Polycrisis as a result of the conflict in Ukraine
It remains a mystery when and how it will end. However, lack of energy and food security, inflation and economic downturn can cause “Ukraine fatigue” in the West. Kyiv is calling on the US and NATO to send more advanced weapons, including long-range weapons like the army’s tactical missile systems and anti-missile defenses. However, some members of the US Congress want to limit support for Ukraine.
growing food insecurity
The World Food Program (WFP) has identified a “ring of fire” of hunger and malnutrition that stretches across the globe from Central America and Haiti through North Africa, the Sahel, Ghana, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. South, and then east to the Horn of Africa, Syria, and Yemen, and extending to Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The number of people facing severe food insecurity has risen from 135 million to 345 million since 2019. Even if the conflict in Ukraine is resolved peacefully and future grain supplies are not threatened, food shortages will continue to exist. In addition to conflicts, climate change is causing more severe droughts and changing precipitation patterns. They are the leading cause of food insecurity and are unlikely to be effectively mitigated by 2023.
Coup and confrontation with Iran
As with the conflict in Ukraine, an unprecedented popular uprising could turn Iran into a polycrisis. A new dangerous conflict between the US and/or Israel and Tehran is not ruled out. The nuclear deal with Iran, which came close to success just a few months ago, is now dormant, if not dead. Iran is ramping up its production of highly enriched uranium to 60% from the 90% needed to make a bomb, and in a few weeks it will have enough material to make a charge, with a warhead delivered in two years or less.
Worsening debt crisis in developing countries
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has warned that 54 low- and middle-income countries have “serious debt problems.” These countries concentrate 18% of the world population, more than 50% of people living in extreme poverty and 28 of the 50 regions most vulnerable to climate change. The plight of most developing countries bodes ill for achieving the UN sustainable development goals by 2030. By 2023, however, the developing world is likely to experience more poverty, fewer improvements in education, and less ability to deal with climate change.
growing world debt
According to the International Financial Institute, the corporate debt of non-financial companies ($88 trillion, around 98% of global GDP) and the combined debt of governments, corporations and households ($290 trillion by the third quarter of 2022) have been increasing over the last four or five years. .
A polycrisis of higher interest rates, a strong dollar, a recession in Europe, a weak Chinese economy and uncertainty around Ukraine are likely to trigger another regional or even global financial crisis.
Deepening of the global cooperation deficit
Global risks, ranging from climate change and least-developed-country debt to space debris, are rising as competition between major powers intensifies. This makes it difficult to achieve cooperation on common global issues. In addition, the multilateral trading system of the WTO is seriously eroding. Other institutions are ineffective. The costs of protectionism and the self-sufficiency efforts of the great powers will slow down the economic growth of all countries.
Technopolarized and fragmented system
With semiconductors playing an increasing role in all consumer products, not just electronics or high-tech equipment, markets for all manufactured products are likely to become fragmented with higher costs and fewer choices for the consumers. In the long term, the division of the world economy into two autonomous blocs – Western and Chinese – will cause a drop in world GDP of at least 5%, which, according to the WTO, is worse than the damage of the 2007 financial crisis. and 2008. The IMF model suggests that “growth prospects for emerging economies in this scenario would worsen, with some facing double-digit welfare losses.”
Worsening effects of climate change
Despite the increasing frequency of extreme weather events affecting all countries, not just the poor, climate change remains a priority for the industrialized West. Most scientists believe that the world will soon reach a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius. The planet is on track for a possible 2.2 degree Celsius rise unless countries commit to a 43% reduction in total greenhouse gas emissions. Hot weather means longer droughts and floods, as well as dangerous changes in rainfall patterns that can reduce crop yields.
Deepening tensions between the United States and China
Despite the US-China summit in November, which made efforts to stabilize relations, fundamental differences persist over Taiwan, technological norms and standards, trade, human rights and disputed territories in the South Seas and eastern China.
A More Dangerous Situation on the Korean Peninsula
If another North Korean nuclear test occurs and Beijing vetoes UN Security Council sanctions aimed at punishing Pyongyang, the division in US-China relations is likely to deepen. The DPRK’s arsenal is already far larger than is needed for mutual deterrence with the US and ROK. In certain circumstances, a crisis or clash between the North and the South may arise.