(To Gino Lanzara)

When a period comes to an end, the need to draw up a budget arises unavoidably; an accounting-like report generally characterized by the red of liabilities that are all the more certain because they are based on objective and final data; balance-wise the problem arises for forecasts, rooted in a more or less recent past and projected into a nebulous future, in which one Delorean launched at 88 miles per hour. 2023, yet another annus horribilis, was no less than the horribles precedents with wars, feared advents of artificial intelligence, resurgences of populism dripping with dissatisfaction and instability on a still - briefly - blameless 2024.

In the Far East, the god of the economy, prodigal of crises facilitated by the oxymoron of state finance1 Chinese government in anoxia due to lack of internal demand, has led to a diversion of attention from Taiwan, however it increasingly aims in an intimidating way in its Adiz2; Punctual like protesting bills of exchange, the usual warlike solicitations from Kim Jong Un arrived, oppressed both by unsustainable sanctions and by an apparatus that, hermitically Marxist, is increasingly wrapped up in itself and in its own aggressive nuclear oleography opposed to American deterrence. As Japan and South Korea get closer, the American economy grows with a notable decline in inflation3. The EU economy remains stagnant, with rising mortgage rates leading to a contraction in residential investment and a squeeze on profits. The hoped-for fall in inflation should (pay attention to the conditional) support the purchasing power of families, allowing Marinetti-style growth, i.e. positive but sooooo much mildly4.

2024 will still suffer from widespread multipolarity and instability, facilitated by an unstoppable globalization like the progress of AI.

The general picture therefore appears increasingly similar to that before the Great War, with the foundations of international law eroded by global and regional frictions characterized by the hybridization of conflicts.

From Central Asia of the dissolved Nagorno Karabakh and Artsakh, to the Kurdish-Turkish clashes, up to Syria, Iraq and Libya, the arc of instability of 2024 follows with significant worsening the pattern of 2023, which leaves a legacy of the blows of state of the Sahel, the Somali Islamism of al Shabaab and Ethiopian independence in the Horn of Africa as well as, last but not least, the progressive reduction in navigability of the Red Sea due to the Houthis, unaware proxies of a game that is far too big and risky. While a conflict continues between Tehran and Washington, extending from the Mediterranean to the Strait of Hormuz, Pakistan, India and China are fueling high-altitude border clashes, replicated on the shores of the South China Sea, the subject of dispute between claimed Chinese sovereignty and declared US freedom of navigation.

Venezuela certainly could not be missing which, in an evident and notorious lack of internal problems, was considered Bolivarianly It is necessary to open a new critical and nationalist front by claiming sovereignty over Essequibo, a region of Guyana that is very rich (oops, think!) in natural resources.

So what could ever disturb the serenity of the infant 2024? Well, the feared gust of violence connected to the polarization of the US elections; the new unrest in Iran and Egypt, caused by repression and economic crisis; the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian war ready to spill over into Lebanon and Syria in the face of the inevitable phlegmatization of the Abraham Accords; the direct clash between Jerusalem and Tehran never so close to nuclear weapons; the precarious military balance between the USA, China and Russia due, also, to the prolongation of the Ukrainian conflict; the waves of migration from Mexico and Syria; a resurgence of crippling cyber attacks. But there are also risks.

Ongoing crises and looming elections in the USA, in nationalist Narendra Modi's India, in autocratic Russia and in Taiwan will make 2024 geopolitically tumultuous.

And Xi? Pressured both by a slow economic recovery devoid of Western investments and by Evergrande's real estate crash, it will have to guarantee a stable economic context capable of recovering from pandemic and internal shocks, in light of the forced but necessary entente cordial with the USA in San Francisco last November. Beyond the bitter cups, the risk of a potential war between Washington and the multipolar Beijing remains, however, also seen as a desirable means of containing the ambitions of a Russia where there will be neither particular electoral palpitations nor changes of course: it will be difficult to witness a Prighozin 2.0. Perhaps.

In short, multipolarity and geopolitical neutrality, far from abstracting from disputes, will force us to take sides, especially in the non-Western field, exacerbating frictions: in 2024 geopolitics will not wear a shade of grey.

