Archive for the ‘ Megatrends ’ Category

By David J. Kilcullen

The City as a System

This era’s unprecedented urbanization is concentrated in the least developed areas of Asia, Latin America and Africa.  The data shows that coastal cities are about to be swamped by a human tide that will force them to absorb—in less than 40 years—almost the entire increase in population absorbed by the whole planet, in all of recorded human history up to 1960. And virtually all this urbanization will happen in the world’s least developed areas, by definition the poorest equipped to handle it—a recipe for conflict, crises in health, education and governance, and food, energy and water scarcity.

Rapid urbanization creates economic, social and governance challenges while simultaneously straining city infrastructure, making the most vulnerable cities less able to meet these challenges. The implications for future conflict are profound, with more people fighting over scarcer resources in crowded, under-serviced and under-governed urban areas.

Consider, for example, the interaction between climate change and coastal urbanization. Rural environmental degradation prompts migration to coastal cities, putting more people in low-lying regions, where the slightest sea level rise can cause major disruption. Indeed, the Asian Development Bank estimated in 2011 that drought, desertification and soil salinity, exacerbated by climate change, will prompt millions of rural people across the Asia-Pacific region to migrate to cities over coming decades:

Geography, compounded by high levels of poverty and population density has rendered Asia and the Pacific especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.  The region is home to more than 4 billion people and some of the fastest growing cities in the world. By 2020, 13 of the world’s 25 megacities, most of them situated in coastal areas, will be in Asia and the Pacific. Climate change will likely exacerbate existing pressures on key resources associated with growth, urbanization and industrialization.[i]

The food security effects are equally severe, as pollution from coastal urbanization imperils fish stocks, and peri-urban areas surround city cores whose infrastructure is scaled for populations far smaller than they now support. This newly settled peri-urban land was once used for farms, market gardens and orchards, but as cities expand into this space, the distance between the city core and its food sources increases significantly. Food must now be produced further away and transported over ever-greater distances, increasing transportation and refrigeration costs, raising fuel usage and carbon emissions, exacerbating traffic problems, and creating “food deserts” in urban areas. Likewise, many cities are running out of water, a problem that will only increase as populations swell, and as urbanization covers rainfall catchment areas, pushing cities further from their water sources.

The growing size and complexity of cities also strains the infrastructure of governance—police, district administrators, courts, hospitals, schools, and maintenance services. In particular, government presence can be extremely limited in peri-urban areas, allowing the emergence safe havens for criminal networks or non-state armed groups, or creating a vacuum filled by local youth, who do not lack for grievances arising from their new urban circumstances or from their home villages. Even in developed cities like Paris and London, rioting, youth unrest and crime in peri-urban districts reached significant levels on several occasions over the past decade—and in underdeveloped regions the problem is even worse.[ii]

It is useful to think of urban migration from the rural hinterland—driven by rural environmental degradation, energy poverty or conflict—as the supply side of a population-flow system whose demand side includes the problems of urban overstretch, crime, scarcity and conflict just mentioned. The city is a system which, in turn, nests within a larger national and global system, with coastal cities functioning as an exchange mechanism that connects rural hinterlands with urban populations, and with international networks. We can represent this graphically, along with the key trends we have been discussing, as follows: NIC Blog – Kilcullen – City as a system

In this model, the coastal city is the center of a larger system, with rural factors in the city’s hinterland—including environmental degradation, poor rural infrastructure, and rural conflict—prompting rapid urbanization. This creates ad hoc peri-urban settlements where slums and shantytowns displace land formerly used to provide food and other services to the city, and cover the rainfall catchment area for the city’s water supply. The city’s growth puts its infrastructure under stress, so that both the old urban core and the new peri-urban areas experience weak governance, crime, urban poverty, unemployment and conflict. Shortages of food, fuel, electricity and water exacerbate these problems. In turn, the city’s connectedness allows its population to tap into licit and illicit activities offshore, and to connect with global networks, including diaspora populations, an interaction that affects both local and international conflict dynamics.

The data suggest that this is the environment in which future conflict will occur. To recap, this is not a futuristic prediction, but rather a projection of trends that are evident now, and an assessment of their effects on cities as they exist today. There will certainly be outliers—wars in desert and mountain terrain, and state-on-state “conventional” war—but this analysis does suggest the system parameters within which future conflict is likely to occur, and the majority such conflict seems likely to be urban, networked and littoral.

Implications

This analysis of the future conflict environment suggests that the recent U.S. shift away from protracted stabilization and counterinsurgency operations, toward conventional conflict, conflict prevention and military-to-military assistance, is somewhat unrealistic. American policy-makers, not for the first time, have expressed a strong preference for avoiding messy conflicts like those of the past decade. Nonetheless, as we have seen, policy-makers’ preferences seem to have little effect on the frequency of overseas interventions, a historical pattern which suggests that the United States is likely to undertake one major stabilization or counterinsurgency operation (on the scale of Iraq, Afghanistan or Vietnam) every generation, and smaller operations every (on the scale of Bosnia or Kosovo) every five to ten years, for the foreseeable future.

While this pattern is likely to endure, the environment in which such interventions occur is shifting. The three megatrends of urbanization, littoralization and connectedness suggest that conflict is increasingly likely to occur in coastal cities, in underdeveloped regions of the Middle East, Africa, Latin America andAsia, and in highly networked, connected settings. Adversaries are likely to be non-state armed groups (whether criminal or military) or to adopt asymmetric methods, and even the most conventional hypothetical war scenarios turn out, when closely examined, to involve very significant “irregular” aspects.

Whether irregular or state-based, adversaries in the future conflict environment will exhibit hybrid characteristics (combining state and non-state, domestic and international, military and criminal and licit and illicit elements) and these adversaries will be able to nest within the complexity of urban environments, as well as within legitimate national and international systems.

The implications for the military are reasonably obvious, if difficult to act upon in the current fiscal environment. Capabilities such as Marine amphibious units and naval supply ships, as well as facilities for expeditionary logistics in urbanized coastal environments are fairly obvious requirements, as are rotary-wing or tilt-rotor aircraft, precise and discriminating weapons systems, and the ability to rapidly aggregate or disaggregate forces to operate in a distributed, small-unit mode while still being able to concentrate quickly to mass their effect against a major target. Combat and construction engineers, civil affairs units, intelligence systems capable of making sense of the clutter of urban areas, and constabulary (gendarmerie)-type and coast guard capabilities are also likely to be important. The ability operate for a long period in a city without drawing heavily on that city’s water, fuel, electricity or food supply will be important also.

