Forecasts show that Western industrial nations will become less important to the world economy in future and will be replaced by what used to be known as emerging economies and developing countries. The shortage of skilled workers and demographic changes will see an ageing and reduction of the populations in Europe and Japan – while the populations of countries like Nigeria and Malawi will rise considerably and keep the average age low. In addition, the belief in progress in the Western world is steadily ceding to pessimism about the future and criticism of technology, while a new, young and educated elite and globally competitive companies in Asia and Africa ensure a new self-confidence. Even infrastructural deficits, such as in the healthcare system or transport sector, can be seen as an opportunity for a genuine rethink thanks to new technologies and digitalization. The fast, blanket distribution of the mobile internet in Africa serves as an example of how entire steps of technology can be skipped. Based on the way they are used, these contrasting developments can lead to significant power shifts. However, migration caused by poverty and war will continue to see people travelling to Europe over the coming years in search of work. New concepts for a rapid integration into society and into the labour market represent a more sustainable solution than building a wall around Europe. After all, the borders beyond Earth are also shifting as we continue to discover more about space, launch space tourism and take raw materials from outer space.
These are the macro-trends of the Continental Shift:
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