“Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World” is the fourth unclassified report prepared by the National Intelligence Council (NIC) in recent years that takes a long-term view of the future. It offers a fresh look at how key global trends might develop over the next 15 years to influence world events. Our report is not meant to be an exercise in prediction or crystal ball-gazing. Mindful that there are many possible “futures,” we offer a range of possibilities and potential discontinuities, as a way of opening our minds to developments we might otherwise miss.
Some of our preliminary assessments are highlighted below:
- The whole international system—as constructed following WWII—will be revolutionized. Not only will new players—Brazil, Russia, India and China— have a seat at the international high table, they will bring new stakes and rules of the game.
- The unprecedented transfer of wealth roughly from West to East now under way will continue for the foreseeable future.
- Unprecedented economic growth, coupled with 1.5 billion more people, will put pressure on resources—particularly energy, food, and water—raising the specter of scarcities emerging as demand outstrips supply.
- The potential for conflict will increase owing partly to political turbulence in parts of the greater Middle East.
As with the earlier NIC efforts—such as Mapping The Global Future 2020—the project’s primary goal is to provide US policymakers with a view of how world developments could evolve, identifying opportunities and potentially negative developments that might warrant policy action. We also hope this paper stimulates a broader discussion of value to educational and policy institutions at home and abroad.