2023 was wild. Like absolutely, one of the wildest years in modern history. And much of this is going to continue into 2024. So without further ado, here are my predictions for our new year, ranging from economics, and politics, to global conflicts.
Honestly, the US economy has rebounded quite well from rampant inflation starting in 2022 and carrying over to 2023. Consumer prices in the summer of 2022 increased by almost 9%, whereas a few months ago, that change has tamed to 3%, a relatively normal amount. The US is seeing a very active job market, as we are looking at a post-COVID resurgence nationally. So at least in America, the economy is not a source of major worries. However, globally, do not expect a big increase in productivity (Visual Capitalist). The Black Sea Grain Deal, which ensured crop exports from Ukraine even during the war, has been discontinued. The Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea are going to see continued conflicts in the Middle East. And China is reeling from its biggest setback in decades, a housing market bubble that flashed major warning signs to its economic base. The world economy isn’t reviving too much in 2024.
Another major aspect of economics is job growth. Although concerns arise over AI breakthroughs and automation, rest assured that it will not be a major threat to jobs in 2024. First, the AI industry is nowhere near a fully capable product that can replace white-collared jobs. Many AI tools can aid businesses using data analytics, but that only creates more opportunities — many consulting firms are jumping at this — than it destroys. Others wonder if AI is going to replace humans in workshops and factories. Yet that is already happening. McKinsey & Company estimates that automation will save 30% of costs for companies, so many are already doing this. Or they are just outsourcing factory work to 3rd world countries. Regardless, the outflow of manufacturing jobs is nothing new, and unless Trump brings back his MAGA plans, it will continue without much change.
Now onto the part everyone cares about. First, the US elections.
President Biden ended 2023 with a 39% approval rating (Gallup). If that were my chances of getting into Harvard, I’d be happy. If that was my approval rating as President of the United States…
Given that, it won’t come as a surprise when almost every national poll finds Biden trailing Trump by around 1 to 2 percentage points. Considering that Biden is the only Democratic candidate, he will have almost all of the Democrat votes by default. And the way Trump has dominated primaries recently, he will likely have the majority of Republican votes. The Boston Globe estimates around 8% of Americans are swing voters, and this mighty group of individuals will decide the election, once again. They broke for Trump in 2016 and benefited Biden in 2020. So what is going to happen?
Looking back at the 2020 election, Trump’s disapproval mainly came from his handling of the COVID pandemic. In other words, he didn’t rise to the challenge of disaster. Did Biden do so during his term? Hard to say. He’s actively funding the Israel-Hamas conflict. He stayed passive regarding incoming migrants. His support of Netanyahu is dragging on a war that turned proxy conflicts into a wider regional battle, with American troops and bases attacked on the regular. All this in exchange for 5 Hamas leaders being eliminated over 4 months. Helping migrants is a very good intention, but when there is no intent on policy change and institution-wide improvements, it only leads to overcrowding of shelters and chaos, as migrants are suspected of looting and crime in Chicago. Hunter Biden is being investigated, and that only worsens his father’s image. Nobody is going to remember Joe Biden rejoining the Paris Agreement. Nobody will care about his meetings with Xi Jinping that eased US-China relations. Everyone will see the ongoing disasters that Biden is passively or actively supporting.
Even The Simpsons predict that Trump will win in 2024. The only way for him to lose is through his court trials. And of course, nothing will happen from a legal standpoint. Trump has the best lawyers to defend himself from insurrectionist claims. But if the media can focus on his legal struggles, then swing voters will hesitate to vote for a borderline criminal as president. That’s arguably the only chance Biden has at winning.
India also has elections in 2024. Narendra Modi is running against an opposition group of 26 influential leaders. But really, they aren’t a threat. Modi will win. His nationalist, authoritarian rule will continue, under which freedom of the press has been suppressed, and Indian civil liberties are at severe risk. However, Modi is the Indian Trump and his economic policies will benefit India, especially when international companies shift jobs away from China.
Speaking of China, its governmental officials record that there’s a 5.2% GDP growth in 2023. In the context of its real-estate bubbles and declining consumer spending, these data are being challenged and doubted. China created an economic miracle from the 1980s until now by using its labor and exports. With the Chinese population facing a potential decline, and internal competition growing exponentially, China is unlikely to continue this miracle. The two fundamental problems it’s facing right now are deflation and innovation. Deflation ties back to consumer confidence, which is extremely low. And when people tend to hold onto their hard-earned money, the economy isn’t stimulated. Regarding innovation, China leads the world in digital research, commodities, and usage – virtually everything there is transacted via WeChat, and facial recognition AI is implemented robustly. However, with the fall of Ma Yun and other private sector giants, entrepreneurship is severely threatened in China. Fly too close to the sun, and Xi Jinping will strike you down. So although research and development will continue, Chinese private sector innovation is likely to lag in 2024.
A downturn in the Chinese economy is going to negatively affect the larger region, straining existing tensions between China, Korea, and Japan. Specifically, Japan will look to increase military spending, with or without US support. Technically, Japan has no “military” only a Self-Defense Force, but in response to Xi’s expansionist ideals, Japan is likely to bulk up its forces. Expect relations between Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and the US to tighten in 2024. One of the biggest goals of Xi’s regime is uniting China and Taiwan, which can also serve to propel China’s role as a global hegemon for digital technologies, and this raises a massive warning flag to nearby countries. If Donald Trump becomes president, expect India to join this alliance too.
