Great Power Nations of the 2050s

Great powers has been a designation given to countries since the time of Napoleon. This is for countries that have have military and economic strength and diplomatic and soft power influence.

Italy has ranked as a great power since 2000. Italy seems like the weakest of the nations classified as great powers. Italy has a population of about 55 million and a nominal GDP of about $2 trillion. Italy spends about $26 billion each year on its military. Italy dropped out of great power status at the end and after WW2 but was considered a great power at the start of WW2.

Canada could pass Italy in nominal GDP around 2025. Canada spends about $22 billion per year on its military and this will be increased. Canada has a population of 38.2 million and should reach 40 million in 2023 and 50 million in 2040.

South Korea has a population of 52 million and a GDP of $1.6 trillion. South Korea has a $44 billion per year military budget.

India is already past Italy in population, nominal GDP and military spending.

Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam, Philippines, Nigeria and Turkey should pass Italy in nominal GDP and military budgets.

Australia should reach 40 million people by 2048 and with higher per capita income should also pass Italy.

There would be around 20 nations in the Great Power category unless the bar was raised from Italy. The Great Power threshold could increase to the level of France. France has a nominal GDP of $2.6 trillion, a population of 65 million and an annual military budget of $42 billion.

In 2050, the US will have a population of about 380 million which is up from 333 million today. Canada and Australia will have a combined 100 million people which will increase their share relative to the US from 19% to 26%.

Canada should match the level of France in GDP around 2050.

There is clearly three tiers to the Great Power list.
The USA and China are in the top tier.
Japan and Germany are tier two at around $4-5 trillion GDP economies now and heading to $5-6 trillion in 2025.
France, UK, India and Italy are third tier at $1.85 trillion to $2.6 trillion now and heading to $2.4 to $4 trillion in 2025.

Canada and South Korea will pass Italy before 2030. India might move up to the level of Japan and Germany by 2030.

The long term forecasts for India, Mexico, Russia and Brazil seem likely to overestimate what will actually happen.

SOURCES- Wikipedia
Written By Brian Wang,

64 thoughts on “Great Power Nations of the 2050s”

  1. Most people reading this may be too young to recall, but in the 1980's it was commonly predicted (and perhaps feared) that Japan would soon economically dominate the entire planet. That does sound familiar today, with only the country's name changed.
    The 160+ million internal migrant workers that helped drive their economic expansion are disappearing. Also, the number of people over 60 will nearly double between now and 2030, while each new generation is enormously smaller than the preceding one. So much for cheap labor. And an awful lot of this new, more expensive, labor is going to be needed to care for an exploding number of old people especially as, with the one-child rule in effect for over 30 years, a great many of them won't have any family members to take care of them.
    If it is not clear, India would be ahead of them in population even sooner, were it not for old people living longer. Old people that once fueled the enormous economic expansion, now becoming a crushing liability against future growth. In a demographic sense, they burned all their coal, failed to prospect for any more, are now starting to choke in the ashes, and this is only the beginning.

  2. The Chinese population’s life expectancy has improved at an unprecedented rate. It has risen from around 40 to a number equivalent to more developed countries in about 60 years.
    Yet, for over a decade, the average number of children per couple has been around .5. In 2018 it was .38 percent, and .33 percent in 2019. Who knows about 2020? Replacement numbers are considered to be 2.3. University admissions, once extremely competitive, are falling.
    China's enormous growth in the past few decades has been due primarily to a very large and inexpensive work force and, to a lesser degree, a world market that is so hungry for cheap goods it is willing to ignore many atrocious things, like the genocide being conducted against the Ulgar, the harvesting of organs from political dissidents, rampant state-sponsored intellectual property theft, and the ruthless destruction of Tibetan society, as well as the ecological disaster they create in many places, including the South China Seas, where they bury entire ecologies so they can project force with missile platforms to intimidate their neighbors.
    Oh, and 20 to 30 million men will never find wives (another atrocity behind that), and could become a source of huge unrest. For several decades, the government's legitimacy has rested on rapid economic progress. A slowing of that will create challenges for the government to remain in power. Indeed, China may be lucky to only fall into a kind of stagnation equivalent to Japan's.