The implications for civilian agencies of government are equally obvious—the casino online ability to expand social services, city administration, and rule of law into peri-urban areas are clearly important, as are investments in infrastructure to guarantee supplies of fuel, electricity, food and water. Less obvious, but equally important, are investments in governance and infrastructure in rural areas, as well as efforts to mitigate the effects of rural environmental degradation that cause unchecked and rapid urban migration. Given the prevalence and increasing capability level of threat networks, policing capabilities will need to embody a creative combination of community policing, constabulary work, criminal investigation and special branch (or police intelligence) work, potentially in close collaboration with the military. And local city managers, district-level officials and ministry representatives may need capabilities that allow them to operate in higher-threat, opposed governance environments.

The implications for businesses, civil society and the public go well beyond either of these rather narrowly scoped considerations. In the first place, the environmental shifts outlined above represent far more than a future theory of conflict—indeed, they are a “theory of everything” in the sense that the three key megatrends identified here (urbanization, littoralization and connectedness) will affect every aspect of life on the planet in the next few decades, and will not solely affect conflict. Caerus Associates’ systems design approach for developing urban resiliency and mapping conflict[iii] and the IBM Smarter Cities project[iv] are two examples of businesses and civil society organizations taking a holistic approach to the city as a system, and thereby seeking to anticipate and address the full range of future issues that cities will confront.

More broadly, the city-as-a-system approach described earlier can be applied as a methodology to identify how complex problems that may appear unrelated—rural soil salinity, urban crime, piracy and diaspora-sponsored terrorism, for example—interact with each other in the context of a given city or threat network. Taking this approach may allow planners to identify emergent patterns within the complex adaptive system of a relevant city, make sense of the system logic, and thus begin to design tailored interventions. These would begin in a consciously experimental way, seeking to identify and reveal the complex interactions between different parts of systems, and among systems nested in larger systems, but would rapidly increase in effectiveness, as each experimental intervention would generate new data that would enhance the effectiveness of the next.

The future conflict environment is likely to be characterized by rapid population growth, increasing urbanization, accelerating littoralization, and greater connectedness. The future of conflict—like the future of most things on the planet—is likely to be urban, littoral and networked. Thinking of the city as a system seems to make the most sense as a way to understand this environment, and the irregular, hybrid and nested threats that we are likely to encounter within it. The implications for the military and for civilian government are fairly obvious, but in broader terms a city-as-system approach may also allow urban planners, city managers, businesses and communities themselves to understand their environment and develop tailored interventions to deal with it.

We are still likely to experience wars between nation-states, and conflict in remote areas such as mountains, jungles and deserts will still undoubtedly occur. But the trends are clear: more people than ever before in history will be competing for scarcer and scarcer resources, in poorly-governed areas that lack adequate infrastructure, and these areas will be more and more closely connected to the global system, so that conflict will have immediate wider implications. The future is hybrid and irregular conflict combining elements of crime, urban unrest, insurgency, terrorism and state-sponsored asymmetric warfare—more Mumbai, Mogadishu and Tivoli Gardens—and we had better start getting ready for it.

David J. Kilcullen is the Chief Executive Officer of Caerus Associates, and the author of The Accidental Guerrilla and CounterinsurgencyThis post is excerpted from a forthcoming article in the Fletcher Forum on World Affairs.


[i] See Asian Development Bank, Climate-Induced Migration in Asia and the Pacific, September 2011, online at http://beta.adb.org/features/climate-induced-migration-asia-and-pacific

[ii] Widespread rioting and civil unrest in outlying and peri-urban areas struckParis (and several other French cities) in 2005 and again in 2007 and 2010, while large-scale rioting and looting occurred in parts ofLondon in 2011.

Urbanization and American National Security

It has long been the case that American foreign policy is most successful when it reaches beyond governments to societies (think Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin shaping French attitudes).  The diversification of major power centers in other countries will require our government to shift its focus away from making policy in capitols, simply because capitols will no longer be the place where decisions get made in other countries.  We are ourselves emblematic of this diversification, the separation of our seat of government from our financial capital having been a conscious one to prevent centralization of power.  Natural forces further diversified the geography of American society: entertainment centered in Hollywood; literature in Boston and New York; manufacturing in what is now, sadly, the rust belt; computers in silicon valley and Redmond, Washington.
But our foreign policies have not yet adapted to these changes.  It will not be adequate to talk to government ministers, yet that remains predominantly how we conduct our foreign policy.  There are over twenty cities of more than a million people in which our State Department has no representation; where there are Embassies, they are literal bastions of American power inhospitable (because of security precautions) to engagement with civic groups.  The Foreign Service spends nearly all of its resources on language training, yet the overwhelming majority of our diplomats lack the facility to participate in live debates in the native languages of the countries in which they are posted.  This is the result of a system that prizes generalists; the nature of change in the international order demands specialist skills that we neither recruit or develop in our diplomats.
While the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review acknowledges these shortcomings (even if it is somewhat breathless about the newness of developments that are not really new), State has not followed through with spending and managerial effort to redress them.  Moreover, State still treats shaping attitudes in other countries as a special skill — “public diplomacy” — rather than the most important reason for posting diplomats abroad.  As a society, we are predisposed to understand messy, small-ball mosaics of power and organization; as a government, we are typically too lazy or ignorant to operate that way.  That must change.  We must understand the complexity of other societies and navigate them effectively to build public support, not just engage the governments in power, if we want to remain successful in the international order Global Trends 2030 identifies.
A second major effect of urbanization for American national security will be in the area If you cancel yourappointment more than twice the driving permit fee will be forfeited. of immigration.  We have long been the beneficiary of other countries’ deficiencies, drawing their talent.  Richard Rosecrance identified in the mid-1990s the importance amidst globalization of winning the competition for talent.  Rosecrance argued that the online casino’s traditional elements of state power shifted with a country’s level of development, from controlling territory that produced commodities, to controlling trade that created wealth from manufactured goods, to enabling virtual corporations focused on product design, marketing, and financing (Rosecrance, The Rise of the Virtual State, Foreign Affairs, July/August 1996).  States with the highest level of development would compete for intellectual capital, a factor of production that cannot be compelled by force but must be attracted by opportunity and incentive.
Marx famously said that religion is the opiate of the masses; suburban life as practiced by Americans may likewise be an opiate of the masses.  That is, what most people in the world want is the boring pleasantness of their own house, spending their time taking kids to sports practice and discussing traffic or a local eyesore with their neighbors.  It has a pacifying tendency on behavior, but it is predicated on a standard of living, societal and governmental infrastructure that has been beyond the reach of most countries.  If people don’t need to leave other online casino canada countries to enjoy the benefits we have, we will get less of the world’s intellectual and entrepreneurial talent coming to us.
And immigration has been the way America compensates for our incapacities.  We import much of our scientific and technical expertise, overcoming the paucity of science education in our own children with the attractiveness of our higher education systems and job opportunities.  As the Economist cautioned in its reporting on London, so here: we are making policy choices that disincline people to choose us, whether because of our homeland security policies or nativist “lump of labor” ideas that jobs are limited and must be preserved from export.  As the rest of the world comes to have the urban and suburban advantages we enjoy, we need to end our complacency and get serious about competing for the world’s talent.  And we need to strengthen our own domestic base, most especially in education.
The third effect of urbanization I would note for American national security results from is who is modernizing: it is the so-called developing world.  As Amartya Sen has put it, the greatest beneficiaries of globalization are the world’s poor. Countries that are urbanizing are those that have been poor and are growing wealthy.  This is to be applauded, not only as a moral good, but as an expansion of opportunity for countries that may take a greater interest in global issues and have the resources to participate in shaping them.  The United States needs more countries to share the burden of sustaining the global order that has served and the world so well.  In the 1940s and 1950s, America believed decolonization would produce a wave of new allies for our policies.  On that basis, we refused Churchill’s pleas to sustain their empire, refused to support our closest allies in a war against Nasserite Egypt.  If we welcome the arrival of countries that have pulled themselves out of poverty, remain a voice for the truths we hold to be self-evident, and emphasize accountable governance, the international order of 2030 has the potential to be even more beneficial to American interests than the one we now enjoy.

