nations, governments and institutions. They form networks of pooled interest, seeking to resolve pressing global issues by innovative, doable means and through relatively informal crowd-supported initiatives. While posing difficulties, this flexible hyper-structure forms the basis of a new global order which evolves over a few decades. Majorities join in or acquiesce since this configuration delivers the goods in ways that nations failed to do.