  3. Yes, that 9% accounts for change in currency. Given that the U.S. is massively printing our way out of the Covid mess, 3-4% change in currency value per year is plausible.

  4. The acceleration of telecommuting due to Covid make sit look like future infrastructure will be much more focused on moving electrons than people.
    Measuring progress by miles of road is already obsolete, especially in dense urban areas where the car must be replaced with mass transit. This applies to every megacity on the planet, numbering 33 so far, and loosely defined as having at least 10m people, or density thereof, like NYC:
    Of course, if we are really going to be working from home in large numbers in the future, even past Covid, which is an overblown risk for most people, but not for essential workers who can't work from home, then what are large cities good for anyway? All the things that make them attractive involve crowds and are more-or-less shut down, making large cities unsustainable.

  5. Yeah. But does an individualist car culture with reduced commuting volumes and minimal vacation weeks really need/ want to build much 'connectivity' infrastructure anymore? Have roadtrip miles increased? Do people take long-haul trains who are not carrying weapons, crazy, or other? I'm trying to imagine where development and engineering could really open up – a few more Las Vegas' around in interesting places – off shore, mountaintop, underwater; creating reserves of 'superNature' – experimental ecosystems of monster trees, interesting wildlife; maybe some vacation/ residential/ research islands off of florida or san diego; perhaps (and i'm not getting eco-wienie here) but some attractive off-shore developments that may model possible sea-rise opportunities/ breakers for living, making power, and redefining the shore line in attractive ways – slowly making their way up the coasts. Maybe some areas could do with widening, Big Dig'ging, a few extra road/ bridge connectors up in Alaska, Colorado, and Utah, but can we be a bit more adventurous civil-eng-wise…?

  6. No doubt, it got out of the war better than the world average,
    and alot better than one of the big winners, the Soviet Union.
    After 1943, she was protected from mass starvation in the
    North by the RSI alliance with Germany, and from Hamburg
    style carpet bombing by the Kingdom of South alliance with
    US and UK. (There were hunger and bombings, though.)
    But here the discussion was about the status of Great Power.

  7. Oh yes, the Spanish had a number of technological advantages over the Vikings, most definitely including their ships.

  8. This 'offworldism' can indeed have a cult-like following. But do not mistake the potential real-world outcomes with mere cultist fantasies. We physically can go to space and eventually learn to live there, even if it's more difficult than we thought.

    It's like the more recent Singularitarianism. Despite its Rapture overtones, it at least served to bring the disruptions of technology into public discourse, despite of not actually predicting the future (so far).

  9. 'You are against child and baby abuse, right?' Right, and I can't think of anything much crueler to a kid than trying to raise it in an ersatz attempt at a substitute Earth. I also think that 'offworldism' is a modern version of religious 'pie in the sky, by and by'. There's nothing to do in space that couldn't be done more effectively by a machine than a person, and any space habitat could only provide, at great expense, what Earth gives for free, abundantly. When I first read 'The High Frontier', I hadn't seen much of the world, and thought it quite interesting. Since then, I've flown a hang glider across the Columbia river, and over a hundred miles of wheatfields, at cloudbase. I've watched sunrise on the Himalayas. I've dived the Barrier reef. I saw a rainstorm move in across the hills today, after a perfect morning. You can't do that stuff in a hab.

  10. I think the Spanish caravels were a technology advance on the Viking longships. They had three masts, instead of one that could be lowered, lateen sails as well as square, and used a central rudder instead of a steering paddle to starboard. They couldn't be rowed, or reverse direction, but they sailed much closer into wind.

  11. I am sure it usu is not, talk therapy in particular. Primal Science is most easily seen as *demonstrated* by the epigenetic changes that are common, and have been documented for 50 years. This is not the core of the science, but certainly a clear experimental result, undeniable. As ACEs, childhood PTSD/epigenetics, etc are growing to Primal conclusions, before being able to do the experiment, the time is ripe for the Primal Revolution. You are against child and baby abuse, right?