Kori Schake is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution. She has served in a variety of positions with the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State, and the National Security Council staff. Her recent publications include State of Disrepair: Fixing the Culture and Practices of the State Department(Hoover Institution Press, 2012) and Managing American Hegemony: Essays on Power in a Time of Dominance (Hoover Institution Press, 2009).

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Urbanization and the Global Climate Dilemma

By Will Rogers 

Urbanization and climate change may be the two most important trends to shape global development in the decades ahead. On the one hand, urban cities have the potential to serve as engines of change, driving economic growth in some of the world’s least developed countries and pulling more people out of poverty than at any other time in history. On the other hand, climate change could undercut all of this by exacerbating resource scarcity and putting vulnerable communities at risk from sea level rise and more frequent and intense storms.

Today, roughly 80 percent of economic growth comes for urban centers. Much of this comes from what experts refer to as the “urban advantage:” cities typically concentrate the full spectrum of economic opportunities that are not readily available in rural areas. This includes everything from social services such as education and healthcare, more reliable access to water, sanitation services and electricity, to industries and transportation hubs that are lynchpins for commercial development.

Simply put, countries have more opportunities for economic growth as they urbanize. According to a 2010 study from United Nations Human Settlements Program, “The prosperity of nations is intimately linked to the prosperity of their cities. No country has ever achieved sustained economic growth or rapid social development without urbanizing (countries with the highest per capita income tend to be more urbanized, while low-income countries are the least urbanized).” Of course, how much a country benefits from urbanization depends on policies developed at the local level. Indeed, urban politics can make or break the benefits of urbanization if local policymakers fail to adopt policies that break down socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic and religious barriers.

Nevertheless, urbanization affords tremendous economic opportunities and most of the future benefits will accrue to the world’s developing and least developed countries. As Drew Erdmann wrote earlier this week, “For the first time in over 200 years, the majority of the world’s economic growth during this decade will occur in emerging markets, not the developed economies of the ‘West.’” This may help foster a modicum of stability in some of the world’s most unstable states, countries like Haiti, whose urban population is projected to expand from 52 percent in 2010 to 70 percent by 2030, according to United Nations statistics.

Yet climate change may ultimately undermine the economic benefits of urbanization in some parts of the world. Urban centers place substantially more pressure on natural resources than rural communities given their population density and the attendant demands on water, agricultural, energy and other resources. And although urban planners can apply innovative solutions to help manage these resource constraints – such as waste water recycling systems – climate change could exacerbate resource trends in ways that nbso online casino may hamper the effectiveness of these creative technologies, slowing or stalling economic growth in some of these emerging economic centers.

But the real climate challenge may stem from development in fragile areas along world’s coastlines. Indeed, many of the global megacities (those with populations over 10 million) are located on the coast: Tokyo, Jakarta, Shanghai, New York City, Mumbai, Bangkok and Lagos, to name a few. Their locations are borne out of necessity: 90 percent of global commerce is done by sea. So while urbanizing along the coastline allows countries to more easily tap into global trade, coastal cities may be vulnerable to sea level rise and more frequent and intense typhoons, hurricanes and other extreme weather events that could result from climate change.

Sea level rise could be particularly damaging to urban economic development. Surging seas can crumble coastal infrastructure, such as electricity systems and road online casino ways, and infiltrate ground water aquifers that supply city water and support local agriculture. Moreover, sea level rise may drive up insurance rates, driving people into bankruptcy while also creating socioeconomic gaps in some cities. These challenges are not abstract or distant either: one need only look to the south of Washington, to Norfolk, Virginia, where sea level rise has already dislocated some communities, while forcing city officials to invest millions of dollars to hold back the sea near the naval station.

