This scenario contains the widest range of possibilities in 2040, represented by the biggest cone. Although it is entirely possible, it is not the one we would like to see as the alternative to Scenario 5 (our preferred scenario). On the other hand, it is not even the worst scenario, which would have been the annihilation of all human life, or even all life on planet Earth. That would have been closer to George Orwell’s 1984 future when he said: “If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever”. In this scenario, at least Humanity still survives as a species and things may change for better. I will leave it to you to make your own conclusions.
Eurozone collapsed in 2026 because of a financial crisis bigger than in 2008 and an economic crisis that was caused by a sudden start of massive Technological Unemployment. That has caused a disintegration of the EU. The former EU shrunk to 9 members – Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxemburg, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Austria.
The crisis was exploited by Russia almost immediately. It made a series of conventional attacks alongside the border with the NATO countries, the Baltics, Poland (the Kaliningrad area), Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, the Ukraine and Moldova. Peace was reached only when NATO used small third generation nuclear weapons outside St. Petersburg, when Russia then pulled out its forces back into its own territory. Just a few months after peace was reached between NATO and Russia, a series of local nuclear wars erupted, encouraged partly by the first ever use of small nuclear weapons by NATO. There were several local nuclear wars carried out simultaneously between: India-Pakistan, Israel-Iran, China-India (because of Indian expansion in the Eastern Pacific). Chemical warfare was used on a massive scale in the Middle East, and Iran also used Anthrax in its war with Israel (quickly neutralized by Israel but causing Israel to drop several nuclear bombs on Iran).
These wars were stopped after a few weeks, negotiated by almost dysfunctional UN (a true miracle). Tens of millions of people died on the Indian sub-continent alone, not to mention (collateral damage) in the neighbouring countries). So, in principle it was not a global nuclear war, but the whole world was contaminated with radiation that 12 years after the conflict is still 3 times higher in some places than normal. The places most densely populated now are southern Iceland and New Zealand, as both were relatively away from direct nuclear radioactive fallouts.
Most food is heavily radiated but people have no option – they have to eat to survive. Poverty has reached unprecedented levels all around the world. The best region for food is South America.
The World GDP fell to 1975 level. Some local conventional wars are still going on, this time in Africa. People in Europe are dying of radiation and famine. Diplomacy hardly exists. It is a total chaos and despair although Humanity has survived…for now.
The only good news is that Oslo, in Norway, has become the centre of a new organization, intended to replace the UN. In its initial proposal, signed up by the USA, Russia, China and all the European countries, it was agreed that there will be a Security Council consisting of 30 countries that would vote on a qualified majority principle (population size plus GDP). But the most important proposal (not signed yet) is to set up the World’s Army that would replace all national armies. It will be dispersed throughout the world and consist of all nationalities. Gradually, the proposal says, the size of the army will be reduced. There will be no national armies, and all nuclear, chemical and biological arsenals of all countries will be dismantled or neutralized. Perhaps the world has learnt a very painful lesson.
For comparison I enclose a summary of the closest scenario produced by the European Commission in their document “Global Europe in 2050” called ‘EU Under threat: a fragmented Europe’ (European_Commision, 2012).
“This scenario envisages a global economic decline, with protectionist reactions, the subsequent increase in transaction costs and increasingly congested infrastructures. A range of serious geopolitical risks emerge including possible low-intensity conflicts – civil wars, nuclear conflicts and the radicalization of governments in advanced democracies. The EU heads towards disintegration, triggered by the possible withdrawal of one or more leading Member States and the emergence of two or more speeds of development and integration within the Union. Climate change and its implications are not addressed. Food and oil shocks materialize. Major energy supply disruptions and failures of the different European grid(s) system(s) are becoming more probable due to heavy underinvestment in the renovation of these. The failure of Europe to implement sound research policies leads to a reduction in the pace of innovation. Productivity gains diminish progressively until 2050 within the EU, also compared to the Nobody cares scenario. Unlike Europe, the rest of the world and especially the emerging markets reap their potentials to economic growth, so that the rest of the world continues to keep a relatively strong developmental pace.”
Next: Scenario 3