Posted: 06.12.2023 13:58:00

Global trends – 2024

The main risks and threats to the world and the global economy in the coming year

Traditionally, more and more materials with forecasts for the development of events in the coming year appear in the global information field in December. The attention of the public and specialists is largely focused on key tabloids (magazines, newspapers and studies). Their forecasts and assessments are important, since now the world is ‘hooked’ on the products of the so-called factories of the future or futuristic centres, which have become extremely popular in the West. The increased attention to them from the public is determined not by the bright, heightened fantasies of their oracles, but to a greater extent by the fact that Western elites, since the 70s of the 20th century, have moved to managing world processes by imposing their own models of the future.

Battles for power

Something similar happened in mid-November 2023, when the British edition of The Economist, authored by Jerome Berthier, published a new magazine with a cover in the form of a graphic rebus called The World Ahead 2024 (a forecast for 2024 in the form of riddles, drawings and symbols). After the publication of this issue, the entire public began to actively solve the proposed puzzle and look for hidden meanings. They tried to understand what the Rothschilds (the magazine belongs to this wealthy family) had planned for the whole world, what images of the future to expect.
We will not go into the details of deciphering the ‘graffiti’ data (there are now a lot of them freely available on the Internet, everyone can find and get ‘vivid’ impressions), we will just briefly explain what exactly the key trends The Economist expects in 2024.
The main trend will be associated with a series of elections in different countries.
Electoral cycles will affect more than 70 countries, home to over 4 billion people — more than half the world’s population. 
But the elections will not be simple and smooth; a very tough confrontation between various political forces is expected. Many saw in The Economist’s drawing a prediction of such complex and acute battles between politicians for power, when some (old) elites will be replaced by others (young).
The second, most powerful trend, that will determine the course of events in 2024 will be the US elections. 
A change is expected from the Democratic Party led by Joe Biden to the Republican Party represented by Donald Trump. 
This event will inevitably lead to increased confrontation between the United States and China (on the cover, Trump and Xi go in different directions).

Dangerous competition

The growing disagreements between Washington and Beijing under Trump could develop into a new Cold War in the form of a sharp increase in technological rivalry between the United States and China (symbols of different technologies, new types of energy, auto production, energy, etc. are visible on the cover). And this will be the third trend of 2024!
The growing contradictions between the United States and China as the key economies of the world will lead to a weakening of the global economy, which may result in another collapse in the world stock and currency markets. 
This fourth trend is confirmed by the statements of the Prime Minister of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Li Qiang on November 28th, 2023. He pointed out that the global economy faces a serious threat of fragmentation into separate trading blocs. This situation is leading to increasing obstacles to the operation of global production and supply chains, which is slowing down the global economy and plunging us into an era of strict protectionism.
At the end of November, the IMF indicated that the global economy was not gaining momentum and lowered its forecast for global GDP growth next year to 2.9 percent. The fund’s experts expect that the economic decline will be associated with an increase in global inflation — up to 5.8 percent in 2024. Against this background, the IMF demanded that central banks maintain tight monetary policies — high lending rates will lead to further inhibition of business and investment. 

Artificial intelligence attacks

The fifth trend of 2024 may be the next waves of unpredictable socio-economic upheavals, including due to epidemics/pandemics, as well as the rapid development and introduction of artificial intelligence into the global economy and production processes (on the cover on the centre left in the form of the all-seeing eye and human brains, connected by wires).
In particular, in November, China was overwhelmed by a wave of destructive propaganda from Western media about the rapid spread of unknown mysterious respiratory diseases among children in China, which sharply cause high fever and are similar in symptoms to pneumonia and COVID-19. The World Health Organisation has demanded China provide important details about the situation.
It is highly likely that this lever of pressure will continue to be used by the West on China to weaken the investment attractiveness of the country, delay efforts and resources to eliminate diseases and create social tension and dissatisfaction in Chinese society.
In terms of artificial intelligence, many predict an increase in its threats to humanity. The desire to minimise costs leads to the widespread introduction of AI in the design and development of new products and services, which inevitably leads to the dismissal of numerous engineering personnel, creative workers and others.
The sixth trend may be a situation when states will no longer be able to cope with the cascade of socio-economic problems (unemployment, protests, terror, sabotage of elites and intelligentsia) and will smoothly hand over the reins of power to large corporations and banks.

Warmer, even warmer...

The pressure on the state as a form of social organisation in 2024 will increase under the influence of ever-increasing climate shocks (storms, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, abnormal heat, cold, etc.). And this is the seventh trend.
Thus, scientists surveyed in November 2023 by the Financial Times indicated that floods and droughts are expected around the world at the beginning of 2024 due to the intensification of the natural phenomenon El Niño. This phenomenon will last until at least April 2024. 
The head of the World Meteorological Organisation, Petteri Taalas, believes that 2023 will be the hottest year on Earth on record, and 2024 could be even warmer.

What about our region?
Western futurists (including from The Economist) predict further confrontation between Russia and Ukraine (read NATO). The National Bank of Ukraine in its forecast also expects hostilities until the end of 2024 and sees great risks of a prolonged war with a gradual decrease in the volume or loss of rhythm in the flow of international assistance, an increase in the state budget deficit and financing of the military campaign, and a drop in exports due to damage to port and energy infrastructure.
In such conditions, it will be extremely difficult for Zelensky to stay in power. A change in the political leader of Ukraine is expected — it is no coincidence that there is an hourglass on the cover (Zelensky’s time is running out). 
As for Russia, the key event here will be the upcoming elections of the President of the Russian Federation.
The British are being sarcastic, attributing the hourglass to Vladimir Putin — supposedly his time is also running out. But these are the British — they never liked strong power in Russia.
2024 will not be associated with the weakening of Moscow. On the contrary, the strengthening of central government, large-scale modernisation of the armed forces and the introduction of modern technologies are expected. All this will allow Russia to develop and advance its global foreign policy agenda. 
Belarus, having made the right geopolitical choice in favour of the collective East (Russia and China), is now developing and has good economic growth rates. The well-being of the population of our country in 2024 will continue to grow, the security of society will be ensured, our people and state will not be ruined by the collective West. 

By Aleksei Avdonin, an analyst with the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research (BISR)