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Twenty Forty-Five: Pre-thread- 'The Years Between'

Discussion in 'Imperium OffTopicum' started by Immaculate, Oct 13, 2015.

  1. Exhera

    Exhera Unorthodox Unicorn

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    Me has thinked!

    Motherland be free land, full recognized, even by evil communist China!
    (Taiwan)
     
  2. Sonereal

    Sonereal ♫We got the guillotine♫ Supporter

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    This is something the United States is already doing through bilateral security agreements with various countries in the region, as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    That makes perfect sense. Besides the mentioned countries, countries that have "fended off" the worst of the Arab Winter, such as Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Bahrain, may find themselves embroiled in widespread unrest once again. Especially since in the case of Egypt, it isn't likely that development will have reached a satisfactorily level under the current military regime.

    I think direct conflict between the major powers in the region would be unlikely. The powers involved would likely wage war on one another through their proxies in Syria, Yemen, and other destabilized countries. There are a couple of wild cards in my opinion that could push into a more general Middle Eastern conflict such as a Third (or Fourth by 2025) Intifada or another conflict between Hezbollah and Israel in Southern Lebanon.

    1. I don't know enough about Mexico to guess what the factions in a Mexican Civil War would actually be. I don't feel at this moment that Mexico is veering toward civil war, and with the United States right next door, I believe that there would be humanitarian intervention to alleviate the food crisis in Mexico before it spiraled into something nastier.

    2. Wild card.

    3. When you say strengthening, do you mean increasing the strength of the institutions and the integration of its members of just increased general clout because of Africa's growing economy? I can see both as well as regional economic and political blocs forming such as the East African Federation.

    3. I would imagine there are a few countries in Southeast Asia that China may intervene in the 2020s should instability rise too high.

    I think there is zero chance that Taiwan will ever become an independent country by 2050. As time goes on, the United States' ability to intervene positively to save Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack to thwart a Taiwanese declaration of independence is just going to keep falling. For starters, the United States is careful about what weapons it sends Taiwan, and how many, because sending too many weapons or certain weapon systems would trigger a crisis. Furthermore, China's air force and navy are undergoing substantial modernization which will shift the air force from being just a tool of the army to a strategically powerful tool in its own right. [1] The United States will likely continue pressing Taiwanese leaders to not declare independence or take steps toward independence because the United States knows that that would be a red line for China. I believe Taiwan will remain in a perpetual limbo of de facto statehood without actually ever receiving the full benefits of full independence.

    [1] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01402390.2015.1068165
     
  3. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    Re: Chinese agricultural investment in Africa.

    A few points:

    1. Agriculture is declining as a share of African economic output and only accounts for between 12 to 15 per cent of total now. Going forward it will continue to decline in economic significance with a consequent reduction in its usefulness as a lever.

    2. European and North American investment still accounts for half of FDI into Africa. The whole of the Asia-Pacific region is 20 per cent and has remained more or less flat for the last decade. China could grow its FDI inflows a lot but in will lag far behind European and North America levels of investment.

    3. Agricultural investment is not that important. The top three sectors were tech, media and telecoms and accounted for 50% of FDI in 2013. Agriculture might grow but that will be from a low base.

    4. There’s a host of issues with investing in green-fields African agriculture e.g. non-existent supply chains and enabling infrastructure. It’s for this reason that South Africa and Egypt account for something like half of all FDI in agriculture.

    5. I have no idea why mining and energy (the latter in particular) are not considered given that it’s possible for one or two projects to have an outsized impact on state revenue/economic performance.

    Sources: EY & UNCTAD

    ***

    I doubt China would ever intervene in Southeast Asia. Most of its potential targets are US allies, e.g. Thailand and the Philippines, strong enough to resist, e.g. Indonesia or Vietnam, and/or would cause other powers to freak, e.g. India with Burma. This is quite apart from the fact that outside of a limited conflict over some coral islands, there's no reason to intervene. Keeping in mind that the present coral island thing is causing a major regional realignment to the US.
     
  4. Sonereal

    Sonereal ♫We got the guillotine♫ Supporter

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    When I say intervention, I was thinking in case of a Syrian-styled breakdown, not so much a run of the mill type breakdown. But I don't really find the scenario too likely either.
     
