Almost in the mid-way point of this decade, this year ahead, 2024, could well define our future trends for this half of the 21st century. With high geopolitical uncertainties and leaders seeking mandate from their electorates to give them the right to rule, we are at an interesting intersection in our contemporary history.
Let’s look at issues that have the potential to define us.
- US elections: This could singularly be the most important event of 2024. As the Republicans decide on who their candidate will be to challenge the current Democrat President Joe Biden, the front runner seems to be former President Donald Trump. If his four years of Presidency (2016-20) were any indication, he would be a President who would polarise – both domestically and internationally. A win for Trump in 2024 could lead to a more extreme and divisive political environment.
- Indian elections: The ruling BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi is a shoo-in to win the 2024 election, locking in their government for another 5 years. Since being elected in 2014, the BJP government has been applauded for their strong economic policies propelling India to become the world’s fifth-largest economy by GDP, giving it an important clout in international forums. Yet it has also been criticised for allowing a rise of Hindu fundamentalism which has had an impact on India’s secular fabric and democratic principles. But this could well be PM Modi’s last election. He would be 79 years old when the next elections are held. As to how he wishes to leave his legacy will be interesting to observe in the next few years.
- Geopolitical challenges: With the Ukraine-Russia conflict now about to enter its third year and the Middle East a powder keg, geopolitical volatility is high. A third front opening up, such as China v Taiwan, or North Korea V Japan, will seriously test global diplomacy.
- Artificial Intelligence: Just as the Internet revolutionised the way we live, work and play, AI is the next frontier to be scaled. Technology grows exponentially, and usually advances faster than gatekeepers can figure out how to guard against any social fallout from it. This could well be a year when these guard rails are put on this new frontier technology of AI to help protect us all better.
- Frog boiling: The “boiling frog” metaphor is often used to describe a situation where one fails to react to slow and gradual change, leading to dire consequences. Everyone talks about longer summers and extreme weather conditions and yet, action on climate change is limited, with no clear direction or strategy by any leader or country. Expect more of the same in 2024.
- And yes, house prices: No yearly forecast is complete till there is a reference to house prices. Yes, with interest rates in Australia on their way down in 2024, house prices should be going up. But then when interest rates went up in 2023, house prices were expected to go down. They did not – going up instead. So, for 2024, let’s flip a coin.
Bring on 2024, it seems like an exciting novel to read.