I’m sure this is the biggest prediction to be made. Unfortunately, Israel and Palestine likely won’t end the conflict in 2024. There are a few scenarios to consider.
There are 3 possible ways that this war could end. First, high-level Hamas leaders are eradicated from the same way that Al-Qaeda leaders were. That doesn’t mean Hamas, as an organization or even a symbol of revolution, will be gone. It does mean that Israel will win a valuable window of peace, where Hamas is internally turbulent and leaderless, and Israel can establish new rules in its favor. Before the war began, Israel targeted 11 major Hamas leaders to kill, currently hitting 5 of those people. So the fastest way for the war to end is for Israel to find the last 6.
The second way Israel would stop fighting is from international pressure. That’s very unlikely since the US has already vetoed a UN resolution for a ceasefire. Regardless of the actions of every other country, the US is going to fully support Israel.
The last way for this war to stop is for Prime Minister Netanyahu to be replaced. Let’s lay the groundwork. Netanyahu won re-election in 2022 by the narrowest of margins, and that was because he struck collaboration with far-right politicians. Netanyahu failed to properly brace Israel for Hamas’s attack, as they were caught completely off-guard while boasting a top intelligence agency in the world. Netanyahu is a nationalist, right-wing leader whose popularity in Israel makes Biden’s approval ratings look good. Because only 4% of Israeli Jews approve of him. The only reason he stays in power is because Netanyahu formed an emergency government, partnering with his opposition in response to the attacks. So now it’s complicated. The moment Netanyahu finishes the war, chances are he will be kicked from leadership. The longer he can prolong this war, the more power he retains. Yet, suffering worsens as fighting continues, and if at some point in 2024, Israeli people are frustrated with the lack of progress in Palestine, I won’t be surprised to see Netanyahu’s regime crack under pressure. Already, half of Israel’s population believes that War Cabinet member, Benny Gantz, is better suited for power, so Netanyahu is hanging by a thread.
Unfortunately, we cannot get our hopes up. In light of recent events, conflict has extended far beyond the Gaza Strip, into the Red Sea, Yemen, Iraq, and more. Houthi rebels finally decided to take action against US influence. Hezbollah continues its missile strikes. And Iran, as a sovereign, has officially stepped into this conflict. Note that Hamas, Houthis, and Hezbollah are all backed by Iran. The fact that Iran is actively involved is a clear message to every anti-West organization in the Middle East: This is their opportunity. I believe that Iran sees this Israel-Hamas war as the perfect time to force the US out. They see that America is busy helping Israel, and Hamas is holding them off pretty well. So America doesn’t have as much capacity to fend for their bases. And they are attacking them rapidly. Deploying troops in the Middle East takes time and mountains of money. To send supplies is also costly. So for Iran, it’s best to destroy every single US base, but if not, then they will drain the US budget and morale by unceasingly disrupting life in the Middle East.
But the US cannot pull out of the region. To do so leaves Israel defenseless against countries like Iran and Egypt who want it gone. They’ve fought against Israel in the past, they will do it again, especially seeing that it’s vulnerable. If the US pulls out, Saudi Arabia is threatened by Iranian presence, and if we lose the Saudis as an ally, our oil prices skyrocket and our interests in the Middle East evaporate. So the US simply cannot back out. That’s why this conflict will continue raging in 2024. Especially if Trump becomes president. He and Netanyahu are both nationalists who take extreme measures, so I’m not surprised if he fully supports Netanyahu’s efforts to flatten Hamas, even if that means turning Gaza and the West Bank into wastelands.
We often forget this continent, even though Ukraine is still struggling against Russia, and losing ground, and far-right momentum is steamrolling in countries without spirit or growth. The biggest prediction here is that the Russo-Ukrainian war will not end.
That’s because, just like Iran, Russia will try to drain the US and our allies. At this point, Ukraine is losing attention to Israel. And with Western support going more toward other conflicts, Ukraine is suffering major defeats that put its soldiers on the back foot. What better time, for Putin, to toy with his opponent. Knowing that Ukraine is on its last straw, Putin will likely edge his way forward, instead of breaking his opponent entirely. This forces the US to continue their funding for Ukraine, however limited that might be. As long as Hamas is holding off Israel, Russia knows that Ukrainians will no longer have the robust support they used to, a year ago. Reading about this war, I picture President Zelensky exhausted and on the verge of collapsing, while Russia slowly, methodically tightens its choke hold on Ukraine.
Russia is also holding the BRICS summit in 2024. Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Five states that redefine global order in defiance of American hegemony. And in 2024, 5 new states will be admitted. Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates. For the Western world, this represents a major threat. BRICS vs. NATO. Almost like the Warsaw Pact vs. NATO a few decades ago. So with European tensions rising, anticipate new states to join NATO in 2024, especially Sweden.
2024 will be a big, complicated year that defines our generation. And I haven’t even poked at climate change, social media, or finance markets. Again, please understand that these are my predictions, and global events are far more complex than I’m stating in this article. I hope we can find peace and collaboration this year, even amidst rising tensions, crippling relations, and blinding hate.