  12. Well, there is the "kill everyone in a space habitat" problem, which more habs beyond hab Earth seems clearly to help fix, and the separate mental health problem, which abundance *should* solve as far as stress reduction can, but as you say, there is more going on here! Primal Science is known thru "some psychotherapy approach", but the lessons have to do with birth procedures and such, and understanding addiction, such as power addiction, our topic. Power addicts get more dangerous over time, as their tech *improves*. Once understood, the System must be destroyed. Janov and O'Neill are the esoteric and exoteric sides of the future.

  13. No, these problems will be theirs as well.

    If we want to take humans to space, we will be taking our follies and defects with us too.

    You affirm some psychotherapy approach can help. Sure, the same as several other approaches to human mental health, which seem to lie on the assumption that you care about yours or someone's mental health. Wondering about it is the first step towards health.

    And that (caring about their citizens mental health) they will have to do, very seriously.

  14. I've wondered a few times how things would have developed if the Vikings had found a metal-tool-less civilization with heaps of gold and silver to plunder in Eastern Canada.

    Because let's face it, the Vikings knew ALL about that particular activity. A lot more than 1490s Spanish, probably.

    All of a sudden, the barbarians from the North are now rich, with a huge transatlantic trade going on. And like the Spanish, they start with the silver, then start grabbing the high value crops (Maple Syrup?) and settlement proceeds.

  15. Zeihan seems to have a solid analysis of trends and pressures. He isn't quite so good on timing and whether things will actually happen.

    The most blatant example being his repeated claim that Russia would be forced to reconquer Easter Europe before 2019. Because the combination of their demographic trajectory and their geography meant they had no choice but to grab a more defensible border while they still had the manpower.
    Sounds logical, but… that timeframe has past. In the time since he made the prediction they… started an intervention in Syria.

  16. I'm no expert, so I'll just point back to Zeihan – he thinks there's a lot of interesting changes coming – as in "Living in interesting times".

  17. I notice more realization that people are insane. The Primal Scream was published 50 years ago. Right on schedule!

  18. You have described our current situation on spaceship Earth. Time to create millions of rotating O'Neill habs to fix this situation. Even Musk sees the problem, but has the planet solution.

  19. You are thinking of the first step, extraction, and using Space Solar on Earth to make that easier, on Earth. But the mfg of the extracted stuff is far easier in Space, much only possible in 0 g once we find out how good THAT is. I've heard Gold is good for street paving.

  20. Just read two articles in another blog, both featuring Space Solar as a major recommended thing to do now! A mere 40+ years after O'Neill and I did! With tech avail at that time!

  21. Kind of agree. However I think it’s important to differentiate nations from ruling regimes, which broadly include the coalitions of economic, political, religious and military power-freaks that “run” countries, including the so called developed democracies. National identity for these folks is a tool of control in their goal of maintaining and increasing power. Yeah, there are also do-gooders out there, but in today’s world there seem to be more just pure power-lovers than in the recent past. Just off the top of my head Poland, Hungary, Brazil, Philipines, Turkey, not to mention Russia, “Belarus”, Iran, North Korea, Syria, the Stans, Vietnam, China AND the good old USA. Who can even list the ones in Africa, Central and South America? These regimes aren’t going to give way to celebrity tracking on Instagram.

  22. Looking at the causes of bridge collapses I have not seen any as a result of "crumbling" due to age.
    In fact, what I see are a lot of failures due to "repair" teams doing stupid things, tankers catching fire under the bridges, and barges crashing into pillars. Earthquakes, floods, and a tornado took out bridges.
    OK. Tabulated all the bridge collapses in the US from the start of 2000:

    Flood/Storm Surge: 5 bridge collapses.
    Fuel tanker (generally with fire weakening bridge): 4
    Construction Accident/Construction Stupidity: 4
    Barge Collision: 2
    Absurd weight beyond design: 2 (both were several times beyond design)
    Oversized load clipped girder: 2
    Demolition Accident: 2
    Construction flaw: 1
    Ship Collision: 1
    Train Collision: 1
    Stream Meander: 1
    Landslide: 1
    Arson of construction materials under bridge: 1

    No crumbling due to advanced deterioration! In fact, if you get hundreds of crews out there strengthening the bridges there is a good chance we will damage bridges or drop stuff on cars killing people.

