By Robert J. Shapiro
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Additional info for Futurecast: How Superpowers, Populations, and Globalization Will Change the Way You Live and Work
Instead, the natural course is that the slice of their societies' incomes and wealth that w i l l be claimed for public pensions and health-care services w i l l increase, forcing u p taxes and slowing investment, w h i c h in turn w i l l d a m p e n their g r o w t h even more. T h e O E C D sees France's economy g r o w i n g by barely 1 . 5 percent a year by 2 0 2 0 , and that assumes that the next decade of globalization w i l l exact no greater costs on THE GLOBAL BLUEPRINT 31 French competitiveness and e m p l o y m e n t than today.
If the chal lenge involved just the pressures of globalization, they could cut taxes and shift resources to education and investment w i t h o u t w o r r y i n g so m u c h about pension and health-care costs. It's the convergence of these t w o powerful and largely unalterable forces that is creating consequences that democratic g o v ernments find so difficult to m a n a g e . Unless most of E u r o p e and J a p a n can convince their people to accept changes that they w i l l certainly consider rad ical, by 2 0 2 0 they w i l l find themselves in a period of real decline.
In both instances, all that globaliza tion d i d not stop the world's major commercial and trading powers from w a g i n g terrible wars on each other—once there was more than one country w i t h the capacity to do so w i t h hope of success. E v e r y day of the next fifteen years and beyond, U . S . and Chinese m i l i t a r y planners w i l l contemplate the lesson of history that even deep economic relationships do not preclude wars between the parties, once they're each other's near peers in military power.