superpower

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And The Winner Is...

Which nations to keep your investments in
Friday, May 13, 2016, 8:20 PM

Executive Summary

  • The Sole Superpower
  • The Importance of factoring in External Costs
  • The Biggest Loser
  • Which nations to keep your investments in

If you have not yet read Which Countries Will Be Tomorrow's Winners & Losers?, available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we examined the thesis that geography and demographics largely define a nation’s destiny.

In Part 2 here, we add other potentially game-changing factors that don’t necessarily fit neatly into either category.

Oh, No: America, The Sole Superpower?

Many of those who disagree with America’s military-interventionist foreign policy of the past 15 years will naturally be appalled by any analysis that suggests America’s preeminence is only going to become even more dominant as the rest of the world is destabilized by the inter-connected dynamics driving global disorder.

The good news is Zeihan sees America becoming much less interventionist as it withdraws into greater self-sufficiency—a topic I’ve discussed in previous essays on autarky. (What If Nations Were Less Dependent on One Another? The Case for Autarky (January 2014))

In Zeihan’s view, America’s preeminence is based on its unparalleled assets of geography and more favorable demographics than its competitors. Zeihan sees the U.S.A’s energy resources, dual-ocean buffers, lack of contiguous-border competitors/enemies, culture of innovation and impressive pool of domestic and foreign capital as an unbeatable combination that no other aspirant to superpower status can match.

In his analysis, the intrinsic weaknesses of other nations and alliances such as the Eurozone have been papered over by the flood of capital that has saturated the global economy for the past 20 years.  The source of this ocean of capital is.... » Read more

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Who Will Be Tomorrow's Superpower?

The geo-political map is set to change. Is the world ready?
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 11:15 AM

There’s a popular geopolitical parlor game called Who will be the next superpower?

While the game excels at triggering a mind-fogging tsunami of nationalistic emotions, it doesn’t shed much light on the really consequential question: What is power?

These are important questions to ponder as, around the world, unsustainable policies from the 20th century are beginning to fail in earnest. What will the future geopolitical landscape look like in their aftermath? » Read more

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Who Will Dominate This Century?

Which country(ies) are best positioned to exert themselves?
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 11:14 AM

Executive Summary

  • The key requirements for being a word power
  • Is the "superpower" model sustainable in today's age?
  • The key ability to leverage resources
  • Which country(ies) is most likely to dominate in this century?

If you have not yet read Who Will Be Tomorrow's Superpower? available free to all readers, please click here to read it first.

In Part 1, we surveyed the nature of power to explore the concept of superpowers.  In this Part 2, we look at power as the ability to solve problems.

What Are the Available Resources?

Solving problems in the real world is not an abstract project, though abstract concepts may undergird the solutions. In the real world, we have to use whatever resources are available, with an eye on cost, scale and sustainability.

Alternative energy offers a useful example. Almost everyone agrees that alternatives to fossil fuels would be beneficial, but what is generally overlooked is the tiny scale of alternatives in the current scheme of things.  Depending on what’s being included as alternative (hydropower, etc.), alternative energy sources currently comprise a few percentage points of total energy consumption.

To scale alternatives up to even 50% of current consumption will require not just a monumental amount of capital investment; it also requires the invention and manufacture of new systems of energy storage on an equally vast scale.

As has been noted many times, this capital investment includes an extended period of fossil fuels consumption, as we need huge amounts of energy to construct alternative sources and storage systems. Some have characterized this as building an aircraft in the air while keeping your current aircraft aloft.

As Peak Prosperity members know well, capital has a variety of forms, all of which work together: financial, intellectual, social, human, cultural and symbolic. All these forms of capital must be... » Read more