In 2024 around 4 billion people, in around 76 countries, will (perhaps) go to the polls5, including local and municipal elections, where the equivalent of 60% of global GDP will vote, unless the winner is awarded once again to the abstentionist party. Many consultations will be held in authoritarian countries; it will almost certainly be a moment in which democracies will have to return to giving their political best. Returning to populism, according to Alec Russell of Financial Times, illiberalism, weakening of institutions, disillusionment and social suffering will play a decisive role.

Environment. It's easy to say technology where COP28 revealed itself as a varied and haggling exhibition, at the rate of transition, between MO producers and Western decarbonizers according to the Latin principle of festive lens, that is, where there has not been an effective (and dangerously complete) ban on fossil fuels. Be careful though, it is Westphalian sovereignty that makes the difference: the transition will be determined at a national level, where everyone will decide on a voluntary, non-binding basis. Decarbonization will most likely decide it collaborative antagonism Sino American, as a function of a financial system that should take into account the emissions generated by customers in the portfolio. Western investments will be lacking, leaving the field open to less controlled but necessary local producers. What would happen jurisdictionally to China if Beijing did not respect its objectives? War? Come on, difficult.

I.T.. 2024 will be the time of AI assistants, aimed at improving working standards; why not expect a generative AI aimed at analyzing policies and threats, capable of reacting autonomously to problems? Raise your hand if you haven't thought of Will Smith's I Robot and Isaac Asimov.

Economy. A peculiarity economic of 2024 leads to hypothesize trends relating to the volatile market crypto; bitcoin will probably reach new highs and cryptocurrencies will enter the real world, leaving the digital one to favor microcapitalizations. Note the connection between AI and cryptocurrencies, which possess such potential to redefine the entire cryptographic system, and in any case still susceptible to dangerous vulnerabilities. 2024, therefore, could be both the year that will decide which jurisdiction to entrust the role of main hub of digital resources, and the moment in which to wait more prudently to make investments in crypto, a bit like in juice futures orange of An armchair for two; in the meantime, as there is still no full-blown outcome inflation alarm and despite the Houthi attacks, the current impact on fossil fuel prices will be limited enough to allow a possible reduction in rates, provided that the trading disruptions are of limited duration. In short, it is certain that it will stop raining, but who knows when to stop carrying an umbrella.

More concretely, 2024 will see an apparent one growth, due to post-pandemic adjustments; the elements that will be evaluated will be: demographics, geopolitical risk, financial digitalisation, environmental Net Zero and the renewal of supply chain leaders.

What to expect? Excessive optimism, inflation, restrictive monetary policies, i.e.: geoeconomic uncertainty. If it is true that 2023 should have been marked by a generalized recession6However, it is equally true that monetary restrictions have been the strongest since the 80s, penalizing average families. Hot water discovery: the wealthiest are little affected by the recessionary effects, while the broader social bases are suffering from interest rates beyond their limited possibilities. Evergrande teaches: mortgages have been important since 1929 capital; it would be appropriate to follow it health state given the rates in force.

Events. Many. WTO in Abu Dhabi in February; AI for Good Summit, in Switzerland in May; the G7 in Italy in June; NATO summit in July in the USA which perhaps, Turkey and Hungary permitting, will also see Sweden participate; BRICS summit in Russia in October, which perhaps will not see the Argentina of the new President Milei. It remains to be seen whether it will be a new Bandung and above all, doubtfully, a concrete economic-financial alternative to the various Gs; COP29 in Azerbaijan in November, a choice that reflects various tensions and multiple Russian vetoes of European offers; G20 summit in Brazil in November, with a global Lula and also present at the UN Security Council, at the BRICS and at COP30.

Given that real life isn't like that Shakespearean made of the same stuff as dreams, let us then, economically speaking, make some imbalance which can only be temporary and the subject of settling and in any case conditioned by the individual leaderships, taking into account that transformism è become a need.

