Right now, my gut is telling me this:
1) Populism is on the rise, globally and especially in Europe. This is fueled by concerns of ordinary middle class people about the impact of globalization on the economy, culture and safety of their countries.
2) There is tension between a further centralization of power in the European Union, and the wish to maintain the national integrity of countries.
3) Accumulated debt in the world is even higher than in 2008 before the Great Recession. Since interest rates are already artificially low, there are no effective instruments for central banks to soften the blow when a new crisis would come.
Because of these three reasons, there is much potential for chaos in the world. This can be both good or bad. Chaos can lead to suffering, but it also has the potential for new developments and growth.
I am optimistic about these developments. The rise of populism will induce much needed political and economic reforms , which if made will prevent the "true" extreme right to come to power. Also, I experience the EU right now as too much of a good thing, it's too centralized. Like drinking water, if you drink too much (about 20 liters) it will kill you. However, economic cooperation within Europe can be very productive. I expect reform in the coming years, to prevent the disintegration of the EU. A new financial crisis will be painful, but could also help to finally induce further reforms, especially in the financial sector.
But my world is not so stable and safe anymore as I experienced during the 90s. Political tension is high in many countries. I want to know exactly where we are right now, how we got this far, and what to expect in the coming years. The traditional news media are too invested in the polarization to have an objective view of what's happening. Therefore, I am employing my own expertise as a statistician to analyze the situation.
I am building a database with measurements in each country, over many years, of economic, demographic, political and cultural information. This contains data on macroeconomics, housing markets, energy, development, education, poverty, age and sex distribution, (armed) conflict, crime, stock markets, religion and immigration. I use sources from the IMF, United Nations, World Bank, etc. I will systematically analyze these data, and share my insights on my website vanderwalresearch.com/blog and on Minds at minds.com/vanderwalresearch. I want to know what's going on! And I want to do it together, I am looking forward to your input and insights as well.
To be continued!