In the latest issue of Foreign Affairs Ian Bremmer and Nouriel Roubini calls the world, not a G20 world, but rather a G0 world. In the next Foreign Affairs Gideon Rachman will restate his version of a G0 world, ie a Zero-Sum world that he voiced in November of last year.
It certainly looks a little gloomy out there. The US has gotten a warning from S&P for its economy and the Arab Spring is still in full bloom. China is demonstrating its fear of the possibility of a revolt by imprisoning the artist Ai Weiwei. Totalitarian regimes are poor in science and art. Yet another country in the EU is rearing a strongly populist EU-sceptic party the True Finns. Being almost a fifth of Finland's population they might prevent the Euro-zone from bailing out Portugal.
People are starting to talk about Asia initiating a new economy based less on consumption. This sounds good but it would not be good for the West that is dependent of Asia's consumption to regain growth to escape the jaws of debt. The combination of a Europe mired in debt and a North Africa and Middle East perhaps coming out of repressive regimes needing support is not good. Especially with immigrants to the tune of 5-10% in Europe and anti-immigrant populism.
Europe once led the way for mankind through the Malthusian ceiling and now having regained strength and confidence could be a center for research and development featuring competition between the various European countries. This is probably more possible now when the lure of the US is going down with the rise of China. If Britain, France and Germany can lead the way in competition with the US, the societal organization, that is far superior to that of Asia, can support a new revolution in science.
We are a couple of generations past the War and just have to learn to integrate the Muslims that knock on our doors from the south. Immigration provides the life blood for the economy. It is necessary to separate faith from behavior and customs. Faith is important, alien customs can be enriching at times but not as a separate system. Learning is paramount. Celebrating our heritage it is important to secure this very idea. Interest in becoming a teacher has gone down 15% the last year in Sweden. This is a very bad sign.
People in the secular Sweden are looking for something to believe in. The environmental issues came up strongly until about a year ago when the US and China put the lid on this problem. Putting more emphasis on learning and science could be beneficial for a country looking for something to unify around. After all, solutions to environmental problems are bound to be scientific. The competition from countries like South Korea where students are pushed very hard is going to be fierce. We have to find a European solution based on quality and tradition.