1. The Slow Disengagement of China.
China is not going to collapse overnight. It is too powerful for that. But now you have to totally discount the mega growth that it was due for in the upcoming decades. The biggest issue is trust. You simply can’t believe China anymore over the pandemic that has totally shut down the world. Had they been honest from the beginning, they could have saved the whole world some blushes. China has been the supply chain of the world. Now that chain has been disrupted and countries will be forced to look locally or elsewhere for alternatives. Either way China will be the biggest loser. This comes right after the US trade war where China was already suffering.
2. The Fall of the European Union.
Brexit happened in 2016, but it dragged on till 2019 when the inevitable finally happened. Let’s say the EU cracked before the Covid-19 crisis. Now those cracks are wider. Open borders is highly unpopular. Forget the migrants outside the EU: The European countries are wary of even opening their borders with each other. The EU is supposed to work together and take all decisions together. But when faced with the biggest crisis of recent times, each constituent of the EU believes in doing its own and is acting accordingly. Will we have Brexit style movements in the 2020s?
3. The Irrelevance of UN-WHO.
The World Health Organization covered itself with egg when it first hinted that there was no harm in travelling to Wuhan or that masks were not important. Japanese Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso ranted that the WHO should be renamed Chinese Health Organization. US President Donald Trump has been against both the United Nations and WHO and is stopping funding for the latter. In the 2010s these global organizations saw a steady decline and the 2020s look more ominous.
4. The Decline of Globalism.
Go local is the mantra of 2020. That may well extend into the 2020s and beyond. Nationalism was on the rise in the 2010s. Apart from the ideologies, the global supply chain has proved to be a big pain. Every country will want to make its own closed supply chain based on essentials. Ideologically and practically nationalism seems to be gaining ground over globalism. We will see more of Make in _____ (whichever country you belong to) campaigns.
5. The End of Marxism.
UN and EU. Global trade treaties and power groups. Open borders. These are all Leftist ideologies which were on the decline but will decline further. Leftist parties like India’s Congress, UK’s Labour and America’s Democrats are in decay. The 2010s saw one of the best decades in ages for the Rightist parties and they will cement themselves further in the 2020s. The Leftist mainstream media continues its decline. The Leftist universities see its students weighed under the burden of student debt and defaults. They had been challenged by online education, which will grow stronger.
6. The Rise of India.
China was already been weighed down by an ageing population and the trade war with US when this happened. China’s loss is certain to be India’s gain. Only India has the size, population and potential to take over from China. By 2030, India will displace China as the country with the largest working population. The US-India ties will do well in things like technology. Recently India eased its Hydroxychloroquine exports and in return the US FDA granted concessions. In the 2010s India has made great strides in power, LPG, toilet connections, bank accounts and roads. This infrastructure burst will bode well for the 2020s.
7. The Rise of Work From Home.
WFH has been around for ages, but companies have been cautious in expanding it as much as possible and many employees also have been wary. 2020 has pushed everyone to the limit. The IT industry has gone out of its way to expand WFH infrastructure. Not everyone is going to return to office. Many people and many organizations will realize how many posts can be permanently WFHed. Collaboration tools will proliferate and the industry will flourish. Corporate foreign travel will reduce.
8. The Decline of Large Gatherings.
We already had hundreds of types of cold and flu viruses in the last century. Then we had Bird Flu, Swine Flu, SARS and MERS. Covid-19 is also called SARS 2 by some experts. We may have frequent pandemic alerts and frequent lockdowns. Initially technology will facilitate that and then it will become a permanent part of the fixture. Large gatherings will always be under a cloud. Some airlines will go bankrupt. Many planes will be lying idle: That’s not an ideal situation in terms of maintenance. Overall the airline industry may see a sea change. This will severely impact the travel-tourism industry, including buses and trains.
9. The Rise of Virtual Sports
After World War 2 there have been 18 Olympics which have been held like clockwork every 4 years. 2020 will be the first leap year not to feature an Olympics. They have been postponed to 2021. What happens if there’s another pandemic scare next year? We could have our first cancellation since WW2. The IPL went strong from 2008-19 but there will be no IPL this year. Team India last played a cricket match on February 29, 2020. Nobody knows when the next match will be. But the world needs to watch sports. With drone fighter planes, teenagers can do better than seasoned veterans. Will the same thing happen in sports? Or will the likes of Virat Kohli participate in virtual sports to stay relevant?
10. The Push for Multiple Emerging Tech.
As mentioned above, collaboration tools have really taken off. If offices are spread out and WFH is now a new office, then data centres and cloud operations will become larger. No touch tech like drones, robots and driverless cars will get a fillip. People were wary of touching paper notes lest they were infected: Now that can’t happen with cryptocurrency can it? Dark/lights out (people less) factories will be promoted. Companies will want to do lesser with humans and promote Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Robotic Process Automation and IoT (Internet of Things). Consumer Internet is booming with its delivery networks. Augmented Reality-Virtual Reality-Mixed Reality has the power to replace offline education techniques, training, tourism and entertainment. Silicon Valley billionaires talk of the Singularity where man will merge with AI to gain immortality. With our mortality starkly in question during Covid-19, that concept will also gain ground.