Typhoons, hurricanes, nor’easters and other extreme weather events may become more frequent and intense as a result of climate change and pose dangers to urban centers. The density of some coastal cities portends extreme challenges for first responders and others charged with responding to weather-related natural disasters. Indeed, the scale of these disasters could be quite staggering, and may even overstretch the capacity of emergency personnel if they are not adequately prepared to respond. Although one cannot definitively point to the 2005 Hurricane Katrina as an example of climate change, the effects of the storm provide a vivid illustration of the magnitude that such a disaster could have in a densely crowded urban community. As a result of this reality, some large cities have started examining how climate change may affect them in the coming decades. In 2010, for example, New York City published its own study from the New York City Panel on Climate Change that looked explicitly at these challenges.

Even absent climate change, it is difficult to disregard the inherent vulnerabilities associated with densely crowded urban cities, particularly those along the coast. In his book, Monsoon, Robert D. Kaplan writes that, “[N]ever before have the planet’s most environmentally frail areas been so crowded,” particularly in countries like Bangladesh, India and elsewhere, where hundreds of millions of people are packed together at or just above sea level. “This means that over the coming decades more people than ever before, in any comparable space of time save for a few periods like the fourteenth century during the Black Death, are likely to be killed or made homeless by Mother Nature,” Kaplan observes.

Looking for Opportunities

There are some opportunities that U.S. policymakers and others can pursue to help dampen the impact of potential climate disruptions on urban cities.

  • Enhancing Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Training: The United States should develop more robust relationships with countries around humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to help more vulnerable countries and their cities develop the institutions, tools and procedures for responding to natural disasters. This does not have to be just traditional military-to-military cooperation either. Fire departments and other first responder organizations from U.S. cities can exchange expertise with other officials in cities around the world. And some of this is ongoing already, whether it’s around flood or wildfire response, and may just need to be scaled up.
  • Improving Climate Change Science at the Local Level: Many countries do not have the tools or techniques to assess how climate change may affect their cities. As a result, there is a significant opportunity for the United States to bolster its science and technology cooperation with countries that will enhance their understanding of local level climate impacts. The United States could leverage its National Labs and others in academia to help support and develop sound climate science that will provide better fidelity about how climate change is projected to manifest itself in urban centers. Better projections will enable cities to become more resilient, which may also help dampen political and social disruptions.

The bottom line: U.S. officials need to analyze urbanization and climate change together. These two trends have the potential to shape global development in fundamental ways in the decades ahead. Understanding how these trends may affect each other will put policymakers in a better position for adapting to potential challenges and harnessing opportunities that will become present in the future.

Will Rogers is the Bacevich Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a non-partisan national security and defense policy think tank in Washington. The views expressed herein represent his personal views and do not necessarily reflect the perspectives of any organization with which he is affiliated.

The national security implications of the new urbanization are profound.

To begin this Blog’s discussion of this critical topic, today we have three new contributions:

In “City as a System: Future Conflict and Urban Resilience,” David Kilcullen of Caerus Associates explores how the landscape of conflict will become increasingly urban and that strategists and operators alike should understand cities as casino online a system.

In “Urbanization and American National Security,” Kori Schake of the Hoover Institution discusses urbanization’s implications for American policy and practice, at home and abroad.

In “Urbanization and the Global Climate Dilemma,” Will Rogers of the Center for a New American Security argues that national security practitioners must view urbanization and climate change as two interlinked phenomena.

I hope that readers find the insights of these diverse perspectives stimulating.  More to come in the days ahead!

The new McKinsey Global Institute report Urban World: Cities and the rise of the consuming classargues “it is not hyperbole to say that we are observing the most significant economic transformation the world has seen. China is urbanizing on 100 times the scale of Britain in the 18th century and at more than ten times the speed.”

The report includes a map of the world’s shifting economic “center of gravity” to communicate graphically the historical trends in global economic power over the last 2000 years.

The EconomistThe Atlantic, and The Huffington Post, among others, have featured in their reporting this graphic representation of the historic shift in economic power.

Here is the map: NIC Blog – MGI – Shifting economic center of gravity

This map shows that for roughly from 1 AD to 1820 AD, online slots the world’s economic center of gravity remained relatively unchanged and balanced between East and West, then shifted dramatically toward Europe and the Users can view our la permit test Privacy Policy at any time by visiting: /what-is-the-wisegeek-privacy-policy. North America during the 19th century and first half of the 20th century, and later began to shift back toward Asia in the second half of the 20th century.  Significantly, “it has been in the most recent decade of 2000 to 2010 that we have observed the fastest rate of change in global economic balance in history.”  As the map highlights, the shift in economic “center of gravity” from 2000 to 2025 toward Asia, driven by in large part by urbanization, will be almost as significant as the “center of gravity’s” movement toward Europe between 1820 and 1913.

This time it is different!

By McKinsey Global Institute

A new McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, Urban World: Cities and the rise of the consuming class,analyzes the massive wave of urbanization that is propelling growth across the emerging world in the coming decades. The research expands MGI analysis of the top 2,600 cities globally, including cities’ demographics, household structure, and incomes, and their contribution to activity and growth in different sectors, including buildings construction, port infrastructure, and municipal water supply. Highlights follow.

A wave of urbanization propelling growth across emerging economies is a welcome fillip for a world economy that continues to have pockets of acute fragility. The move to urban living is lifting the incomes of millions of people around the world. In cities, one billion people will enter the global “consuming class” by 2025, with incomes high enough to become significant consumers of goods and services. Around 600 million of them will live in only around 440 cities in emerging markets that are expected to generate close to half of global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025. We are witnessing incomes rising in developing economies faster and on a greater scale than at any time in history (Exhibit 1: NIC Blog – MGI – Urban World – Exhibit 1).

By 2025, urban consumers will inject around $20 trillion a year in additional spending into the world economy. Catering to the burgeoning urban consumer classes will also require a boom in the construction of buildings and infrastructure. We estimate that cities will need annual physical capital investment to more than double from nearly $10 trillion today to more than $20 trillion by 2025, the majority of which will be in the emerging world. How companies and governments react to the fastest shift in the earth’s center of economic gravity in history—will fundamentally shape their future prospects.

The additional consumption and investment that will be part of the urbanization story is a very large opportunity for businesses. But there will be challenges, too. The wave of new urban consumers in the emerging world is already driving strong demand for the world’s natural and capital resources. The global investment rate and resource prices have jumped and could rise further. Cities can be part of the solution to such stresses, as concentrated population centers can be more productive in their resource use than areas that are more sparsely populated. But if cities fail to invest in a way that keeps abreast of the rising needs of their growing populations, they may lock in inefficient, costly practices that will become constraints to sustained growth later on.

