Global Trends 2040: A More Contested World   [open pdf - 16MB]

From the Foreword: "Welcome to the 7th edition of the National Intelligence Council's Global Trends report. Published every four years since 1997, Global Trends assesses the key trends and uncertainties that will shape the strategic environment for the United States during the next two decades. [...] We constructed this report around two central organizing principles: identifying and assessing broad forces that are shaping the future strategic environment, and then exploring how populations and leaders will act on and respond to the forces. Based on those organizing principles, we built the analysis in three general sections. First, we explore 'structural forces' in four core areas: demographics, environment, economics, and technology. We selected these areas because they are foundational in shaping future dynamics and relatively universal in scope, and because we can offer projections with a reasonable degree of confidence based on available data and evidence. The second section examines how these structural forces interact and intersect with other factors to affect 'emerging dynamics' at three levels of analysis: individuals and society, states, and the international system. The analysis in this section involves a higher degree of uncertainty because of the variability of human choices that will be made in the future. We focus on identifying and describing the key emerging dynamics at each level, including what is driving them and how they might evolve over time. Finally, the third section identifies several key uncertainties and uses these to create five 'future scenarios' for the world in 2040. These scenarios are not intended to be predictions but to widen the aperture as to the possibilities, exploring various combinations of how the structural forces, emerging dynamics, and key uncertainties could play out."

Report Number:
NIC 2021-02339; National Intelligence Council Report No. 2021-02339
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Office of the Director of National Intelligence: https://www.odni.gov/
Media Type:
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Listed on April 21, 2021 [Critical Releases]