The NY Times reports on some crystal ball gazing indicating that, based on GDP, the US is due to slide to Number Two:
U.S. Forecast as No. 2 Economy, but Energy Independent
By THOM SHANKER
WASHINGTON — A new intelligence assessment of global trends projects that China will outstrip the United States as the leading economic power before 2030, but that America will remain an indispensable world leader, bolstered in part by an era of energy independence.
But there is bad news. And good:
The product of four years of intelligence-gathering and analysis, the study, by the National Intelligence Council, presents grounds for optimism and pessimism in nearly equal measure.
A snippet of both:
One remarkable development it anticipates is a spreading affluence that leads to a larger global middle class that is better educated and has wider access to health care and communications technologies like the Internet and smartphones. The report assesses global trends until 2030.
“The growth of the global middle class constitutes a tectonic shift,” the study says, adding that billions of people will gain new individual power as they climb out of poverty. “For the first time, a majority of the world’s population will not be impoverished, and the middle classes will be the most important social and economic sector in the vast majority of countries around the world.”
At the same time, it warns, half of the world’s population will probably be living in areas that suffer from severe shortages of fresh water, meaning that management of natural resources will be a crucial component of global national security efforts.
Water will be the new oil just as the US frees itself from foreign oil.