NEW YORK, NY—From Davos in January to New York this month, 2017 has already seen its fair share of global summitry. The backdrop: weary global publics are rejecting globalization and looking inward. Starting with Brexit in the United Kingdom and following with the election of President Donald J. Trump in the United States, the very countries that founded the world’s preeminent organizations after 1945 are now rejecting what helped make them dominant in the first place. The NATO summit and the G7 and G20 meetings earlier this summer cemented the notion that there is a growing divide between allies.
In the 20th century, two books cast their shadows over the future of the human race: one was George Orwell’s novel 1984, which depicted a horrific mind-controlling totalitarian state; the other was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which represented an engineered abundance and conformity, yet still totalitarian. The latter, seems not so distant a future. Mind boggling advances in technology have created abundance and accessibility. Yet, they have also created triviality and over-consuming and spending. On one side, we have a world of consumers that don’t want for anything. On the other, extreme poverty still reigns in parts of the world despite our best efforts to eradicate it. Although Brave New World is set in the future, it deals with contemporary issues. Although it was written in 1931, it is as relevant in its lessons today as it was then.
Sales for dystopian novels were at an all-time high this year, prompting essays comparing the classics to our world today.
For more than a decade, the editors and writers at Diplomatic Courier, have been concerned with the state of the world. We have been equally concerned with our future: The World in 2050. Our series of global summits over the years have tackled Diplomacy; Philanthropy; the Global City; Jobs and Education; and much more. We don’t profess to be fortunetellers. Rather, we embrace the skills, practices, and behaviors of futurists. In the process, we’ve convened some of the world’s foremost strategic thinkers to prepare us for the world we want. And we ask: do we want a Brave New World of abundance—not exactly a utopia but a world where the advances in technology help everyone, not just those who own or invent them? Or, are we doomed to pass on a 1984-dystopian-like world to our children—one riddled with fear, horror, war, and scarcity?
Reading the news headlines, it is easy to see which world we are headed for. Geostrategic struggles; cyberwar; fast-spreading devastating diseases; poverty, and war reigned large on our news feeds since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). And we have been quick to offer commentary on how we’ve failed. But the SDGs, have galvanized support like no other time in history. The Global Goals have recruited everyone to solution-making. We don’t expect government heads to solve the biggest problems humanity faces; we have found that every single individual is empowered to be a solutionist. And our cover story, penned by my co-solutionist Andrew Mack, says just that: the solution for the SDGs is in front of us, because it is us.