What could a Trump presidency mean for the world?

What could a Trump presidency mean for the world? Well like many other people in the Southern Hemisphere I got up very early this morning to find out whether Clinton, as expected, had bested Trump in the US elections, only to find that the unthinkable had happened.

To learn that the most powerful nation on Earth had chosen a man considered by almost half its population to be unqualified and temperamentally unfit to hold its highest office was a huge shock. I must also admit to feeling enormous dismay that a man who has no understanding of nuclear power now holds the nuclear codes; and a man who believes that climate change is a hoax is now in a position to tear up the Paris Agreement.

In little more than a day the global rulebook has changed – actually the rulebook has been torn up and thrown away. Volatile waves of change are therefore likely to intensify, dramatically reshaping the world as we know it especially in the geopolitical and macroeconomic landscapes. But on closer reflection, is this necessarily such a bad thing?

The Asian Development Bank believes Asia’s GDP will increase nine-fold from $16 trillion in 2010 to $148 trillion in 2050. This is expected to account for half the global GDP by mid-century, resulting in a rebalancing of global economic power which would see China and India overtake the United States to become the world’s largest and second largest economies respectively in terms of GDP by 2050.

This development would result in an emerging shift in power from the West to the East, and with Asia’s potentially historic rise among the global community of nations, the 21st century would become an Asian Century dominated by Asian superpowers and Asian economic, political, governance and cultural institutions.

In light of the result of the 2016 US election, however, this could change. If Trump’s promise of a resurgence in the fortunes of the US economy materializes, a revitalized US economy could mean the US retaining its geoeconomic position in decades to come.

Although this would maintain the current status quo, it would also mix things up, and in another scenario, a Global Century could emerge: one in which no one country or continent has a prevailing concentration of influence.

This Global Century would ideally be characterized by interdependence rather than insularity; with new thinking, collaborative effort and coalitions of interest to address rising challenges. Is this too much to hope for? I really, really hope not!