Shapiro discusses new book, Futurecast
On December 2nd, the Georgetown Center was pleased to host a talk by Senior Policy Scholar Robert Shapiro. Shapiro discussed his new book Futurecast: How Superpowers, Populations, and Globalization Will Change the Way You Live and Work.
Shapiro’s recent work discusses three global developments that make our time a unique historical period: globalization of the economy, demographic changes in the population, and a change in the structure of geopolitics.
Dr. Shapiro discussed in detail how certain shifts over the past 50 years have caused some unique changes in the world. First, he explained how manufacturing has moved to the developing world, replacing commodity-based economies and contributing to the accumulation of new wealth in developing countries. This development has several implications, including much higher pricing competition in manufactured goods and the transition to service-based economies as the purview of the “developed” world. Second, populations across the world have recently seen an unprecedentedly large generation followed by an unprecedentedly small generation. These forces have impacted national savings rates and workforce sizes, throwing economies into turmoil and making planning extremely difficult. Third, with the collapse of the Soviet Union, there is no clear global balance of power. The speed of this transition has been problematic, as non-superpowers that had effectively ceded national defense to superpowers are unprepared for the new geopolitical structure.
Shapiro spoke about how these three trends relate to specific challenges for the United States, focusing on implications for the health care system. He emphasized how global competition for scarce health care supplies, a growing elderly population, and shrinking international resources available for health care improvements all contribute to our system’s expense.