Pretty interesting. Most of the predictions are based on their being 8 Billion people on the planet and most of the large trends continuing on at their current pace. It doesn’t really dig into what our day to day lives will be like, except that America won’t be the top dog anymore.
So what will the Americans do when the Chinese hegemony further exposes its full body? Not much. I believe in a friendly resolution of the potential conflict between China and the United States, because the United States also has enough resources inside its boundaries to run a self-sufficient shop for its inhabitants. It is true that the country currently depends on vast oil imports from abroad, but like China, the United States has enough coal and shale gas to run its economy for a long time (assuming little real GDP growth in the country over the next 40 years, as I do). It has large agricultural muscle (more than sufficient for its domestic population—and if Americans decide to eat more healthily, also for quite a bit of biofuels). Furthermore the United States has some space that will be livable after climate change. Water may be a problem where it is currently needed, but activities can and will be moved if that is required to have enough water. And GMO crops will be used large-scale to reduce water scarcity, despite their drawback. If the American democracy finally decides to try to solve its obvious societal problems in a collaborative manner, the U.S. investment capacity is huge and the problems solvable.
I think the latter sentence contains the essence of the U.S. fate over the next 40 years. The United States could maintain its hegemony if it decided to do so. But I don’t think the American system of governance will be capable. Quick, bipartisan decision making is certainly not a U.S. strength. And I see little that will change this fact on a 40-year horizon. Since the country is already rich, and the resources are there at least for living at a slightly lower footing, the United States can allow itself to slide into a secondary role, as a provincial and self-content country. Much like Europe smoothly moved down to second rank after the two World Wars.