  5. Decamper

    Decamper ..!

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    Of course, but with the loss of the ROK as an ally, the US could push for more direct security agreements with SEA states (possibly permanent bases, or larger bases) that feel threatened by Chinese claims (Philippines, most notably). Also largely depends on how SEA states swing with a weakened US presence, ie Vietnam and Indonesia. There's also the possibility that the US could simply reverse its 'pivot' if events in the mid-east/mexico/europe take too much of its attention.

    Not a direct conflict between Russia and the US, of course, but increased tensions (possibly setting up for something in following terms, or setting the stage for the game proper) as they try to set up friendly regimes in the collapsing states.

    Good idea, as violence fueled by the drug war continues, confidence in the mexican gov't continues to drop, resulting in many local and state groups taking up arms to defend themselves. Seeing Mexico on the brink of a full on collapse, The US (and maybe Canada/neighbouring states/UN PKO?) intervene.

    Possibly both, though it would make more sense for regional political/security blocs to form rather than something analogous to the EU, given how intensely African nations tend support sovereignty and non-intervention (in their own affairs). Along with an East African Bloc mostly made up of the states involved in Somalia (Ehtiopia, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, etc), as well as possibly a West Africa Bloc, forming around the conflict against Boko Haram and its ilk (Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad). The agricultural crisis could force African states to cooperate more closely together (or drive them apart, who knows), as well as into Chinese influence (or American/South African/who ever else).

    Agreed. China, Taiwan and the US don't have much to gain from changing the status quo. If anything, economic ties between Taiwan and China keep getting tighter as they are now, making it nearly impossible for Taiwan to risk cutting them.
     
  6. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Can I push for this?
     
  7. Masada

    Masada Koi-san!

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    I can't think of a state that's sitting on that kind of demographic volcano. Burma is the exception... but it's been blowing up regularly since 1949 and not even the Tatmadaw shelling across the border into China during an attack against the ethnic Han Kokang, despite warnings from the PRC not to attack their one-time/likely still clients, got them to say much and that was this year. There's just no reason to do it really. Burma is weak and ineffective enough to make it hard to impose a government nevermind there being absolutely no reason to want to get involved. I guess the other issue is that any Chinese intervention is going to be viewed so negatively... that it would hurt China more than help it. You might gain a client... and lose the region completely.
     
  8. Decamper

    Decamper ..!

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    @thomas

    I don't that's really possible given the timeframe.
     
  9. Sonereal

    Sonereal ♫We got the guillotine♫ Supporter

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    I think Mexico would have to absolutely collapse in order to derail the US pivot, but fair point. Besides the United States pushing for increased security arrangements, the countries in the region themselves likely would begin relying on one another if the US is distracted elsewhere.

    I can see that, but I don't feel that it would get that far in the first place.

    In that case, is there any chance China would concede some of its claims in the South China Sea in order to build ties and political support for planned projects like the Maritime Silk Road? Or is the government facing too many internal and domestic pressure to change course on the issues?
     
  10. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    it's 80 meters. It's the maximum as we understand it now
     
  11. Decamper

    Decamper ..!

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    80 metres in 30 years?

    The IPCC puts sea levels rising by less than 1m by 2100. Even by the most liberal projections I don't see any feasible way of getting sea levels up by 80m in less than half a century.
     
  12. thomas.berubeg

    thomas.berubeg Wandering the World

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    Oh, 100 years for 80 meters is the estimate.
     
  13. Decamper

    Decamper ..!

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    What estimate is this? 80m in a century seems ridiculously massive, barring some Red Mars-esque disaster breaking up ice around Antartica or something.
     
  14. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Chinese agricultural investment in Africa
    1. Rising food prices would conceivably reverse that trend, especially as hard biophysical limits come into play in the southern/western USA and northern China.
    2. Africa is 55 diverse countries with very divergeant geographies and policies. Forty-three of those have American military bases. When you say North American investment accounts for half of FDI, you have to consider that a lot of that is related to military expenditures and investment and not to economic projects.
    My reading shows that chinese investment in African agriculture has been accelerating considerably. That doesn’t mean other players aren’t also involved there. This event doesn’t prevent other related events from occurring, its merely a description of growing influence of Chinese agribusiness on the world stage in in Africa in particular.
    3. Again, rising food prices could change that. That doesn’t mean that tech and media and telecoms aren’t being invested in, just that this event outlines chinese agribusiness influence.
    4. Those issues are primarily what are being invested in addressing.
    5. Because mining and energy are different events but definitely worth addressing as separate issues. You want to write them? Please?



