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Energy, Economic Growth, and Geopolitical FuturesEight Long-Range Scenarios$
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Evan Hillebrand and Stacy Closson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028899

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028899.001.0001

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Ambition Fuels Rivalry

Ambition Fuels Rivalry

(p.133) 8 Ambition Fuels Rivalry
Energy, Economic Growth, and Geopolitical Futures

Evan Hillebrand

Stacy Closson

The MIT Press

This seventh scenario is marked by low energy prices, strong growth, and global disharmony. Rapid technological change particularly in energy and nanotechnology is assumed to produce strong economic growth in the OECD countries, while improved economic governance propels growth in the non-OECD countries, particularly China, India, Brazil, and Turkey. At first, the world economy recovers from the derailment of 2008 and China asserts its new-found power against its neighbors and its great-power rival, the United States. However, growing energy abundance eventually creates geopolitical problems. Strong economic growth and cheap energy fuel ambitions by many countries to assert themselves internationally, especially to escape from American hegemony but also to settle old scores with regional neighbors. Initially, this leads to military conflict and a nuclear arms build-up in South Asia. Internal conflict in Africa results from vast new resource wealth, which corrupts governments and weakens political and economic systems. While China resorts to military force to challenge America’s power in Asia, the primary policy tools to escape American hegemony are tools of soft power, financial statecraft, and cyber attacks. In the end, nations in the East and West join two major blocs – the League of Democracies or the Shanghai Pact.

Keywords:   Low Energy Prices, Strong Growth, Global Disharmony, Multipolarity

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