Year End Series 2014
PS The World in 2015
The year 2014 marked the centennial of World War I’s outbreak. Rather than being a year of reflection about that catastrophe, however, it became – like the annus horribilis of 1914 – a period of repeated tremors that fractured, perhaps fatally, the international order. Not only do the arrangements that have prevailed since the collapse of European communism in 1989 appear to have been shattered; in many ways, the entire post-1945 order now seems to be in an advanced state of decay.
The shocks to the global system are many:
- Russia's invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea;
- The increasingly murderous Sunni-Shia rivalry;
- Mounting tensions in the South and East China Seas;
- Chinese President Xi Jinping's purge, and sometimes imprisonment, of senior Communist Party leaders;
- Japan's more assertive foreign policy;
- The challenge to the ascendancy of the IMF and World Bank posed by the BRICS' New Development Bank.
Not only have these developments called into question many of the fundamental assumptions that have ordered the world for decades; they have also been accompanied by numerous – and equally dangerous – local fractures: Iraq's looming dismemberment in the face of the onslaught of the Islamic State; Nigeria's deepening north/south divide, following repeated attacks by the Islamist Boko Haram movement; secessionist bids by Scotland and Catalonia, as well as the growing possibility of a British withdrawal from the European Union; and the increasingly repressive official response to Uighur unrest in China's Muslim Xinjiang province.
Moreover, powerful new blows also hit a world economy that is barely recovering from the financial crisis of 2008:
- Fears of a Chinese hard landing after three decades of uninterrupted rapid growth;
- Worries that Shinzo Abe's efforts to kickstart Japan’s economy are running aground;
- The stumbling BRICS economies;
- Chronically anemic economic performance in the US and Europe;
- Increasing concern about the debilitating effects of climate change;
- America's ever deeper policy paralysis.
And all of this economic pain has been accompanied by evidence that widening inequality is not only weakening social cohesion in both developed and developing countries, but is also sapping the ability of economies to achieve sustainable growth.
In The Loss of Order, Project Syndicate’s 2014 year-end supplement, the world's leading economists, policymakers, political leaders, strategists, and public intellectuals provide an exclusive, sharp-eyed look at the past year – and compelling analyses of the trends that will shape events in 2015.Read More Read Less
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