The global recession of 2008 continued for two decades, resulting in a devastating Global Depression by 2030. This financial collapse was flamed by the crises that resulted from global climate change.
Wreaking havoc around the world, rising sea levels, tsunamis and floods saw an influx of refugees from low lying and coastal locations to already overcrowded inland urban centres. By 2025, the world was groaning with the weight of too many people, many disenfranchised and poor, with dwindling employment opportunities.
These crises and associated social problems put unmatched pressure on the global economy, which had not had the chance to recover from the GFC. Aid to devastated countries was no longer an option for developed countries or global agencies. The little money still available to governments was used to try and deal with domestic issues of unemployment, health care, education, food security and crime.
In this environment, the global citizens movement that had reared its head in 2008 began to increase in popularity as people started looking for vaild alternatives to a system that was crumbling. Right wing parties and leaders began to lose their power base as the world mood turned away from what had always been labeled as “human behavior” in the search for a new way.
Although climate change was the catalyst for the final death knoll of the existing order, it was the re-awakened need for spirituality in those troubled times that provided the basis for a universal change in attitudes. Religion began to flourish again, but the dominant form of religion was non-denominational, unilateral spirituality gatherings that preached care for each other, the environment and mother earth.
Nations opened their borders even further and the world decided they could only combat such a huge global challenge by cooperating on a global level. A new level of global unity was sought and reached by 2050.
By 2030, new global organisations replaced the United Nations, the World Bank and other established International agencies. The world’s best future scenario planners are combined with the world’s best in each academic discipline to form non-political, cross cultural agencies. These are run by the world’s finest interdisciplinarians- a skill highly sought after once the world tilted on its axis. These groups were set up to look after particular issues around the world:
Climate change- where humanity was headed and the best ways to deal with it
Investment in alternative energies- using the best locations around the world to install the most relevant technologies
Sharing of resources and food on a global level
Global policing of corporate behavior around the world
Free trade and safety nets or developing countries
In 2030, the Global Monetary Fund was replaced with the “Stewardship Society” which presided over a small yet precious international pot of money. Their role was to research, understand and decide how to best invest; in what, how and then to decide the fairest way to distribute the benefits globally. With so little money, the benefits of this investment were often IP, technology and resources. Bartering became a way of life, not just in the new communities but also between countries.
The “Stewardship Society” had to make incredibly difficult decisions- they looked at where the money had historically been spent and whether this spending was still valid or even possible in the context of the global depression and limited money. The first areas in which funding was cut were: defense, space programs, gaols, large consumerist meccas, and the policing of illegal drugs.
Instead, the “Stewardship Society” decided to invest in: technology, alternative energies, genetically modified food, creating sustainable communities and service industries across the world.
The people from the citizens movement worked with already established volunteer groups, charity groups and local councils to set up community cells around the world and they became the new authority. By 2040, Government as we had known it for 1000 years was dead.
However, not everybody agreed with this new “Modcomm” world (Modern Communism). Many multi-national companies did not want to see their power and money taken away from them and so created black markets for everything from clothing to technology. However because of the community style of living, it was hard for individuals to acquire new goods without the rest of the community knowing. Therefore social stewardship worked to keep the black market a small and shaky industry.
With little money, hard decisions had to be made. For crime, there was a global “3 strikes and you’re out policy”. Instead of spending money on gaols, small islands for criminals were set aside. They were given a “starter pack” for a self-sustaining community. They were given 3 years to make it work. If after this time they had a workable community, that island became part of the global property and the workers could choose to either return to the mainland or can stay on if they wished.
A small, armed global security force was formed to deal with hot spots around the world, but for the most part, policing became the domain of the small social groups now established around the world.
Drugs in 2050 were hardly an issue. They were just a part of the commodities that the world produced and shared. They were regulated under global legislation, however each country and community cell were free to define the details of this regulation. Most of the regulations used age, price, distribution outlets and format as their regulation tools. Some drugs that were geographically specific went back to being grown and used as they were thousands of years ago. The Bolivians happily chewed Coca leaves, Peyote was once again grown and used in South America, and marijuana was grown and used by pretty much the entire population. However abuse of drugs and alcohol dramatically declined from the level it had reached in early 2000.
The theme of 2050 had become social responsibility. People reclaimed the concept of personal, family and community responsibility and this extended to the attitude towards alcohol and drugs. Rather than a punishment view, people took a harm reduction view of drugs. In this new community-based world, families once again rose in importance as the centre of the communities. However the concept of family now included many more people than the traditional nuclear family paradigm. Monitoring became the tool for dealing with abuse. Early detection and support (based on the Beyond Blue campaign set up in 2000) is at the basis of treatment, with education at the core of the prevention strategy.
Drug use is slowly decreasing as community and connection takes the place of loneliness and despair. The future is full of hope, but we know the pendulum swings and perhaps a new crisis point is just ahead of us which will see the fragile equilibrium that the world has managed to create, shattered in a new wave of individualism and greed.