The Next Global Superpower Isn't Who You Think | Ian Bremmer | TED | Summary and Q&A

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June 14, 2023
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The Next Global Superpower Isn't Who You Think | Ian Bremmer | TED

TL;DR

The world order is shifting due to Russia's decline, China's rise, and globalization's impact on citizens, resulting in a leaderless world but with three emerging orders: geopolitical, economic, and digital.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How has the dynamic of power shifted over time in the world order?

The world order has experienced significant shifts, moving from a bipolar system during the Cold War, where the US and Soviet Union dominated, to a unipolar system with the US as the sole superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Currently, we live in a leaderless world where power is distributed among multiple actors.

Q: What are the three factors responsible for the geopolitical tensions we see today?

The three primary factors driving geopolitical tensions are Russia's decline, China's rise, and the impact of globalization on citizens in wealthy democracies. Russia's exclusion from Western institutions, China's failure to assimilate into US-led institutions, and the growing dissatisfaction of citizens left behind by globalization have all contributed to current tensions.

Q: What are the three emerging world orders?

The emerging world orders are a global security order, a global economic order, and a digital order. The global security order is currently unipolar, with the US as the dominant player. The global economic order is multipolar, with power shared among the US, China, the European Union, India, and Japan. The digital order, run by technology companies, is becoming increasingly influential.

Q: How are technology companies shaping the world order?

Technology companies play a significant role in shaping the world order, particularly in the digital realm. They determine access to information, influence public opinion through social media platforms, and hold an unprecedented amount of power and data. Depending on their alignment with governments and their business models, they can contribute to a technology cold war, a digital global order, or a techno-polar order.

Summary

In this video, the speaker discusses the shifting dynamics of global power and the emergence of three different world orders. He explains that the current global security order is unipolar, with the United States and its allies being the most powerful players. The global economic order, on the other hand, is multipolar, with countries like the United States, China, the European Union, India, and Japan playing significant roles. However, the most important upcoming order is the digital order, which is not controlled by governments but by technology companies. The speaker raises concerns about the power held by these companies and poses questions about their accountability, use of artificial intelligence, data collection, and advertising models that can potentially harm democracy and society.

Questions & Answers

Q: What were the two dominant world orders in the past?

In the past, the world was characterized by two dominant world orders. The first was a bipolar world, with the United States and the Soviet Union on opposite sides of the Wall. The second was a unipolar world, with the United States as the sole superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Q: What led to the increased complexity in the global power dynamics?

There are three main factors that have contributed to the increased complexity in global power dynamics. First, Russia was not integrated into Western institutions, leading to its decline and resentment. Second, China's integration into US-led institutions did not result in them becoming American, leading to discomfort in the United States. Finally, globalization left many citizens in wealthy democracies feeling left behind, resulting in a sense of illegitimacy towards governments and leaders.

Q: What are the three main reasons behind the current geopolitical tension and conflict?

The three main reasons behind the current geopolitical tension and conflict are Russia's decline and resentment, China's growing power and assertiveness, and the sense of disaffection and illegitimacy felt by citizens in wealthy democracies due to globalization.

Q: What kind of world order can we expect in the next ten years?

In the next ten years, we can expect three different world orders. The first is a unipolar global security order, with the United States and its allies being the most powerful players. The second is a multipolar global economic order, with countries like the United States, China, the European Union, India, and Japan playing significant roles. The most important upcoming order is the digital order, where technology companies wield immense power and influence over global affairs.

Q: Who holds the most power in the current global security order?

The United States and its allies hold the most power in the current global security order. Being the sole country capable of sending its military personnel and equipment to every corner of the world, the United States dominates this order.

Q: How is the global economic order shared among different countries?

The global economic order is shared among different countries. The United States remains a robust global economy, but it cannot use its dominant military position to control other countries economically. China, on the other hand, has a growing economic influence, and many countries want access to its market. The European Union has the largest common market and sets the rules, while countries like India and Japan also play a role. Overall, the global economic order is multipolar.

Q: What tensions arise between the global security and economic orders?

Tensions arise between the global security and economic orders because the United States leverages its military power to try to align more of the world's economies towards it. China, on the other hand, seeks to use its commercial dominance to gain diplomatic alignment. Countries like Japan, Europe, and India aim to prevent the domination of either order by the other. This competition between the two orders mostly succeeds in preventing their domination.

Q: What is the upcoming dominant world order?

The upcoming dominant world order is the digital order. This order is not controlled by governments but by technology companies. These companies have immense power and influence over various aspects of our lives and can shape our identities, communication, and access to information.

Q: What are the potential outcomes of the digital order?

The potential outcomes of the digital order depend on the actions of technology companies. If China and the United States exert more control over the digital world and align their companies with their respective governments, a technology cold war could arise, splitting the digital order. On the other hand, if technology companies maintain global business models and competition between the digital and physical worlds, a new form of globalization, a digital global order, could emerge. Alternatively, if technology companies become increasingly dominant and governments weaken in their governing capacity, a techno-polar order could emerge, with technology companies becoming the dominant actors in global affairs.

Q: What concerns arise regarding the power of technology companies?

Several concerns arise regarding the power of technology companies. Firstly, how will they act accountably as they release new and powerful artificial intelligence? Secondly, how will they handle the unprecedented amount of data they collect on individuals and the environment? Lastly, the persisting advertising models driven by these companies raise concerns about the negative impacts on society, including the spread of hate, misinformation, and the erosion of democracy.

Takeaways

The world is currently experiencing a leaderless state, with shifting power dynamics and the emergence of multiple world orders. The current global security order is unipolar, led by the United States, while the global economic order is multipolar, with various countries playing significant roles. However, the most crucial upcoming order is the digital order, dominated by technology companies. These companies hold immense power over our lives and raise concerns about accountability, data usage, and the negative impacts of advertising models. The outcomes of the digital order will shape the future, determining whether we have a world of limitless opportunity or a world without freedom.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The world order has shifted from a bipolar world (US vs. Soviet Union) to a unipolar world (US as the sole superpower) and now to a leaderless world.

  • The three factors driving geopolitical tension are Russia's decline, China's rise, and the impact of globalization on citizens.

  • There are three emerging orders: a unipolar global security order dominated by the US, a multipolar global economic order with shared power, and a digital order driven by technology companies.

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