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What Unpleasant Surprises Does 2024 Have in Store?

08.01.2024
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According to A. Kalmykov

Few believe 2024 will bring relief after 2023, which was marred by wars in Ukraine and the Middle East, slowdowns in development around the world and record-high temperatures on the planet in recorded history. On the contrary, most experts and media write that it will be worse. In any case, this is the impression one gets after reading the New Year’s wave of their forecasts, which has traditionally covered us in the last two weeks.

We will find out which of the gloomy predictions will come true in a year. In the meantime, here is a short list of reasons to worry about 2024, moving from forecast to forecast.

In addition to wars and climate change—the two major threats to humanity inherited from 2023—analysts and the media highlight one major new one. It concerns primarily the West, but the consequences will be felt by the whole world. It's about elections. They promise a change of power in the United States and the EU, which, among other things, is fraught with a reduction in support for Ukraine in its resistance to Russian aggression.

Among other potential problems for stability and growth of prosperity in the world, experts name the deepening economic crisis. One of the reasons could be a new round of inflation and another year of living with expensive loans. Others include the US and EU trade war with China and problems in China itself, the engine of global economic growth.

Many people mention artificial intelligence both among the risks and among the candidates for the saviors of humanity. The main new technology of the 21st century is still in its infancy, as is the regulation of its use. However, it contains such hidden potential for both progress and destruction that AI is gradually becoming the main unknown in predicting the future.

For now, the main threats in all 2024 scenarios are related to wars. Russia's war against Ukraine is far from over, as is Israel's conflict with Hamas and other Iranian-backed groups in the Middle East.

Experts identify two main risks associated with these wars in their forecasts. Firstly, each of them risks escalating into a large-scale regional or even global conflict at any moment. And secondly, the normalization of military aggression in international relations and the West’s limited resources to help its allies could give confidence to its opponents from the opposite camp of autocrats, leading to new wars. The darkest scenarios involve a direct US clash with Russia over Europe or with China over Taiwan.

Wars make the world poorer. They have already led to disruptions in international trade, the deglobalization of the world economy and the degradation of post-war international development institutions. If major wars drag on, they promise the West an intensifying migration crisis and increased defense spending to the detriment of social spending. All this is fraught with a decline in the standard of living of the population and a further rise of right-wing forces and nationalism.

However, the calendar promises that the summer of 2024 will at least temporarily dilute the flow of difficult news about wars and crises. The XXXIII Summer Olympic Games will open in Paris on July 26. And even earlier, on June 14, the Euro 2024 football starts in Germany.

 

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