    No. We need more lanes, and more new highways. We need to get the heavy freight back on rail and off the trucks. We need road tunnels through the hills and mountains. We need snow sheds over the highways in the areas where that gets dangerous…ideally partly transparent. We need concrete roads with same thickness as highways where we have asphalt but is very busy. Repairing asphalt over and over is silly. Semi trailers need to have suspension that prevents bouncing.

  23. "Crumbling" US infrastructure is just a charge Democrats use to try to get more squandering on union labor pretending to fix what is not broken. Our infrastructure is not crumbling. The highways all look pretty good and most of the bridges, despite what they say.
    The problem is that we don't build much anymore…mostly because the public has had it with union ripoff construction. We need genuine market level construction wages rather than "prevailing wage" nonsense. There is also very little creative thinking in transportation at the government level. Just more of the same and that is all blocked by decades of environmental/NIMBY stuff holding up every project. The Democrats suck up to the environmentalists and NYMBYs so they just try to fund spit and polish on existing stuff at lawyer rates…nothing new.
    However, other than China, no one has even close to the length of either Expressway or Rail. We have more expressway than the entire EU. Even roads in general we have 6,853,024 km while the EU has 6,250,547 km, and China has 5,012,500 km.
    The Dems and the unions claim 50,000 bridges are crumbling. Just by chance, several bridges should collapse every year if they are as bad as claimed. Yet most of the time a bridge fails, it is because of bad design, construction or inspection or natural disaster, like a flood or an earthquake. Stuff rusting out is because of poor maintenance by people well paid to maintain it. Proper roads, tunnels, & bridges should last 500+ years.

  24. I don't think it will work exactly like that. What I see is not the massive return of ore from space or refined metals returned from space. Though it may start out that way. What I see instead is autonomous mining and burrowing technologies in space being employed on Earth to dramatically reduce costs of ore extraction here. And that will reduce the amount sent from space. They will still mine vigorously in space but for building in space. Just as water is more valuable outside Earth's gravity well, so is just about everything else. There will be exceptions: stuff for collectors of space rocks and such, and stuff for museums and scientists, and perhaps some rare isotopes, for electronics or advanced materials.
    And, in fact, I see the return of gold and platinum as a waste of resources. We don't use these materials much. Most of it is used as glorified paper weights in heavy metal boxes. That is not to say that these things can't very useful, just that we are idiots with these metals. Gold should be in peoples' molars, not their safe deposit boxes…silver in their electronics… Though, I admit, only 42% of gold is used as bars, coins and such. Still, as jewelry, it is almost pointless as well, as substitutes are easy to make. Jewelry is 49%. 
    Dentistry is only 1%. Electronics 8%. And how much jewelry does one really need?

  25. I made a comment, but I don't see it. Oh well. 
    The projection is not realistic having no country overtake any other in 5 years.
    I expect South Korea, India, and Mexico to do better than these projections and Germany, Russia, and possibly Japan to do worse. I also think that the gap between the US and China will shrink less, but in terms of PPP per capita, China will accelerate.
    I expect a relative fall of Germany because they earn a lot from the export of Diesel and gasoline cars. But the World is going to increasingly want electric cars. The expensive electric rates also makes manufacturing of vehicles and other metal products more expensive. The price of chemicals is also adversely affected. And they are an old 47.1 years ave.
    Russia I see struggling because I see oil prices dropping, as natural gas, and renewables displace oil burning electrical production all over the world, and as other countries begin to frack. Russia has failed to use oil profits to move into other areas of production. Sure there is some military goods, but there are quite a few competitors there and as the world gets richer, they will want higher-end weapons such as those made in the US and Europe. And that also means used weapons will saturate even the third World markets.
    South Korea will do well because their engineering is very competitive resulting in quality products at competitive prices. They also have a lean and effective healthcare system. India, Mexico, & Nigeria have youth energy.

  26. Yes, if we don't find an incentive for outwards expansion, such expansion can halt and lose its general appeal, until the conditions change, technology improves and the road is opened for a lot more people.

    Nevertheless let's notice that in general, what we need to keep the interest up on a new territory, is just awareness of the place existing, a way to go there for regular people (those that aren't intrepid explorers) and some ways for them to make a family and prosper.

