The “State of the Future” is a comprehensive annual overview of the present global situation and prospects for humanity. It integrates forecasts, trends, and judgments of thought leaders and scholars from around the world, sharing important future possibilities to improve strategies today.
Good and bad news
The report shows that the world is improving more than most pessimists realize. For example:
- People around the world are becoming healthier, wealthier, better educated, more peaceful, increasingly connected, and living longer.
- Child mortality rate has dropped 47% since 1990, extreme poverty in the developing world fell from 50% in 1981 to 21% in 2010, primary school completion rates grew from 81% in 1990 to 91% in 2011, only one transborder war occurred in 2013.
- Nearly 40% of humanity is connected via the Internet, and life expectancy has increased 10 years over the past 20 years to reach 70.5 years today.
However, the report also warns that water tables are falling on all continents, intrastate conflicts and refugees are increasing, glaciers are melting, income gaps are increasingly obscene, coral reefs are dying, ocean acidity is increasing, ocean dead zones have doubled every decade since the 1960s, half the world’s topsoil is destroyed, youth unemployment has reached dangerous proportions, traffic jams and air pollution are strangling cities, $1–1.6 billions annually are paid in bribes, organized crime gets twice the money per year than all the military budgets combined, and half the world is potentially unstable.
“The explosive, accelerating growth of knowledge in a rapidly changing and increasingly interdependent world gives us so much to know about so many things that it seems impossible to keep up. At the same time, we are flooded with so much trivial news that serious attention to serious issues gets little interest, and too much time is wasted going through useless information.”