In many respects, the 21st Century has – so far – been a time of unprecedented prosperity and progress.

Yet, strange to say, it is also a time of great fear. We are told that we are must be afraid of global warming, of terrorism, of recession, and of every other story that happens to be on the television news.

However, the list of global threats that might have a real impact on most businesses is not the same as the one about which politicians and the media would have us panic.

For example, few businesses are likely to suffer any substantial loss due to terrorism, most have time to plan for any climate change that might be on the cards, and even the very real danger of worldwide recession offers opportunities as well as threats to those businesses which are prepared for it.

Against that, there are other global trends or possibilities which could well have a negative impact on private business over the next few years, but which are getting relatively little attention.

Here is what we should be worrying about:

1   Possible Trade Wars – a typical panic reaction to the threat of recession by economically illiterate populist politicians

2   Overpopulation – the really inconvenient truth is that the number of human beings, not our carbon consumption, is the real threat to the environment

3   Centralised Government – the dangerous combination of high technology and encroachment on civil liberties that threatens the economic freedoms essential to business, and, incidentally, to everyone else as well

4   China – all depends on politburo members, about whom we know next to nothing, continuing to open up markets while still maintaining political stability, a very difficult balancing act

5   Energy – oil prices and the recent Russian threats to gas supplies to Europe should remind us how reliant we are on relatively cheap power, and how quickly it may disappear

6   Cyber Attack – any threat to the internet is a now a threat to the commercial infrastructure of the whole world.


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