    The Vikings failed to settle North America because the trips they did and the places they went were just warrior sagas that remained known only within the few tribes that dared the trip, and this for a long while, and because the trip itself was a perilous adventure, that is, very hard and unpredictable for taking their families there.

    This has some interesting parallels with the upcoming situation, because we can't call a place "settled" until the conditions for raising a family and grow our numbers exist.

    Antarctica isn't "settled" because of that very reason. Even if there are families and kids over there from time to time, they are just a temporary feature given they can't remain and live all their lives there, expecting to grow in numbers and prosper. Mostly due to geopolitical reasons.

  27. I've just read some articles from a 70s futurism magazine, talking about space colonies.

    They were clearly surfing the wave of optimism initiated by Gerard K. O'Neill. Predicting how a new society would emerge from the old one in the rotating space colonies, transformed into generous, meritocratic, and devoid of greed (but not of desire of accomplishment) by the sudden abundance of space and resources and a rational upbringing and education.

    In sum: an utopic view of what rational secularism (what mainstream western culture embraced before post-modernism arrived to rot it) can achieve if given freedom from the plagues of superstition and material misery we suffer.

    Problem is, and experience has proven this again and again, even if most humans are mostly OK, the small minority that aren't can spoil the fun for all the rest.

    A single terrorist can put a bomb in a critical system and kill everyone in a space habitat. The same for a suicidal loon. And both are problems with the 'software' in our bodies. The first is a malicious one, the other one is just broken.

    As long as these statistical outliers exist, they will have this deleterious effect on any human enterprise.

    The magazine in question:

  28. So you're saying that the survival of space colonies would be hanging on a knife edge at all times, and that the colony's government would have to keep very tight control over their information, to preserve their 'mental and cultural health' – doesn't sound much like the rich, free space nirvana Dan keeps promising us. But true, of course. Anywhere you are on Earth, there are tons of any element you could need within a few kilometres – all you need is energy and knowledge to access them. (As we know, matter is energy, so no problem there.) The biological systems keeping you alive have evolved over four billion years, with an immense inertia, giving us time to correct the ignorant assaults we've made on them. In your orbiting, spinning hab, your existence is dependant, second by second, on engineered systems that have never existed at scale, let alone being tested on planetary scale for millenia. Mental health would indeed be a problem. Even a life prisoner is supposed to get an hour a day to see the sky, but these guys would just have a void to look at , and that through meteor-proof glass.

  29. Considering the growing backlash against China's IP theft, unbalanced trade practices, aggression towards its neighbors and ongoing human rights abuses I think that even that estimate is pretty optimistic. They would have to greatly develop their domestic market to have a hope of keeping up the growth rate. Cheap contract manufacturing is already fleeing to other countries.

  30. Point of order. Relatively speaking, Italy was economically more
    powerful around 1992, when it ranked fifth in nominal GDP, behind
    US, Japan, Germany and France. During ww2, its contribution to
    the war effort was laughable, since it had only half the GDP per
    capita of Germany, half the population, and never devoted more
    than 20% of GDP on military spending.

  31. I keep worrying that we are looking at Norway in 982, not Spain in 1492.

    The available tech only lets us reach frozen, uneconomic areas that can't pay for themselves.

  32. And it will be much less amenable to violent solutions, because space settlements are by their very nature, very fragile.

    One could argue that a big part of the peace between modern nations since WW2 is due to the fact that Industrial nations are also very fragile.

    As recently at the late 1930s, it was argued (by insane people, but the arguments weren't laughed out of the beer halls) that you could conquer a European country, and the vast majority of the wealth would be sitting there in the form of rich farmland that you could then take over.

    By say 1950 it was clear that the majority of the value in a modern industrialized country was the complex network of roads/rail/power supplies/factories/trading networks/communications and the coordinated daily efforts of all the skilled and educated people who operated it all. And that means if you fight a world war over the territory… then that all gets broken and you need to pour a couple of $trillion into rebuilding it.

    Unless the conquered territory was completely overwhelmed and surrendered without fighting over most of the territory (France, Hong Kong) then you end up taking control over an money pit rather than a money box.