    NORTH KOREA
    So I think the idea of a soft collapse in north Korea seems not only possible but likely so lets write that up as an event. I leave it to the author to determine if that means better or worse ties with China or the US or more independence or even if it means reunification or not. I think all these things are possible.

    SYRIA
    If ISIS fails in Syria and Iraq, those fighters (and their weapons) won’t simply disappear, they’ll take their ‘global battle’ to a new battlefield. That battlefield might be Afghanistan. Or it might be Palestine. Conflict between ISIS fighters and Israel could lead to further punitive measures by Israel against the Palestinian Authority (like withholding even more taxes) and the collapse of the PA. Collapse of the PA would certainly lead to another major conflict for Palestine-Israel and with Hezbollah’s role in Syria, if Hezbollah got involved, things could get messier.

    Once we see Sone’s event for Syria, I think we should build on this. Thoughts?


    MEXICAN CIVIL WAR
    I really like the idea of the Mexican drug lords getting stronger and stronger, though I haven’t considered what effects that would have upon the timeline. I think Sone is right in that foreign powers might intervene to prevent the sort of collapse outlined by Decamper. But what would that intervention take the form of? And would it necessarily succeed? The war on drugs and on drug-gangs isn’t going so well for Americans in the southern US. Why would they necessarily have more success in Mexico if they did intervene and how would an enlarge American military presence affect Mexican sentiment towards the USA, etc?

    COLLAPSE OF THE EU
    Maybe a smaller EU?

    STRENGTHENING OF THE AU
    Nigeria is proposed by some futurists to be a major economic player in the coming decades (if it can avoid some obvious problems) and that would be fun to explore. The development of Nigeria and Kenya as major players in the east and west with their ‘spheres of influence’ might be fun to explore. Thoughts?

    TAIWAN
    The only possible way that Taiwan would gain more autonomy, in my opinion, is if China faced internal instability or a major leadership crisis (possibly as cultures and ideologies of the younger generation percolate to the top and come into conflict with established traditions/norms). Which itself may be a possibility but probably not by 2025. Should we maybe revisit this sort of event in the years between 2025 and 2035? Even at some reduced scale?

    RISING SEA LEVELS
    Sea levels rise maybe a cm or 2 in the ten years between 2015 and 2025. It is not a major issue.




    ALL:
    Write events!
     
  15. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    I got another one

    Can21 Fungal Blight Devastates North American Wheat and Barley

    Years

    2021-2022

    Brief

    A particularly virulent (and resistance gene penetrative) strain of Fusarium head blight (FHB) devastates Canadian and American wheat and barley during 2021 and 2022, and to a lesser extent Northern European fields in 2022.

    Details

    An atypically wet spring in 2021 across the Canadian and US prairies combines with a newly emerging strain of red wheat blight related to, but distinct from, the Ug99 strain which affected much of Africa in the 2010s (1), to devastate the relatively homogenous large-scale wheat and barley fields of North America.

    The fungus causes nearly 100% crop lost in infected wheat fields, 60-70% crop losses in infected barley fields, and is highly virulent. In addition, the strain displays particularly hardy spores and despite drier conditions the following spring, re-emerges in both North America and northern European wheat and barley fields in 2022. Analysts report that the new C21 FHB is likely to remain endemic in the soil much as Ug99 has remained in much of Africa.

    While global grain supplies are able to meet Canadian, US, European, and world demand, surpluses are considerably diminished and supply (and market) vulnerability is felt worldwide.

    American (and Canadian) agribusiness responds with new wheat and barley strains resistant specifically to the Can21 fungus and these are planted in most North American and European fields in 2023, often with the assistance of significant government subsidies. This proves successful and 2023 proves particularly productive for wheat and barley farmers in these areas.

