Shell Global Scenarios to 2025

I can't remember how I was put onto this book, perhaps it was even a recommendation by Amazon? Regardless, Shell Global Scenarios to 2025 was a pretty interesting read.

Now, the first thing to be prepared for, is that this is presented in the style of a companies' annual report or text-book, so if you are hoping to pickup a gripping novel, this book isn't what you are looking for.

Shell Global Scenarios to 2025 provides us with an outlook on future scenarios influenced by the dominant forces of our times. The Shell website provides text from Shell Global Scenarios to 2050 and has a good executive summary available for download of the Scenarios to 2025.

Shell Global Scenarios to 2025 is particularly influenced by Enron and 9/11. In the book, we are taken through three forces at play:
The three core 'scenarios' influenced by those forces, with the associated trade offs between the above 'unachievable utopias', we are presented with are:
I'd love to read the 08-09 reports because the GFC will likely show a hybrid of the Low Trust Globalisation & Flags scenarios to dominate how we operate as a society during the period 2008-2011.

Of particular note has been how Europe and China are following the US lead on stimulus packages and the ensuring regulatory overhauls as forecasted.

Interestingly, little of the impact foreseen from Enron has occurred to date, but I suspect with Obama in office and the GFC still bubbling along, that will change rapidly in 2009.

The Middle East scenario has played out more, as you would expect given the troop levels of past years. This too has played out more along the lines outline in the Flags scenario - "a turbulent Middle East driven by conflict. Low oil prices provide additional incentives to attempt cautious reform, but this is bitterly contested. Groups unite against common enemies rather than for common objectives".

Both the Low Trust Globalisation & Flags scenarios review the cost of compliance and how that is likely to negatively impact trade. I'd argue the GFC definitely puts a dent in much of the Open Doors scenario panning out, and puts a question on how the Global Environmental Movement (GEM) with externalities such as carbon costs priced in via trading schemes will progress - if at all.

An an interesting point in the Flags scenario is the economic growth outlook. Despite the scenario being conceptually driven by security concerns, it is interesting to see how today's economic situation makes much of these hypothesis likely, including:
Conversely, some of the elements they predict will be unlikely, specifically "the reduced mobility of capital ensures emerging markets (BRICs) receive less foreign direct investment". I'd argue with the US domestic market unlikely to experience real growth in the coming 2 years, multi-nationals will look more intently towards emerging markets for growth.

Finally, one of the most fascinating reviews is between India and China. The historical comparisons of manufacturing value add, rural populations, IT&C services exports & numbers of computers per 1000 people was quite eye opening and provided good data for their summary - that India's sustained growth to 2025 will not be as great as China's (4-6%% to China's 6-8%). Regardless, it is clear both India & China will be the dominant growth engines in my lifetime. That is particularly enforced by the views on African futures and the current drain of critical skills they are experiencing.

In all, an interesting but reasonably technical read.

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posted by Lee Gale @ 4:30 AM,

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