For centuries, human geography and activities have been a key determinant of the rate of growth and development of the world economy. It is these activities by humans that manipulate, or rather create, the dynamics in the International features, which are often used to forecast future globalization trends. Therefore, using the International Futures (IFs) modeling system, this paper explores possible forecasting tools of globalization trends by the year 2062. The assumption here is that there are both positive and negative loops of feedback that can be conceptualized as globalization. As such, any long-term approach of forecasting should consider these loops explicitly. The variables driving those relationships are difficult but not impossible to operationalize and represent. However, no current forecasting system has the accurate capability to study and represent the varying strength of the dynamics of globalization with the changing of time and location. As such, the answer to the question “Can we forecast globalization processes using human, geographical activities?” is “yes” and, at the same time, “no.” We can represent them dynamically in ways that provide very important insights about them and facilitate thinking about alternative possible futures, but we probably cannot forecast the specifics of the processes with any real confidence. This realization is brought out in this paper in its efforts to predict the trend of globalization and human, geographical activities in the year 2062.
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Human Geography in the Year 2062
Can we forecast the unfolding of globalization? This paper explores possible answers to this question. Being one of the most discussed phenomena associated with global change and perceived by many as the “meta-driver” of change, globalization certainly merits attempts to measure and foresee its future (Knox & Marston, 2012).
In many instances, it has been deemed impossible to forecast the trends of phenomena whose occurrences cannot be clearly defined, conceptualized, or put in to operation. Globalization is an example of such phenomenal events. As such, this paper focuses on making it clear that globalization is best defined and understood as an evolutionary process. Globalization is an immensely popular term that in the second half of the 20th century has even gained the status of cliché (Knox & Marston, 2012). Analysts all over the world have given it a multitude of meanings. According to one of the most simple and perhaps most limited of its interpretations, globalization is “the expansion of global trade and financial flows”. Another more encompassing but still rather collectivistic its conceptualization describes globalization as the expansion not only of economic character but also as human flows expansion, which involves interactions, exchange of cultural elements and ideas.
Forecasting of any given phenomenon calls for its conceptualization. Forecasting also requires understanding of the dynamics underlying it. Elaborating the dynamics of globalization is an on-going scholarly enterprise that is unlikely to ever reach any real consensus. For example, Manuel Castells’ three volume series, in particular the first about the Rise of the Network Society (2000), are all parts of that large, collective scholarly project.
The forecasting of globalization trends is largely centered on what can be learned from the progression in the trend of globalization through the twenty-first century. These trends are best analyzed using the index of globalization within Ifs, taking a keen interest in the dynamics that may exist within these Ifs. They revolve around the dynamics by analyzing the long-term forecasts for OECD and non-OECD countries, respectively. These analyses show how the process of globalization is steadily continued in the world and how it peaks to high levels by the year 2100, more so in OECD countries (Knox & Marston, 2012). The absence of much fluctuation around the growth pattern reflects the weakness (essential absence) of the negative feedback loops, as discussed earlier. Indeed, if the dynamics that exists in the Ifs causes the growth process to slow down in the long-term, it can only have two possible explanations: saturation effects created by the operationalization and saturation effects inherent in the process. The first reason, in particular, is limited by the upper 100 limit when it comes to saturation in the forecasts. Many analysts might, logically, initially believe this saturation to be (Knox & Marston, 2012).
Judging from the arguments developed above, it is clear that the trend of globalization is dependent on various variables that occur in the form of human, geographical locations and activities. Statistics have shown that these activities are most likely to change with geographical location by the year 2062 (Knox & Marston, 2012). For instance, in the year 2062, OECD countries will experience significant changes in their economic performances as a result of globalization, as compared to non-OECD countries. Additionally, globalization and human, geographical activities are forecasted to cause a global power shift from the USA to China by the year 2062.
There is a more rapid growth in the worl’s population currently, and in 2062, the wordl’s population would reduce by more than 70 million, after having peaked at 12 billion in 2035 (Knox & Marston, 2012). China, the world’s most populous country, for example, will see its population reduced by more than 4 million in 2062 after having peaked at 1.5 billion in 2035 (Knox & Marston, 2012). A closer look in china, reveals that the urban population will be on the rise, making up to 70% of the world’s population. For instance, Shanghai’s municipal populations will more than double in 2062, at over 50 million, on the backdrop of massive urbanization (Knox & Marston, 2012).
However, the majority of this population will be fast aging, owing to dwindling sub-replacement fertility rates and rising life expectancy. The influences of globalization with erode the cultures of different societies around the world and less allegiance will be owed to this aged fraternity. Where they used to spend their old age in their sons and daughters’ spare rooms, like in China and other Asian countries, they will be shipped to neighboring countries like Australia and New Zealand to be taken care of in old age homes (Knox & Marston, 2012). The cultural degradation will not stop at this. It will make the issues of ethnicity and race more sensitive than ever before in 2062. Despite the extensive globalization, which will be achieved in 2062, the competition and need to survive with scarce resources will bring forth even stronger ethnic allegiances.
Perhaps the most alarming degradation of cultural norms, though, will be experienced in human-to-human sexual relationships and marriages. Judging by the current trend, 2062 will see pornography, cybernetic plug-ins, and robots claim the mantel as alternatives to Human-to-Human sexual intercourse (Hughes, & Hillebrand, 2006). Although traditional man-woman coupling will remain as rampant as it is now, age at first unions/marriages will increase considerably and settle at 40 years in 2062. The effects of globalization on cultural norms of societies around the globe will also be characterized by freedoms never witnessed in the world before. Among these freedoms, which will be witnessed in the year 2062, include gay marriages, prostitution, polygamy, use of marijuana, and use of a whole bunch of drugs not yet known to the current global society (Hughes, & Hillebrand, 2006).
Nonetheless, the technological advances that are currently witnessed in some countries around the globe will be spread and bettered, as a result of extensive globalization. The result would be an increase in automobile and other electrical technologies, which will be geared towards making the lives of humans easier. For instance, the potential of having flying vehicles, which operate using water, as opposed to gas, are very high and can be achieved in the year 2062. Robot burtlesr and talking houses are also a posibility (Hughes, & Hillebrand, 2006). However, human efforts to come up with these life-smoothing facilities would cause much hurm to the environment that it has ever caused. The phenomernon of environmental terrorism will manifest itself more in 2062 that it has ever before. Dessert fires and trails of deliberate pollution of the environment will be common place, putting the entire world population in jeopardy of extinction. Indeed, the years succeeding 2062 will experience gradual reduction in the worlds population and, according to forecasting statistics, eighty percent og the global population will be wiped out by the year 3000 (Hughes, & Hillebrand, 2006).
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