    (Potential) Consequences

    Food prices spike dramatically during 2021 and 2022 with effects felt across the world. World stockpiles, as documented on ‘paper’ everywhere are revealed to not be nearly as deep as they were supposed to be; this is especially true in India where endemic corruption in the agricultural ministry has yet to be eradicated and issues of distribution infrastructure continue (2).

    References/Inspiration

    Mostly inspired by poorly written ‘green’ blogs denouncing monoculture farming and the actual incidence of Ug99 in Africa.
    1: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ug99
    2: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/07/01/uk-india-wheat-idUKBRE8600KB20120701
     
  16. Immaculate

    Immaculate unerring

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    Things have been much more quiet that I would like so this is being presented on another forum with the intention of drumming up more events (and maybe players).
     
  17. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

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    Color me interested...

    May write events/articles/whatever soon.
     
  18. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

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    List Of Possible Events

    -Great Britain Leaves EU. (Link here)
    --A contentious subject in which several conservative leaning parties in Great Britain desiring a formal secession from the European Union. That the bank of England, GB's central bank, is discussing contingencies and plans in the case that national referendum causes Great Britain's walking out, means that this possibility may be a lot closer than one realize.)

    -Scotland (successfully) secedes from Great Britain? (information link: Under which rock have you been living in for the last year or so). Scotland failed its last referendum to win independence from Great Britain, but I suspect that things will simply get easier for them to do so as time goes on.

    -Donald Trump's election causes internal instability as more liberal, open values come into direct conflict with conservative values. Donald Trump currently appears to enjoy, inexplicably to this poster's eyes, some degree of popularity as a presidential candidate. In the unlikely case that he is elected, such a divisive president will no doubt cause significant instability within United States. Even if Donald Trump is not elected, there is a growing trend of partisanship/hostile divide between differing ideologies within United States, which may cause further and further instability.



    On Technology:

    -Growing Popularity of Wearables: The Google Glass and the Apple Watch being one of the first examples of such 'Wearables,' these devices are electronic items which can be worn in various parts of the human body. Aside from visors and glasses that may provide its users with hands-free access to the web or augmented reality, there may be gloves that allow users to interact with augmented reality experience, shirts that monitor medical conditions and such. Google Glass, when it was first introduced, was a taboo item. It made others nervous because one could not tell when and if a Google Glass was recording or taking pictures of others. As society grows more open and privacy becomes less of an issue, we can come to the next part of the discussion...

    -Lessening Emphasis on Privacy. There is a trend in modern day society where people are growing more and more willing to give up parts of their privacy. There's the 24/7 twitter spew of Celebrity life, for one. There's also the fact that you consent to what is basically a full body scan every time you walk through an airport. There's the fact that we constantly get leaked voice tapes of celebrities saying something stupid around a microphone that they weren't aware existed. There's also the fact that despite we are more or less aware that the NSA, FBI, CIA, or whatever sinister and mysterious government agency is capable of spying on every word that we type on the internet, it does not stop us from using Internet or really driving us mad that they are doing it. As wearables become more popular, and personal IDs and facial recognition programs become available to anyone who desires it, there is a possibility that the idea of "privacy" as we understand it becoming warped? After all, how can you expect to keep anything a secret when everything, from your glasses to your watch, have a microphone and a video camera capable of watching your every move?

    -Growing Popularity of Directed Energy Weapons in the Military
    Unlike railguns, which often cause massive strain on the firing mechanism, lasers are seen as an effective method of delivering a massive burst of energy to the target. In has the added benefit that it is much cheaper to fire than a normal ammunition.

    While currently used for point defense purposes, lasers definitely has potential for becoming a serious offensive weapon as well. With advances in battery and generator tech, we may be able to fit them onto tanks or drones or even individual soldiers.



    -Optical/Quantum Computing: While Moore's Law suggests an exponential growth in computing power, this is becoming less and less true in the modern world, as manufacturing capabilities reach its limits in miniaturization of computer sizes. As building bigger and bigger machines is not what modern society wants, we turn to alternatives such as quantum and optical computing.

    Optical Computing is interesting because by nature, photons allow for much higher degree of bandwidth than electrons (which is presumably why fiber optic cables are so much better than copper wires. Electonical enginering is not my specialty). As we send more and more data packets to all over the place around the world, we may find ourselves needing more and more bandwidth. This would lead to the fitting of fiber optics cable network as a standard around the globe. However, converting electrical messages to optical message, and vice versa, is an energy consuming step. As such, we may elect to use optical computing instead of electronics as time goes on.

