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Long Reads


PS Commentators' Predictions for 2020

In many ways, the start of 2020 resembles the start of 2019: the global economy is slowing amid rising geopolitical uncertainty, and longer-term crises such as climate change and societal aging are going unaddressed. But 2020 could be the last chance for supporters of democracy and international cooperation to steer developments back in their favor.

Marcus Aurelius may have been correct that “it is not the weight of the future or the past that is pressing upon you, but ever that of the present alone.” Yet as we enter a new year, one cannot ignore the fact that the current moment is both freighted with recent history and pregnant with possibility. The political and economic disruptions of recent years have taught us that just as we can never be certain of what will come next, nor can we afford to face the future with passive resignation. We can be reasonably certain of some of the greatest risks to human welfare, which means we can mitigate them to build more resilience against those that cannot be eliminated.

In that spirit, Project Syndicate commentators have shared their predictions for 2020. Everyone agrees that the US presidential election in November will be a turning point for the world, but only a few are willing to hazard a guess as to whether US President Donald Trump will be re-elected. In any case, the United States will hardly be the only country to watch. How China manages its own internal economic and political crises will prove no less consequential for the future of the global economy and the international order. And 2020 will reveal much about the European Union’s prospects under its new management. Most important, developments in any one country already pale in comparison to the stakes of the climate crisis. In these areas and more, PS commentators’ predictions suggest that the events and trends to watch in the months ahead will weigh on the present for many years to come.

Yuen Yuen Ang

The world should be fully prepared for the possibility that Trump could become the first American president to be re-elected after having been impeached. If that happens, it will change the course of not just American politics, but also world history. If you think US-China relations deteriorated in 2019, just wait for what would happen in a second Trump term. In any case, the current conflict is merely the beginning of a protracted rivalry between the two superpowers.

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