Urban growth is highly concentrated in just a few hundred cities and will continue to be. Our analysis suggests that just the top 600 cities by their contribution to global GDP growth to 2025—a group we call the City 600—will generate nearly 65 online casino percent of world economic growth in this period. Today, the City 600 is home to just over 20 percent of the world’s population but accounts for nearly $34 trillion, or more than half, of global GDP. Between 2010 and 2025, we expect the City 600’s combined GDP to nearly double to $65 trillion. But the most dramatic chapter of today’s urbanization story is the role played by the so-called Emerging 440. These emerging market cities in the City 600 will account for close to half of expected global GDP growth between 2010 and 2025 (Exhibit 2: NIC Blog – MGI – Urban World – Exhibit 2).

The incomes of these new consuming classes are rising even faster than their numbers are. This means that many products and services are hitting take-off points at which their consumption rises swiftly and steeply. Growth patterns will vary among products and services for three main reasons. First, as incomes rise, consumers choose where they spend the additional available income, and some products take off at lower incomes than others. Second, products and services vary in the shape of their adoption curve and On horoscope taurus today Monday, we’ll feature two sex experts to talk about sex and communication among couples. then in the rate of growth of mature, well-penetrated markets. Third, there are geographic differences in demand for cultural and demographic reasons.

Infrastructure needs will also vary between regions and among different categories. In this research, we focus on residential and commercial buildings, port capacity (due to rising container demand), and municipal water. We estimate that cities will need to construct floor space equivalent to 85 percent of all of today’s residential and commercial building stock by 2025. The capacity of ports to handle urban container traffic needs to rise by more than 2.5 times from today’s level. We expect municipal water demand in cities to rise by almost 80 billion cubic meters, equivalent to more than 20 times the water consumption of New York today and 40 percent above today’s global level.

Again, there will be differences across regions and infrastructure needs.Chinais likely to have a 25 percent share of urban municipal water demand growth and a share of nearly 40 percent of growth in global demand for urban building floor space to 2025. Africa and the Middle East will account for almost 14 percent of the global rise in municipal water demand in large cities, almost twice their share of urban GDP growth. Across all three categories, we expect Emerging 440 cities to account for roughly 60 percent of global demand growth to 2025, although the shares of individual cities will vary.

Differences between the consumption take-off points depending on the product or service underline the need for companies to understand their target markets in forensic detail. The top urban markets in different demographic segments (e.g., elderly higher income consumers; or new young entry-level consumers) as well as for different products (e.g., laundry care) and demand for commercial floor space and municipal water are all different (Exhibit 3: NIC Blog – MGI – Urban World – Exhibit 3). Indeed, on these five “hot spots” for growth, the likely top cities are in three different continents: Shanghai and Mumbai in Asia; Lagos in Africa: and São Paulo and New York in the Americas. So depending on the products they sell, and the segments in which they specialize, companies need to have a detailed knowledge of which cities offer the most promising markets.

Companies that understand the shifting urban marketplaces relevant to their businesses and build a presence early on with sufficient scale are likely to benefit from being the incumbent with better market access and higher margins. Yet, disappointingly, most companies are still not looking at cities as they calibrate strategy. A new McKinsey survey finds that less than one in five executives is making location decisions at the city, rather than the country, level—and respondents did not expect this low share to increase over the next five years. Even those companies that arm themselves with the detailed city-level knowledge to identify the most promising markets for their products then need to allocate resources efficiently and master the art of execution in diverse and rapidly evolving emerging markets.

The challenge for policy makers differs according to whether they are in cities in the developing or the developed world. In a nutshell, the task for the former is to manage growth in a way that avoids diseconomies of scale and builds the basis for sustainable economic performance. For the latter, simply maintaining a healthy rate of growth can be tough, particularly in the aftermath of recession. Many developed cities are aging and no longer attracting migrants. Instead, they have to seek new vigor from higher productivity, new business investors, and enhanced links with the urban dynamos of emerging regions.

The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) is the business and economics research arm of McKinsey & Company. Its mission is to help leaders in the commercial, public, and social sectors develop a deeper understanding of the evolution of the global economy and to provide a fact base that contributes to decision making on critical management and policy issues. MGI works with leading economists, including Nobel laureates, who act as advisors on its research.

By Drew Erdmann

The 2012 London Olympic Games will begin later this month. While the world will focus on sport, this Olympic Games also reminds us that the cities of the world are in constant competition as well. The history of 2012 London Olympic Games will be as much a story of the City of London’s effort to remain a leading, globalized city in the 21st Century as about the Gold Medal winners. We see this in the aspirations for the redevelopment of London’s East End to the “re-branding” of London as a global hub for commerce and services to innovations in reusable and environmentally friendly venue design. London’s success is by no means inevitable. The Economist recently described London as both “the world’s most international city” and “a precarious brilliance.” Other rising cities are challenging London and Western cities for economic, cultural, and political influence. Symbolically, the London Games follow the 2008 Beijing Games and precede the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. Although costly, the Beijing Games introduced the new Asian superpower to many in the world, and the Rio Games will undoubtedly help mark Brazil’s rise on the global stage as well.

The competition among such cities will continue in the decades ahead. The overall “megatrend” of increasing urbanization is clear, i.e., the world is becoming more urbanized literally every day. The implications are less clear. The blog’s objective for this week, therefore, is to explore the urbanization trends that will help define humanity’s history in the next twenty years and their implications for economics, governance, and security. Cities like London, Beijing, and Rio will be important characters in this history. Perhaps even more important, however, will be the host of new urban centers that are rising rapidly throughout the developing world.

This week’s blog hopes to provoke discussion and raise questions as much as provide answers. And the blog will feature diverse contributors to help stimulate this discussion. Picking up on Steven Weber’s plea to readers from 2 weeks ago, please take advantage of the “leave a reply” link to contribute to the discussion. The more voices and points of view the better!

Here are six observations to help jumpstart this week’s discussion of urbanization.