    There are various researches going on regarding this new form of computing as we speak.


    -Hydroponics/Soil Science:
    As the world recovers from the fungal disease that destroyed much crop in United States, there may be increased interest in researching hydroponics gardening method and soil science. What kind of fertilizers are necessary to grow tasty, nutritious food as fast as possible? How can we limit damage to arable land as we do so? Is it economically feasible for tall vertical farms to appear in cities?
    .........
     
  19. CivOasis

    CivOasis Ahuizotl

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    Took way too bloody long. Anytime I try to post or read this thread, it crashes for some reason.

    Anyways, some random spitballing:

    -The East African Federation should formally be united by 2020, assuming that further delays don't occur. I imagine internal issues, especially between Uganda and the other countries, would likely pose a problem to its long-term success in some ways

    -Physician Assisted Suicide will probably be legal in the US by 2020, as well, if you want random flavor there

    -In a slightly more impactful note, medical marijuana will make large inroads in the US, as will recreational forms. To borrow from (and partially mangle) Dr. Casarret's arguments on the matter (which I recently got to hear presented last week), this probably has some significant impacts. If recreational is fully legalized, you would expect to see the cost associated with the production drop dramatically, and - for obvious reasons - black market involvement with it will probably collapse. Interestingly, the data indicates this will also likely reduce the prevalence of addiction to several other street drugs (largely due to the ability to access more potent strains of marijuana legally instead). On the other hand, a full legalization probably comes with several nasty public health issues, particularly reproductive and pulmonary problems. Medical or incomplete legalization probably has a much less significant variations of this.

    -Given the recent return to gene therapy treatments, I would hope that it continues to see a renewed success, especially given the nearly 20 year absence it's had in the public conscience and research spheres. I don't know that it would be particularly common by 2025, but perhaps it becomes at least a possible treatment.

    -I'm also hoping the recent biotech slump doesn't lead to a mass collapse of the industry, and it recovers steadily over time, though perhaps it takes a while to reach anything resembling it's pre-September position

    -re:North Korea, I'd like to posit the soft collapse occurring when Kim Jong-Un passes away, so perhaps not quite so immediate as we're pushing for above. This is going to have very significant impacts in the research community on both ends, given the North Korea is a major blank in data, particularly for the WHO, despite the fact that we can tell their research programmes exist, and are certainly better funded than, say, their interest in feeding the population... similarly, the researchers there have minimal access to external research, which would certainly be a boon to medical and agricultural practices in the country
    (I'm into scientific diplomacy, alright)

    -Personally, I don't see Catalan or Scottish independence as actually occurring, but I wouldn't be surprised if we see greater Catalan autonomy in reaction to recent events. Given how the recent election has also invoked Occitan autonomy movements, perhaps a bit of decentralization in France, as well - though much less so than in Spain.

    -I see major African economies (Nigeria, EAF, South Africa) experimenting with a lot of infrastructure choices that are less used in developed nations. Scientific diplomacy and a lot of people working with innovative technologies love being in these countries, because - without the existing infrastructure, and in need of some sort of backbone - they tend to be much more willing to try out things like renewable energy technologies than other countries. This trend is probably similarly invoked, but to a smaller degree, in a lot of SE Asia, particularly Singapore, which has been actively trying to encourage biological and computer science research in particular.

    -The eternal malaria vaccine still remains "two years away," else someone has found the holy grail of medicine

    Will post more later, I had stuff I was thinking of but forgot in the process of writing

    EDIT: Also, I realize this is a bit premature, but I'm going to side with the stances that say Moore's Law runs out in the 2030s or 2040s. Doesn't mean the computers don't keep improving, just that the rate of progress drops off.
     
  20. Seon

    Seon Not An Evil Liar

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    I mean, Scottish independence happening is, I agree, very slim. My history professor who have travelled and taught extensively in the Iberian peninsula, including Catalonia, appears to believe that there is a real chance for Catalon autonomy due to the fact that it's significantly more well-off than the rest of Spain, which means that it can become economically self sufficient, unlike Scotland who will most likely still depend on the Bank of Emgland.
     

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