What will the world be like in 2050? Which countries will be the dominant forces? And what about our resources? The World in 2050, written by Laurence Smith, predicts the answers to all of these questions and more by acting as a Thought Experiment.

world_in_2050_bookcover.jpgIn this thought experiment, Smith examines four global forces “that have been busily shaping our 2050 world for tens to hundreds of years:”

  • demography
  • humans’ growing demand of natural resources, services, and the gene pool of our planet
  • globalization
  • climate change

According to Smith’s book, all lands and oceans located 45 degrees N latitude or higher will undergo an alteration—“making them a place of increased human activity, higher strategic value, and greater economic importance than today.” (For good and ill) Labeled as the “New North,” this area currently comprises eight countries: United States, Canada, Iceland, Greenland (Denmark), Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia.

One of the really cool things about this book is the chapter titles—take for example Martell’s Hairy Prize. And, each opening to a chapter is told with such an interesting narrative. This isn’t just a bunch of pages filled with numbers.

What I especially find interesting is the book’s take on our looming water crisis. As I have long feared an outbreak of destructive wars over this source of vitality, which every living being needs. The World in 2050 offers a solution to this problem that I had never before considered. I’ll give you a hint so that you can find out for yourself: The water crisis is also about information.

You may not agree with everything in this book. But, I’ll tell you one thing. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the importance of Smith’s last question addressed to himself and his readers: “What kind of world do we want?”

Note: The World in 2050 was originally published in 2010