First, the pace of this era’s urbanization is unprecedented and it is already one of the most important forces reshaping the world. A future historian will likely point to the year 2008 as a historic turning point – not only because of the Beijing Olympics, but also because 2008 marked thefirst year in humanity’s history when a majority of people lived in towns and cities. As Edward Glaeser’s recent The Triumph of the City (2011) underscores, cities are one of mankind’s greatest creations, the centers for innovation, the prime drivers of economic development, and, as such, they will continue to attract hundreds of millions of the world’s poor as they seek a better life. The scale and pace of this change is hard to grasp. Around 1.3 million people will migrate to cities and towns every week for the next two decades, according to United Nations statistics. Most of this movement will continue in emerging markets, but transnational flows will be important as well.

Second, urbanization is driving the rebalancing of global economic power toward emerging markets, especially in Asia. This movement of people is a major driver of the rapid economic growth experienced in countries around Asia as well as parts of Latin America and, increasingly, Sub-Saharan Africa. Just as the developed economies of the West did decades ago, emerging markets are now capturing the huge productivity gains that cities’ concentration, economies of scale, and innovation afford and that. The implications are profound. For casino the first time in over 200 years, the majority of the world’s economic growth during this decade will occur in emerging markets, not the developed economies of the “West.”

Third, urbanization and the rise of new middle classes are two sides of the same coin.Estimates suggest there will be by 2025 more than 1 billion new consumers with incomes sufficient to purchase consumer goods beyond those needed for subsistence. More than 95% of these new “middle class” consumers will live in emerging market cities. Likewise, the majority of new high-income households – with annual incomes of over $70,000 (in terms of Purchasing Power Parity) – will be found in emerging market cities. This massive increase in urban consumers will drive a corresponding increase in demand for a full range of products and services from home appliances to telecommunications to automobiles to recreation (e.g., dining out, travel). New middle class consumer demand in emerging cities will thus be a major force in the global economy. This demand will, in turn, reshape business strategies, supply chains, talent and capital flows, and potentially regulatory regimes.

Fourth, urbanization will place unprecedented strains on resources and societies. If the pace and scale of the new cities’ growth in population and wealth is staggering, the resources required are no less so. Infrastructure investments will need to soar to keep pace. The McKinsey Global Instituteestimates that new physical capital investments in cities will need to increase over $10 trillion per year by 2025. That is equivalent to more than the combined current economies of Japan and Germany! The demands on natural resources and the environment will also be historic in scale and scope. At the same time, because cities can be relatively efficient, increasing urbanization does afford opportunities for improved resource productivity as well.

Fifth, urbanization will stress governance at all levels – local, national, and international. This is a corollary to the preceding observation. For instance:

  • Local and national governments the world over will struggle to provide basic services to burgeoning urban populations while maintaining some reasonable fiscal boundaries.
  • New middle classes will make demands upon their governments. We will likely see new middle classes in some countries seeking to extend their economic clout to greater political influence. At the same time, there is no inevitable alignment of interests among middle classes across national boundaries (i.e., an “outsourced” American job may be a stepping stone to the middle class for someone in Asia).
  • The flow of peoples from countryside to cities, and between countries, will pose their own challenges for governance at all levels (see, for instance, the recent Global Trends 2030 Blog entries related to migration).
  • The vast resources required to sustain urbanization will not only influence global markets in important commodities, but also place new strains upon governments. Consider, for example, the challenge of water scarcity in China. Given current trends, some basins within China will remain in surplus in the coming 20 years, while others will likely confront significant gaps between supply and demand. How will the Chinese government manage its water resources across its different regions? Many other governments will face analogous resource dilemmas.
  • Increasing urbanization, combined with this era’s global interconnectivity, will challenge how individuals define their own identities. Will people think of themselves first as citizens of a particular city or a country or a transnational Diaspora community? Or, as Chrystia Freeland suggested in The Atlantic last year, will we see the rise of a “new global elite”? Such a cosmopolitan elite could live inside gated communities – whether in Florida or Rio or Johannesburg – and share common education, experiences, and values with others of the same jet set class, but little with “fellow citizens” of their respective countries of origin. This could be an era defined by struggles to reduce inequality.

Sixth, urbanization will challenge our traditional approaches and tools for national security.The 20th century experiences of the Second World War and the Cold War, for example, still heavily influence the United States’ diplomatic footprint, alliance relationships, and intelligence capabilities. The 21st century’s rise of new urban centers in the developing countries and concomitant shift in economic power are already challenging these institutional legacies. Alliance relationships will be redefined and new ones forged. New capabilities will be needed. Diplomats will need to be deployed in new cities and able to engage with new kinds of players. Militaries around the world will need to prepare to operate even more in urban environments.

In sum, how well leaders around the world in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors comprehend this new wave of urbanization, identify its manifold implications, and then adapt institutions, norms, and practices to harness its potential will have a profound impact on the trajectory of international development, peace, and security in the coming 20 years.

Drew Erdmann is Principal in McKinsey & Company’s Washington, DC office. He previously served with the Department of State, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Council staff. The views expressed herein represent his personal views and do not necessarily reflect the perspectives of any organization with which he is affiliated. 

The NIC team labeled the blog subject for this week:  How Will Employment Change with the Expansion of New Technologies—like Robotics—in Manufacturing?  Will We See a New Unemployable Underclass?

I’m hoping for a vibrant discussion with good back-and-forth among commentators this week.  I’ve noticed that the blog up to this point has been populated by slightly longer, carefully crafted, ‘point of view’ statements — all of which are quite interesting — but a bit less interactivity than I would have expected.  People will do on a blog what they wish to do… but let me suggest that it might be an interesting change of pace, and a good one, for commentators to feel that the barrier to entry is a little lower.  So, this week, please feel free to throw out short comments, half to three-quarter baked ideas, questions that you’d like to see others take a stab at, etc. etc.  Blog posts don’t need to be fully articulated arguments with careful language; that’s why they call it a blog.  If you have a thought worth sharing, please share it and let others build on it.

I’m particularly excited to be moderating this discussion because I think it is a subject where the blog can really help to press the GT2030 draft document a step or two forward.  I know my friends in the writing team will understand the motivation with which I make this comment:  I think the question needs to be expanded and made much more ambitious.

I mean that in several respects, which I’ll suggest as possible directions for elaboration that I hope might provoke others to comment.

