We encourage everyone to read the above article. The synopsis below is taken almost verbatim from it and we claim no originality on this one. We felt the information was too important not to share. I encourage you to pass it on to your family members who are in their late teens and early twenties. They can benefit the most from it.

  1. China Becomes number One Economic Power: "China will outstrip the United States as the leading economic power before 2030, but that America will remain an indispensable world leader, bolstered in part by an era of energy independence."
  2. Russia Falls Behind: "Russia’s clout will wane, as will the economic strength of other countries reliant on oil for revenues, the assessment says"
  3. Majority of World Becomes Middle Class: “For the first time, a majority of the world’s population will not be impoverished, and the middle classes will be the most important social and economic sector in the vast majority of countries around the world.”
  4. Half of World's Population to Suffer Shortages: "At the same time, it warns, half of the world’s population will probably be living in areas that suffer from severe shortages of fresh water, meaning that management of natural resources will be a crucial component of global national security efforts."
  5. 15 Countries May Fail: "At least 15 countries are “at high risk of state failure” by 2030, the report predicts, among them Afghanistan and Pakistan, but also Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda and Yemen."
  6. World Will be Safest if U.S. and China Work Together: "The best-case situation for global security until 2030, according to the study, would be a growing political partnership between the United States and China. But it could take a crisis to bring Washington and Beijing together — something like a nuclear standoff between India and Pakistan resolved only by bold cooperation between the United States and China."
  7. Risk of Conflict Within Countries Will Decline: "The risk of conflict within a state — like a civil war or an insurgency — is expected to decline in Latin America, but will remain high in sub-Saharan Africa, in parts of the Middle East and South Asia, and in some Asia-Pacific island hot spots, the study warns."
  8. World Fragmentation Increases Risk: “A more fragmented international system increases the risks” of conflict between states, the study says. “Additionally, increased resource competition, spread of lethal technologies and spillover from regional conflicts increase the potential for interstate conflicts.”
  9. Increased Risk of Nuclear Weapons Use:"Most worrisome — and already a part of the global security dynamic — is an assessment that future wars in Asia and the Middle East could include nuclear weapons."
  10. Slow Growth Countries: "Other important demographic trends will be aging populations in Europe, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, which could slow their economies further. The report warns that Russia’s economy will join those places in experiencing “slow relative declines.” "
  11. U.S. to be Energy Independent: "The United States will benefit from its domestic oil and natural gas supplies and new technologies to tap them, allowing the nation to become energy independent and even a net exporter of fuel."
  12. Global Economic Growth Depends on Developing Countries: "In general, it found, “the health of the global economy increasingly will be linked to how well the developing world does — more so than the traditional West.”"
  13. Major Developing Nations: "In addition to China, the developing nations that “will become especially important to the global economy” include Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa and Turkey."
Not all items included in this forecast will come to fruition. While planning for the next seventeen years everyone should draw their own conclusions about the future and the report prepared by the National Intelligence Council can be a valuable tool in this process.

Click here for a summary of the entire NIC report and here are there conclusions.

Update: December 14, 2012  Being energy independent by 2030 does not mean energy prices will remain stable. Over the same time period it is expected that worldwide demand for energy will increase by 50%.