Peter MaurerPresident, International Committee of the Red Cross
Peter Maurer was appointed Switzerland’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations in 2004. Starting in January 2010, Maurer ran the Swiss Department of Foreign Affairs, which operates 150 Swiss diplomatic missions worldwide. In 2012, he became president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, an organization that conducts humanitarian work in over 80 countries.
Who will run the world?
More responses to Who will run the world?
There won’t be one single dominant world leader. Instead, global governance will be pluralistic—states, multinational companies, megacities, and civil society organizations will all need to negotiate and share power. But plurality will not necessarily mean everyone will have a voice; exclusion of individuals and groups has been a key challenge of the last 50 years, and it may well be a challenge for the next decades, despite hyperconnectivity. Moreover, governance may well be organized around issues rather than around states, organizations, and institutions.
Which country will have the most powerful economy?
More responses to Which country will have the most powerful economy?
It’s unlikely that traditional measures of economic power per country, like GDP, will still be relevant. The basis of power will have shifted. New criteria determining influence and status will emerge, like achievements in social and environmental goods. Sustainability, justice, the use of resources, or human development will be important indicators. Also, actors other than countries—cities in particular—will be more prominent centers of power.
What kinds of companies will be the most important?
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The ones that have not yet been imagined, let alone created.
What will cause the biggest conflicts?
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While I hope there will be fewer armed conflicts, I can well imagine that growing injustice, scarcity of resources, and the transformation of the natural environment will create tensions between communities. Mitigating the impact of conflict on communities, and thus, humanitarian work, will remain a challenge.
How will people earn a living?
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The coexistence of different models of value and revenue creation will become more visible than today.
How will we communicate with each other?
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Despite radical technological advances, we will cycle back to value person-to-person contact. We will see that friendship, compassion, and solidarity amongst human beings and communities of concern cannot be replaced by virtual means.
How will we entertain one another?
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With storytelling, as we have over the past thousands of years.
What will we eat?
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Hopefully tasty, healthy, and natural foods compatible with the imperatives of sustainability.
How will we die?
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Certainly not in a uniform way. Those who die in conflict, barring a radical transformation in how wars are waged, are likely to be innocent civilians. A century ago, those killed in battle were soldiers. Now—and in the future, I fear—ordinary women, men, and children will overwhelmingly be the majority of victims.
How will we find love?
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By having an open heart.
What kinds of stories will we tell?
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Stories of suffering, sacrifice, and compassion. People will continue to be fascinated by our shared human experience, and continue to be drawn to tragedy and hope, laughter, and sadness.
What will cities be like?
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Cities will be centers of vibrant and stimulating exchanges. Urban centers will, unfortunately, also be the frontlines of conflict. The flattened cities of Mosul, Taiz, and Homs may be precursors of more impactful destruction in the future.
What will our borders be like?
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Physical border controls will be less important than today, as people will instead be monitored, tracked, and controlled by virtual means.
Will our world be more equal or less equal?
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Sadly, less equal. The paradox of progress we see today will have widened. Some parts of the world will be healthier, better educated, better connected, and wealthier than ever; other parts will remain broken by fragility, violence, and a lack of development.
What’s your best prediction for the world in 50 years?
More responses to What’s your best prediction for the world in 50 years?
I would like to predict that the International Committee of the Red Cross will have closed because wars will have ceased, and humanitarian aid and protection will not be needed. But the past 100 years or more of warfare makes this seem unlikely. I expect technology to play an increasing role in war: cyber attacks, AI, nanotechnologies, combat robots, and laser weapons.