  33. "the Asteroid belt which once we hit that all the great orbital colonies will be possible" "You just are not going build such flying the mass off earth or moon." I agree with you in the practical/political big picture, but think that you have missed the basic point of O'Neill. At any scale(!) the surface of a planet is not . . . Please see Al Globus at nss dot org for small starter O'Neill habs, there is no reason to settle Moon. Forget Mars. NEO/TCO materials will get us going, then the rest is easy. In Space.

  34. "That is not even going to consider off world colonies" indeed! We humans will get all excited over far distant things that are *possible* while being bored with the things that are *work*, can be done now. Do Space Solar NOW!

  35. Indeed. Space settlement in free floating habitats will occur in 3 dimensions and it's potentially much bigger than any other kind of expansion we've ever seen, certainly much bigger than any past land ownership claims.

    And it will be much less amenable to violent solutions, because space settlements are by their very nature, very fragile. Their population will struggle to keep them working, and won't be looking for conflicts that can wreck them, but they' ll look for mutually beneficial solutions and exchange. The true era of Homo mercantilus.

    And besides any strife due to scarcity will be unnecessary. The Sun's energy radiates equally in all directions, the same as the resources floating in space on rocks around the Sun (well, mostly on the ecliptic plane, but you get what I mean).

    I think they will also be much more careful about their citizen's mental and cultural health, watching and controlling much more closely what they allow in their information spheres.

    A space settlement simply can't afford terrorism and nutters sabotaging the air and life systems for everyone.

  36. Yes, but that is a current events sort of outlook. I like the fact that economic activity seems more important, relatively, than the pure oppression of yore, but that could be a product of info flow, not desire or change of heart of power addicts. It does seem that O'Neill Space favors the less authoritarian systems, however, as the very "orbitory" (territory) is owned, not conquered. And, is expandable!

  37. Seems Brian is referring to their GDP, which may place these countries as equivalent of current "great powers".

    But many of them won't be aspiring to the same kind of political or military influence as the great powers of yore. The existing equilibrium of power (and nukes) would discourage the emergence of new military powers.

    It is easier for most to ally with others with such aspirations. The USA, China, Russia, Europe, etc. Yeah, Russia has nukes and it's not to be ignored.

  38. Space nations and their emergence are indeed an interesting topic.

    Personally I don't think we will see them in the short term (earlier than the mid to late 21th century). Building a nation requires allowing a couple of full generations of humans to be born, grow and live their lives in a place, and do so more or less autonomously, mostly with indigenous resources.

    We will probably see a handful of settlements in orbit, the Moon, for business/research and territorial claims a la McCMurdo, or from private investors (Musk's Mars cities), which will be more of a rich tourist attraction and research encampment than true space colonies.

    Even if they have some kind of governance rules, they will be all very dependent on Earth, for supplies and manpower.

    I don't believe they will allow permanent settlement in the short term, even if a few of their inhabitants might be foolish enough for trying having kids in a low g environment (and I think they'll regret it).

    We might see rotating habitats in the first half of this century, made from Earthly materials brought to space or from lunar/asteroid materials. Those can have full 1 g gravity and become actual "homes" for a legit spacer generation.

    From them true space nations may emerge one day. But as I said, that requires a couple of generations being born and grown there, and that won't be so soon.

  39. Agreed, new resources and new technologies define the great powers. Best example is marginal kingdom of Spain and the three ships that left the port in 1492.

  40. In the time frame referenced those are all non possible. However I do believe onece Starship starts pushing viable affordable bulk launch the 21centruy will suddenly look like the 16th with nations companies etc…. all racing to lay claim, exploit, expand their economic territorial realms into the solar system. I doubt we will see much new nations but maybe some smaller nations rise into power above their abilities by their possessions in the solar system.

    The main drivers will be the major powers US, China, EU group, Russia, India, Japan. The first 2 likely doing the vast majority of because they have both the resources, tech, populations best to exploit expand.

    The future looks bright. Personally I believe we will start with colonies on Moon Mars and then the Asteroid belt which once we hit that all the great orbital colonies will be possible because the sheer mass of materials needed to construct just one such will be available to be towed into the desired location and mined harvested. You just are not going build such flying the mass off earth or moon.