When it comes to manufacturing, robotics is already here, employment is becoming a different thing than it was, there is more or less a permanent underclass…. and it is a long way from 2030.  If you’ve been in an auto factory, a steel mill, or even a semi-conductor fab in the last few years, you know what I’m talking about.

This is one of those (frequent) times when talking about the future, helps us to catch up to the present.  ‘Manufacturing’ can mean different things to different people, but if the image of a ‘factory’ economy comes into your mind, think again.  Emphasizing well-known numbers here:  in the US manufacturing is well below 15% of GDP (and the recent spate of news about ‘insourcing’ back to the US is a tiny phenomenon in perspective, not big enough to move this needle).  In Germany manufacturing is around 20% of GDP; in China, the ‘factory’ of the world, it’s around 1/3.

For the world as a whole, manufacturing as % of GDP is around 20%.  For one fifth of the economic activity in the world, it sure does attract a lot of attention.

We’d need a new, different, and surprising story about the nature of economic growth and change over the next decade, to believe that any of those numbers are going to rise meaningfully, rather than continue to shrink on aggregate as they mostly have been doing for decades now.  Manufacturing right now still has a surprising hold on (some) peoples’ imaginations, but it is hard at least for me to imagine that this will continue for another 20 years.

Robotics, or maybe we should simply say ‘automation’ to make it sound less exotic, is certainly part of the story of the employment trap.  The productivity of what we call a factory has, in most modern sectors, skyrocketed over the last decade — in part because of automation, in part because of management paradigms, in part because of instrumentation and sensorization… and none of those trends is slowing down.  It maybe that impact of sensors and data — measuring what is really happening at a granular level in the manufacturing process and using that to drive constant, incremental improvements — will be more impactful over the next decade or so than will robotics.  After all, computation and data visualization is (right now) easier than robotics and there is a lot of inefficiency to be taken out of most manufacturing processes simply by understanding them better and removing waste.

What about employment?  Could manufacturing employment approach zero, (asymptotically) by 2030, in rich countries?  In medium income countries?  Possibly even in poor countries?  And since the really big benefits to productivity are to be found by incorporating (even fairly simple) ‘robotics’ or at least automation into services, how quickly do we think the question will shift in that direction?

Finally (for now) consider the notion of a ‘permanent underclass’.  Is that 2030, or is it right now?  The proportion of US GDP that goes to labor is at or near an all time low.  Low-skilled manufacturing jobs that haven’t been lost to China, and lost from China to lower-wage locations in East Asia (and probably over the next decade to in turn to Sub-Saharan Africa), already constitute the employment contract for a permanent underclass in the US.  Try living on $13.20 an hour.  More important, try pulling yourself or your children out of the underclass with that wage as a foundation.  If you think it will get easier over the next decade to do that, we need an explanation as to why.

A last provocation.  It is conventional wisdom, and correct, to say that your chances of being stuck in this permanent underclass are inversely related to your level of education, at least in the US.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is, the return on investment in higher education — while still positive — has been declining now for 20 years.  (Some of that is attributable to the massive rise in the costs of higher education, and some attributable to the increased competition from larger numbers in the global higher education pool — if anyone has seen a plausible analysis that breaks down those components, please share it).  It seems almost inevitable (at least to me) that the costs of higher education will shrink and the accessibility of it multiply over the next decade as simple e-learning technologies take hold — and that’s just the obvious disruption we can already see coming.  That means a much larger global class of educated workers looking for jobs.  Where will the threshold for ‘underclass’ be then?

In the long run, there need be no negative trade-off between productivity and employment of course.  But the long-run (in a theoretical economics sense) is probably not the relevant time frame here.  Right now, many people are acting as if they believe that a job gained in one place is necessarily a job lost somewhere else.  Jobs mercantilism, if you will.  What are the plausible trajectories out of that dilemma?

Let’s not shy away, in the end, from speculating on what we might end up meaning by the term ‘employment’ — what it implies, for whom, on what terms, with what economic (and broader) impact on human life and meaning.

Some provocations, then, to start.  Please have at it.

By David Kang

The “rise of the rest” will be both less transformative and yet more consequential than many may think. The continuing emergence of other centers of economic vitality will be less transformative than some fear because all countries today unquestioningly accept the basic foundations of the Western, “Westphalian” international system. All countries accept the idea that nation-states and sovereignty are the basic units of global relations, and that these relations are non-hierarchical and bring with them a set of responsibilities.

Furthermore, countries like China and India are slowly joining the existing set of international institutions and norms, not challenging them. For example, China has joined the WTO, the UN, the IMF, and many other of the existing regional and global multilateral institutions that govern economic and diplomatic relations among countries. Not only has China increasingly joined these institutions in the past 30 years, it has worked within them and adjusted to them, not necessarily challenged them.  As Shiro Armstrong notes, “By any reasonable measure, the institutional reforms that China signed onto when it acceded to the WTO have been implemented faithfully, and disputes with major partners have mostly been contained within the WTO system.”

In sum, emerging countries do not offer any alternatives to the existing liberal international order, nor do they show any signs of searching for alternatives. Instead, countries such as China and India appear to accept unquestioningly the basic rules and norms of the international order.

However, the rise of these other countries will be more consequential than some may think, as well. The United States does not have extensive experience in actually sharing its leadership role with other countries, nor is it used to being a follower in anything. Yet it is quite likely that over the next generation some countries may challenge the right of the U.S. to lead the liberal international order.

The time may come when the U.S. lives within institutions of our own design, but which are increasingly influenced and perhaps led by other countries, whose preferences on specific issues may not be the same as Washington’s.

For example, Vinod Aggarwal and Steve Weber recently argued that “emerging markets will be increasingly bold in asserting their views about the management of the global economy,” and that we should expect to see increasing challenges to U.S. domination of the IMF and World Bank. Others point to the loss of the dollar as the unquestioned reserve currency in the world; indeed, just this week China and Japan agreed to directly trade their yen-yuan currencies, eliminating the role the U.S. dollar plays in setting the exchange rate between the 2nd and 3rd largest economies in the world. The countries of ASEAN and China, Japan, and South Korea increasingly have created a set of regional institutional mechanisms covering a variety of economic relations without the presence of the U.S.

