See previous 3 posts, concerning economic growth in the 21st century. I sent requests for predictions to approximately 30 people. I received replies from Jesse Ausubel, Wilfred Beckerman, and Arnold Kling.
1) Jesse Ausubel predicted a per-capita GDP growth rate of 1.7% per year. His reasoning was that 1.7% was the per-capita GDP growth rate of the United States in the 20th century, and it would be reasonable to think that the world would match that growth rate in the 21st century.
2) Wilfred Beckerman referred me to two of his books, including "A Poverty of Reason." "A Poverty of Reason" discusses potential world economic growth in the 21st century. It notes that many predictions for the annual growth in per-capita GDP are in the 1-2% per year range. I chose the midpoint, or 1.5% per year.
3) Arnold Kling predicted per capita GDP growth of 3.5% for 2000-2010, 4.5% for 2010-2020, 6.0% for 2020-2030, 10% for 2030-2040...and just keeping on rising after that.
4) I predicted per capita GDP growth of 2.5% for 2000-2010. My reasoning was that this was slightly above the average during the entire 20th century, which was 2.2%. For 2010-2020, I predicted 3.0%. And I predicted that the growth rate would just keep rising with each subsequent decade (i.e. 3.5% from 2020-2030, 4.0% for 2030-2040, etc.)
In my opinion, any prediction of world per-capita GDP growth that's less than the 2.2% per year that was the average for the 20th century is probably too low. The 20th century had 2 world wars, a Great Depression, and a great many countries mired in communism for most of the century. I don't expect any of those things for the 21st century. (However, if there *is* a World War III, I assume it would be nuclear, and the 21st century will literally be a bloody disaster. My prediction certainly won't be valid if there's a global thermonuclear war in the 21st century.)
Also, in my opinion, any prediction for the 21st century should assume a rising trend for per-capita GDP growth rate. That is, not merely will the per-capita GDP grow, but the *rate of growth* (expressed in percent per year) will actually increase as the 21st century continues. This will have an absolutely mind-boggling effect on per-capita GDP levels, expressed in dollars. That's because even if the rate of growth (expressed in percent per year) is constant, per-capita GDP levels would increase exponentially. But my prediction, in agreement with Arnold Kling, is that the rate of growth, expressed in percent per year, will actually increase. So per-capita GDP will actually increase "double" exponentially.
My thinking that the rate of GDP growth (expressed in percent per year) will increase is in large part based on the analyses of technological trends done by Ray Kurzweil. Some really interesting stuff!
As I wrote above, the fact that the rate of growth will increase has a mind-boggling effect on per-capita GDP levels. I've posted two curves. The first was the predictions for rate of growth, expressed in percent per year, of per-capita GDP. The second curve represents how those values actually translate into worldwide average per-capita GDP. In 2000, the worldwide average per-capita GDP was approximately $6500. By my prediction, the worldwide average per-capita GDP will exceed $100,000 by somewhere around 2070 (only 70 years from now!). The reader may wonder why I limited the scale of the graph to $100,000. Well, at some point (not necessarily $100,000) the whole concept of money becomes irrelevant. People have sooooo much money, that they don't need to work to get any more. To many of us, this doesn't seem possible. But ask yourself, does a multi-millionaire really need to work for more money? Even a 5% per year return on an investment of $5,000,000 is $250,000 per year. That's some serious money. (At least to me!)
So my prediction is for the "end of economics" in the 21st century. Arnold Kling predicts the "end of economics" will come even sooner than I do. Although Wilfred Beckerman and Jesse Ausubel seem to have substantially different predictions, if one were to extend out the curves that are produced by their predictions, both would exceed $100,000 in the 22nd century. Still pretty soon, in the context of human history.
Many thanks to Drs. Kling, Ausubel, and Beckerman for their predictions. I'd love to see any other predictions.