  41. One separator I am not seeing here is space commercialization. IMO countries with access to the literally astronomical levels of energy and materials involved in space commercialization are going to start pulling ahead by leaps and bounds. That is not even going to consider off world colonies and the eventual leverage they will bring to the table as well over the next century or so. Government space programs, outside of China, are mostly dead through political mismanagement and interference. However, private industry is about to take over with none of those self inflicted issues. I believe private companies in space over the next 50 years are going to determine a countries economic success or failure more than any other factor.

  42. "Are there not 5, 10, and 20-year station/ outpost/ commercial installation timelines?" There have been for over 40 years. Start now! As O'Neill said.

  43. "Great power". What a joke. Great repression. Great mental illness. Great neurosis. Great self humiliation. Great power addiction. See Janov for cure.

  44. Small communities might 'ride' Near Earth asteroids, trading every few years between themselves and with Earth as orbits align, with local specializations providing the motivation for trade.

    Such communities will not trade often enough to be anything but self-sufficient for basic life support needs (energy and recycling at least, probably basic food as well). So local manufacturing will likely focus on specialized products made from local resources for other communities and Earth, so exports have higher value. Exports to Earth may mostly be precious metals, which would simply be stored in orbital vaults rather than waste money bringing it down to Earth.

  45. Peter Zeihan suggests that with the US clearly trending toward far less global intervention to maintain the world order, other powerful nations will have little choice but to begin acting to protect their trade pipelines to markets and resources, and weak nations reliant on export may have to form alliances with them – essentially re-creating Great Powers. I suspect that won't be a huge problem within Europe, but if the US pulls out of the Gulf, let alone the South Pacific, things could get dicey – lots of continuing animosity between nations of those regions.

  46. Napoleon was a mass murderer, Julius Caesar before him as well.
    Do you want to be in the same league with them?
    I would not.

    I would not put the US in the top tier with China.
    China will pass the US as top economy in 2026 or so and will keep growing faster
    The USA is burdened by debt and with a crumbling infrastructure and decreasing supply chain

    Italy is a joke (a.k.a colony of the USA)

    Just saying


  47. 9% annual GDP growth for China for the next 5 years also seems a bit unlikely, assuming that final table is GDP in millions of dollars. It's growth in 2019 was around 6% and has been slowly declining for years. $20T is probably a generous estimate for 2025.

  48. …honestly way more interesting to discuss how an orbital 'community' of nation-/ company-/ industry-specific modules would form and function – like a river front community of various stations and craft? – loosely trading in a belt or clump. Perhaps mini-stations of 10+ each with various functions – needing or not needing to be in proximity, similar elevation, or orbit relative to earth's equator? Where would the first 20 go? Lagrange points, polar, cislunar, lunar… Orbital build-out planning – can't find much on it? Are there not 5, 10, and 20-year station/ outpost/ commercial installation timelines?

  49. Not convinced that Great Countries/ Empires will have much meaning in the coming decades, except as statistical curiosities. Perhaps if China or Russia or another autocratic-type country that prides itself on patriotism and solidarity-signalling accomplishes a special endeavour (first moon base, etc) there could be temporary focus on nation-states.
    Accomplishments are very company-, person-, or even industry/ field-based with constant flow of info, persons, and work internationally (or behind the scenes). Wealth, crime, productivity, regulations, etc., are becoming very standardized or non-controversial amongst the G-20 and similar. Even Olympics and international sports events seem to follow individuals and events rather than medal counts and nation rankings. Wars and isolated nation-specific conflicts also seem more faction- and religion-based than full-out border-defining blow-outs. More interested in knowing what countries fall apart or are partly annexed in the coming decades – UK with wales, scotland and NI? Southeast asia with whatever is down there by Burma/ Malaysia (and why is Laos still a thing?)? Anything that fringes on south-west china – Bhutan, Nepal, north India; or close to south-west Russia – Georgia and Azerbaijan and those bizarre '-Stans'. Do national boundaries in Africa even matter? – more about tribes and geographical features. Hoping that Charter Cities become widespread so wealth and opportunity grow without globalization's cultural sterilization.

  50. The Russian economy is almost entirely based on the export of oil and gas. Oil is only going to stay low, and maybe go lower. Plus the population is getting older with no immigration. No way is its economy going to grow like that.

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