The problem remains in politics and in the increasingly fewer hesitations regarding the use of force, both due to the crumbling of Russian-Western relations, and the Sino-American antagonism, and the uncertainties of the USA, which is in decline, yes, but not yet uncontrolled fall at least until November; in short, a hegemonic weakening in favor of regional fragmentation. If it is true that the great powers do not fight each other, it is also true that local conflicts and tensions are increasing in dangerous specific points such as Ukraine, the Red Sea, Taiwan and the South China Sea. 

The elections, especially in countries considered to have more consolidated traditions, will not be easy, given what happened at the American Capitol on 6 January 2021. Net of authoritarianism and Bulgarian and forced participation in Petrolini and his Good boy! Thank you!, abstentionism remains a symptom: the more it worsens, the more debilitating the pathology is and characterized by radicalism and populism which have annihilated the intrinsic dialectical sense of politics. Denying legitimacy in principle to the values ​​of the opposing faction generates contexts in which not only is it impossible to democratically create coalitions and mediations, but it is also easy to leave the field to those who demagogically Divide and conquer exacerbating antagonisms and playing on cognitive aspects with misinformation.

What has been missing, and will still be missing, is the return to a balance of power, which leads us to consider 2024 the year of continuing fragmentation, in which it is essential to remember belonging to alliances and systems capable of confirming credibility and facilitate the desired strategic designs. The border of the economy on the geopolitical map this year is marked by evergreen here are the lions; there are still too many unknowns to be able to aspire to positivities that can easily be disavowed by a Houthi missile.

A catalyzing point is missing, solid and liquid at the same time: the Sea, the one with a capital M. Any theatre, even if briefly touched upon, brings back thalassocratic aspects. Freedom of navigation, trade, spaces mid-ocean of connection between one basin and another, maritime power, dominion of spaces naturally not subject to sovereignty, everything leads to salt water, to its dominion, currently prosecutable only through multilateral means. The bodies of water do not only expand conceptually, there is the risk of losing meaning and ownership where there is inevitable contact with those who interpret and perceive the sea (nothing less than!) as a Blue Homeland aiming for geopolitical greatness that transcends spaces and borders: stumbling awkwardly over one's own clothes for incongruous and unpaying policies is an unforgivable fault. The problem is not having the sense of history and time to understand it while remaining in your own backyard. However, this too is a fault.

1 The measures announced by China consist of reducing mortgage rates, reducing down payments and easing restrictions on real estate transactions, and will be sufficient to avoid a worsening of the real estate collapse, but not enough to revive growth.

2 Air Defense Identification Zone

3 Domestic demand has recovered since the beginning of the year, while pressures on consumer prices have eased with wages decelerating thanks to the increase in the working age population.

4 For the MENA area, both the IMF and the World Bank predict a slowdown in the region's annual economic growth, with GDP growth below 2022 levels. The war in Gaza has negatively affected growth and financial conditions, blocking regional economic prospects.  

5 Bangladesh, with the reconfirmation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in power; Taiwan, presidential elections that China sees as a danger to its unionist policy; Pakistan, a nuclear country, elections already postponed due to the disastrous economic and then internal political situation caused by the arrest of former prime minister Imran Khan, the first to resort to AI to deliver a speech; Indonesia, with former general Prabowo Subianto favorite; India, with Narendra Modi favored for the third time without the need for supporting coalitions; Mexico, for the first time with a female President, Claudia Sheinbaum, an ally of the outgoing President Lopez Obrador, constitutionally ineligible for re-election, and destined to negotiate with the USA for the fentanyl problem; European Parliament, the weakest of the EU institutions which will have to decide on the further chance to grant to a reconfirmation of Ursula von del Leyen; Belgium, still divided between Flemings and Walloons and influenced by the success of the Dutch populist right; USA, with presidency, 1/3 of the seats in the Senate and the House of Representatives; South Africa, yet to be defined and characterized by unemployment and economic crisis

6 According to World Bank commodity forecasts, a disruption on par with the 1973 oil embargo would reduce global crude oil supply by up to 6-8 million barrels per day, starting to raise prices by 56-75% (140- 157 dollars a barrel).