Extreme poverty could end by 2030, but the planet might pay for it

Extreme poverty could end by 2030, but the planet might pay for it

As the world gets richer, competition for resources like water and livestock will likely increase. Photo: Erin Gray for MercyCorps
As the world gets richer, competition for resources like water and livestock will likely increase. Photo: Erin Gray for MercyCorps

The world’s soaring wealth will nearly wipe out poverty worldwide by 2030, according to the National Intelligence Council. But as people want more stuff, the fight for resources is just heating up.

The "global forecast," compiled by the council and drawing on information from all U.S. Intelligence agencies, is due out by the end of the year and highlights projected global trends related to national security. And for those currently living in poverty, the forecast looks good.

Christopher Kojm, the chief of the council, said that “We see the rise of the global middle class going from one to two billion” by 2030, and the number of people living on less than $1 per day will drop from one billion to half of that, reports the Washington Post. Rapid growth in emerging economies, particularly Asian nations including China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, will continue to drive the expansion of the global consumer class.

“Even if some of the most dire predictions of economic upheaval” prove true, the intelligence council still sees “several hundred million people ... entering the middle class,” Kojm said.

That’s the good news. But it won’t come without a cost, as the council also predicts that demand for resources, including water, food and the land needed for food production, will spur heated conflict. Kojm predicted food demand will rise by 50 percent in the next 18 years, saying “middle-class people want middle-class diets, which are heavy in meat, requiring more water and grain to produce”, according to the U.K Daily Mail. “Nearly 50 percent of humanity will live in water-stressed regions by 2030,” he added.

But a richer population may also drive new technological developments that could help close the gap between food and water shortages and need, according to Kojm.

    Other predictions from the National Intelligence Council for global trends by 2030:
  • 60 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, compared with 50 percent today.
  • Overall global population will rise from 7.1 billion to 8.3 billion
  • Demand for resources will increase much faster than overall population growth
  • Education levels will rise, and graduation rates for women will surpass rates for men
  • Richer populations will have lower tolerance for authoritarian regimes, and will be more able to challenge them.

Related: “Who makes up the global middle class? Economists aren’t sure”
“World’s ‘economic center’ races East, thanks to ‘middleweight’ cities”

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