Last week, we published our annual forecast, which goes on for 40 pages. The length is necessary, but it risks obscuring the fundamental question: What has happened to us? From Shanghai to Moscow to Brussels to Washington, there is a sense that something has gone wrong with the world, with our nations, with our friends and even with ourselves.
The feeling has permeated our societies. We have gone from a belief in the end of history, in a final reconciliation of all our major contradictions, to a sense of failure, foreboding and betrayal. The sense is everywhere, and it came upon us with startling speed. A decade is a second in the history of humanity. The new year is the future, and the global sense of increasing failure will grow. But our future is embedded in the past, and the past must be grasped.
A Decade of Fear
Humans cycle between complacency and fear. When the time for fear comes, we magnify the threat. It’s a natural response; after all, when things go wrong, we hum