The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization's Northern Future by Laurence C. Smith, explores, just as the title suggests, the world as it could be in 2050. Smith examines this scenario through four lenses: demography, natural resource pressure, globalization, and climate change. The book was written in 2010, so Smith was trying to peer forty years into the future.
Forecasting is an extremely difficult venture, and given the topics he picks, even harder. He sets certain ground rules. One is the current conditions will continue for the next forty years. There will not by World War III, nor will great technological advances come to the aid of our ailing planet.
These premises are hard to swallow, especially technological advances. But Smith must have some fixed point, or the book would not have a steady foundation.
Really, we learn far more about the present conditions of our planet in this work, rather than the future. Smith is also a climate scientist, so expect far more about climate change than the other three steams.
We can argue about details – yet this is a sound work that explores difficult problems. What can we expect in forty years? Our planet and society is changing profoundly. Where does it lead?