The key issue in world politics, however, is not about power, but about leadership. And the key aspect to leadership is whether other countries are willing to follow. If there are no followers, there is no leader. Viewed in this light, none of the emerging countries have yet presented new ideas for managing the international order that garner enthusiastic followers. In fact, China, India, Brazil, and other emerging countries do not even appear to be attempting to do so at this stage.

As for China in particular, can China ever return to its historical position as a center of cultural, economic, and political innovation, where other states admiringly look to it as model, guide, and inspiration? There is grudging respect for Chinese economic accomplishments over the past three decades, to be sure. But there is just as much wariness about Chinese cultural and political beliefs. The Chinese people—as evidenced by the hysterical response to protests about Tibet in the spring and summer of 2008—show that online casino they are far from comfortable with their own position in the world and how they are perceived by others.

Given the central role of the United States around the globe, there is almost no chance that China will replace the U.S. and become the unquestioned leader in global economic affairs. The United States—even as it adjusts to changing and difficult circumstances—is not going to disappear. The United States remains too central and too powerful, and American (and Western) ideals have become too deeply accepted around the globe, for the United States not to be important.

Perhaps the most important question is whether the United States, with its very Western way of viewing the world, and China, with a potentially different way of viewing the world, can come to some type of accommodation and agreement on each others’ roles and their relations with each other. While to date both the United States and China are working to accommodate each other and stabilize their relations, that process is far from complete. How these two countries manage East Asian (and global) leadership, the status they accord each other, and how other regional countries come to view them will be central aspects of whether or not the future of East Asian international relations is one of increasing stability.

Despite some domestic troubles, America will remain the most powerful, and richest, country in the world for the foreseeable future. However, the era of clear leadership, implicit dominance, and deference from other countries may be slowly ending. Put a little more bluntly, the question for the United States may come down to this: What if China actually rises peacefully – can the U.S. live with that?

David C. Kang is Professor of International Relations and Business at the University of Southern California, where he also directs the Korean Studies Institute and the East Asian Studies Center. His latest book is East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute (Columbia University Press, 2010).

By Abraham Denmark

As an Asia specialist, I spend most of my time thinking about the consequences of Asia’s rising powers – China, India, South Korea, Indonesia, etc. – and what it means for the United States and our allies. It’s a simple trend to identify. China’s economy has been expanding rapidly, as have those of many developing countries. Indeed, the entire Asia-Pacific region continues to be the world’s most dynamic and promising for future growth. The inestimable Ian Bremmer has also pointed out that – along with the BRICS, CIVETS and MIST – Africa has also been an important source of growth in recent years. This is what Fareed Zakaria meant when he wrote about the “Rise of the Rest.”

These trends have unfortunately created a general misperception that “The Rest” represents a new political force in geopolitics – one that will fundamentally threaten today’s liberal international order. In reality, “The Rest” – as a cohesive geopolitical whole – doesn’t exist.  Incongruities between political structures, cultural heritages, economic conditions, and strategic interests of the countries who constitute “The Rest” will make real coordination a near impossibility. While they may agree on specific issues (such as environmental policy or sanctions on Iran), long-standing strategic and historic rivalries and dissimilarities will undermine efforts to build real strategic cooperation.

The BRICS offer an excellent example. Agreements on specific issues do not override the reality that China has long-standing strategic tensions with both India and Russia – tensions that will make strategic cooperation almost impossible. Even though Chinese officials routinely call for a more “democratic” international system, does that mean they will support India becoming a permanent member of the UN Security Council? Don’t count on it. Ultimately, there is very little mortar holding the BRICS together.

This stands in sharp contrast to the long-term cohesiveness of the West, which is based on a foundation of deeply shared values, interests, and histories that transcends policy disagreements. On key issues of great strategic significance, the United States has a global network of friends it can rely upon. Thus, while one cannot speak of “The Rest” as a cohesive whole, the West is a geopolitical force to reckon with.

Moreover, the West’s resilience, openness, and dynamism have long been its ultimate sources of strength. It has problems, certainly, but the West has seen far worse than the domestic problems it faces today, and we generally know what the answers are. As a foreign diplomat in Washington is fond of saying, the United States is a single budget cycle away from fixing most of its serious problems.

This cannot be said for many of the world’s rising powers, whose problems are more complex and whose solutions are highly fraught. China must navigate itself through multiple challenges – including urbanization, privatization, marketization, globalization, slowing growth, environmental degradation, corruption, and persistent political upheaval – all on a scale and speed previously unseen in human history. There is no easy path to address these challenges, and any failure could lead to disaster. India, similarly, faces tremendous domestic challenges that could quickly undermine economic growth.

Moreover, “The Rest” largely has no casino online intention of seeing the West’s downfall. Most strategists and officials from China, India, and other rising powers will readily admit that they need a liberal international order as much as the West. Export-oriented economies are especially reliant on public goods like stability, open global markets, and stable global commons – all fundamental features of the liberal international order. Rising powers apparently agree with arguments made in recent books by Robert Kagan and Zbigniew Brzezinski that without the United States, the world would rapidly descend into chaos and violence. As such, they will likely continue to look to the West to provide public goods and help solve global problems.

Still, ‘the Rise of the Rest’ will pose two significant challenges for the West in the coming decades. First, the West will be forced to manage the after-effects of those rising powers that are unable to sustain their development. While the relative rate of growth for rising powers has certainly been fantastic, political and social realities on the ground will make continued growth difficult without significant reform. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. When these countries fall, the financial and human costs may be devastating.

The West will also face the daunting task of managing the success of those rising powers that make the transition from “developing” to “developed.” This will require integrating these new great powers into the international system, and making it clear that on issues of fundamental interest – such as open global commons, the power of international institutions, human rights, and preserving stability – they must adjust to the world, and not vice versa.

And there, of course, is the rub. Nothing is certain in international relations – especially when one looks several decades into the future. Yet most indications suggest that the West is likely to survive, thrive, and maintain strategic cohesion. The Rest, on the other hand, face more profound questions about their long-term prosperity and their ability to build, let alone maintain, any degree of strategic cohesion. Ultimately, the long-term health and success of the liberal international order will be dependent on the will and resolve of the West to fix its problems and promote its interests. The West has done it before, in far more dire circumstances, and I expect that it will succeed again.

Abraham M. Denmark is Senior Project Director for Political and Security Affairs at The National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). The views expressed are his own.