WASHINGTON – US intelligence officials paint a dark picture of the future of the world, writing in a report released Thursday that the coronavirus pandemic has deepened economic inequality, strained government resources and fueled nationalist sentiments.
These assessments are contained in a Global Trends report by the government’s National Intelligence Council. Produced every four years, the reports are designed to help policymakers and citizens anticipate the economic, environmental, technological and demographic forces that are likely to shape the world over the next 20 years.
This year’s report focuses heavily on the impact of the pandemic, calling it the “most significant, unique global disruption since World War II, with health, economic, political and security implications that will have an impact in the years to come”.
Nations in different parts of the world set new records for Covid-19 deaths and new infections on Thursday.
“Covid-19 has shattered longstanding assumptions about resilience and adaptation, creating new uncertainties about economics, governance, geopolitics and technology,” the report said.
The document gives cause for concern in almost all areas of life.
For example, she warns that the effects of climate change could exacerbate food and water insecurity in poor countries and accelerate global migration. Although household health, education and wealth have improved historically over the past few decades, these advances will be difficult to sustain due to “headwinds” not only from the effects of the pandemic but also from aging populations and “potentially slower economic growth”.
Advances in technology have the potential to address issues like climate change and disease, but they can also create new tensions, the report said.
“State and non-state rivals will battle for leadership and dominance in science and technology, with potentially cascading risks and implications for economic, military and social security,” the report said.
The report also warns of undermining trust in government and institutions and of a “trust gap” between the public and the more informed and educated sections of the population.