, pub-9294893883853578, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 How the world could change in 2021 || World in 2021

How the world could change in 2021 || World in 2021

The big questions for the year 2021 are

Do we put Covid-19 behind us?

Get an economic rebound and a return to normality?

Does Joe Biden, in a sense, return America to normality, as we perceived it before Donald Trump?

And finally, has Trump permanently changed the relationship between The United States and the west in general and China, and if so, what form will this new antagonism take as Beijing and Washington jostle for global influence?

How the world could change in 2021 || World in 2021

Here's what to expect in Asia in 2021.

The region will see more tension between China and its neighbors, potentially even involving limited armed conflict. A Biden administration will attempt to mend relations with China, while also rallying allies to address what many in Washington DC consider to be Beijing's bad behavior.

G7 will be D10?

One of the big geopolitical themes of this year is going to be the attempt to form a community of democracies spanning Europe, North America, and Asia. This will take concrete form when there's a summit of what's now becoming known as the D10, which is the original G7, plus three new members - Australia, South Korea, and India - significantly, all of them in  Asia.

This is a grouping that, more or less, explicitly is aimed at pushing back against the world's rising power and that's China.

It's an effort to stop China from really reconstructing the international system in ways that would suit an authoritarian one-party state.

We're going to see the continued emergence of the tripolar world, a world in which the US, Europe, and Asia are increasingly creating their own economic ecosystems, their own supply chains.

New trade agreements

How the world could change in 2021 || World in 2021

Maybe we'll see, ultimately, a new kind of transatlantic trade agreement, some coming together between the US and Europe on digital standards.

Both the EU and the US are now pushing back against the power of big tech.

There will be a major push on both sides to see if a new alliance can be made about how to regulate technology companies, how to tax digital trade, and,  basically, creating new rules of the road for the 21st-century economy.

That will be, in part, because both the US and Europe realize that China is going to be going it alone when it comes to tech and, increasingly, when it comes to supply chains.

Around the time of the US election, China announced that it wants to be free of western technology and supply chains by the year 2035. Also, China becomes the lead in a new Asian trade deal.

Japan becoming close to China

Japan moving a little bit closer to China in a new way. So we're not resetting to globalization circa the early 1990s, but we're really moving into a new world in which we won't see total fragmentation, but neither will you see a return to the kind of globalization. A new and truly independent nation.

Future of British

The year 2021 will mark, Britain's efforts to convince itself and convince the world that the country really does have a bright future outside the European Union.

There are those, both in the UK and outside, who worry that Britain is going to drift into a downward economic spiral, become increasingly inward-looking and irrelevant.

Boris Johnson is going to try to prove them wrong, and he's lucky in one sense,  which is that the UK is going to be chairing two very important international meetings. The climate change, the UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, and  Britain will also be chairing the G7.

Britain will attempt to seize that dual opportunity to show to the world that it remains an internationally engaged, relevant, and important country.


Africa's response to the pandemic in 2020 was surprisingly strong. The continent recorded a relatively modest 57,000 official deaths, but the impact of the pandemic will linger in 2021.

Some vaccines will get to African countries this year, but not enough. Travel restrictions, testing, and quarantine are likely to remain. That will be hard on countries that rely on tourism, like South Africa and Kenya.

The economic recovery will be uneven. Big economies like South Africa, Angola, and, above all, Nigeria will continue to struggle. Smaller and relatively diversified economies, such as Senegal, Ghana, and  Rwanda may bounce back quicker as global demand recovers.

There's a busy election calendar in Africa in 2021, amid signs that democracy has slipped backward in much of the continent.

More problems for India

In India, we are likely to see more worrying outbursts as hardline Hindu nationalist leader, Narendra Modi, continues to target the country's large Muslim minority. Also, the people of India are not very happy about the policies the BJP government is making. 

Other countries

Coronavirus hit Latin America hard. Countries like Mexico, Peru, and Argentina suffered higher death rates than almost anywhere else in the world relative to the size of their populations. And the economic hit was huge, too.

The IMF has forecast that the region won't recover fully until at least the end of  2022. So 2021 will be all about Latin America's struggle to recover. 

The region was already suffering numerous pre-existing conditions before the virus struck - high inequality, poor healthcare, weak government, and feeble economic growth. Policymakers and academics are now calling for Latin  America to build back better.

On a happier note, the delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo will almost certainly go ahead, although possibly without the large audiences of previous years. Despite deep recessions in most places, stock markets are ending the year at record highs. Expect stock prices, especially of hot tech companies, to keep rising as long as super-easy monetary conditions remain.

By the middle of the year, we hope that most of the developed world and large parts of the developing world will have been in receipt of vaccines, and people will be able to go back to the way things were in most respects. They'll go back to the office, they'll go back to work, they'll go back to things like live entertainment, theatre, football matches, and so on.

But there must be some questions - firstly, about the economic scarring that's left behind - many economies are in very bad shape - and secondly, whether people's ways of life will have changed permanently, that they'll have discovered new ways of interacting with each other, which actually won't go away once the coronavirus has disappeared.

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