Project Syndicate commentators make predictions for 2024:
Recent years have underscored the importance of recognizing and elevating community voices, and have highlighted the consequences of ignoring them. Nonetheless, as we enter 2024, I expect we will continue to ignore the voices of the many – both globally and within many countries – at our peril. The neglect of key constituencies poses a threat across a wide range of issues, from gun safety and reproductive rights in the US, to the quest for a ceasefire in Gaza, the advancement of women’s rights worldwide, and urgent calls for peace and food security in places like Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Our failure to listen and respond perpetuates the status quo, in which women and children, disproportionately affected by conflict and insecurity, suffer the most. As long as their narratives and experiences are ignored, global disparities and injustices will only deepen. But if we look at the new year as an opportunity to engage with new voices in making decisions and crafting policies, we can reintroduce the possibility of legitimate governance.
In the coming year and beyond, we will see increasing global inequality, especially between developed and developing countries. Deglobalization has brought back protectionism and industrial policy. Owing to its massive subsidies and high interest rates, the US is attracting a significant share of global foreign direct investment and financial flows, while the Global South suffers from deficits associated with rising dollar-denominated import bills for food and other essentials. Although the demand-pull inflation will fall gradually overall, the costs of some products will remain high, especially those most affected by superpower rivalries and the broader reconfiguration of global value chains…
ISABELLA M. WEBER
We are living in an age of overlapping emergencies. The past year broke temperature records and caused much climate-driven distress in a wide range of domains affecting human well-being, including agricultural production, transportation, and shipping – not least through the Panama Canal, where drought has caused major delays. Such distress has direct implications for supply chains, as do the horrifying wars in Gaza, Ukraine, and elsewhere. Deaths from violent conflicts reached a higher number in 2023 than they have in decades. Meanwhile, the world’s richest family dynasties increased their wealth by more than 40% in 2023, and S&P 500 companies reaped profits that would have broken records before the recent pandemic-era profit explosions and inflationary pressures. In these turbulent times, it is an enormous challenge to make reliable projections. But one thing is clear: The Great Moderation is history.
While major breakthroughs in digital and green technologies, climate financing, and on other important fronts could occur in 2024, there is also the potential for breakdown, given deepening political polarization and the escalating conflicts in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Further progress depends on what happens at the ballot box. More than 70 elections, in which there will be more than 4.2 billion eligible voters, are planned for 2024. At a time when the search for common ground and opportunities for cooperation are more urgent than ever, populists will continue to weaponize social media, policy levers, and whatever else they can to win a critical mass of votes.