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Report Examines Forces Changing the World

I'm Faith Lapidus with the VOA Special English Development Report.

The World Future Society has published a special report about forces changing the world. The report is by Marvin Cetron, president of Forecasting International in Virginia, and Owen Davies, a writer. It is called "Fifty-three Trends Now Shaping the Future."

One of them is population growth. The report says the world is expected to have more than nine thousand million people by the middle of this century. Areas likely to experience the largest increases include the Palestinian territories, Niger, Yemen and Angola.

Population growth in many industrial nations, however, is expected to drop. But medical progress helps their people to live longer lives.

International migration is also shaping the future. The report says there is some resistance, but also growing acceptance of cultural differences. Migration is mixing different peoples and, in its words, "forcing them to find ways to co-exist peacefully and productively." This is said to be true especially among younger people.

The world economy is also becoming more integrated. The report notes, for example, that companies in high-wage nations are increasingly sending jobs and services to low-wage countries. At the same time, the Internet lets businesses search worldwide for materials at the lowest cost. In some cases, the Internet can even help small companies compete against big ones.

On another issue, the report warns that militant Islam will spread and gain more power. It notes that extremists are angered by the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. As a result, it says future revolutions may be more likely instead of less likely.

On the issue of energy, the use of oil is expected to reach one hundred ten million barrels a day by two thousand twenty. That is up from more than eighty million now. The report dismisses a popular belief that the world is about to run out of oil. It notes estimates by OPEC that the eleven member nations still have about eighty years of oil left. And it says production can still expand in other countries such as China, Russia and Kazakhstan.

The World Future Society describes itself as a scientific and educational organization with about twenty-five thousand members. It is based in the American state of Maryland.

This VOA Special English Development Report was written by Jill Moss. Internet users can read and listen to our reports at I'm Faith Lapidus.