As the year draws to a close, and 2023 is on the horizon ready to be experienced, it is natural to want to peek into the future to see what is in store for the new year. Although no one has a crystal ball that can foretell the future, there is a good chance that the beginning of the new year will be a continuation of the same. From economic questions to climate woes, much of the unrest of 2022 is likely to continue, but going into the new year with eyes wide open is the best way to face it.
A War for all Seasons
One thing that has been a constant for most of 2022 is the war in Ukraine. Most experts predict that by the end of 2023, the war in Ukraine will still be in full force. Though Ukraine stands a large chance against Russia in the coming year, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has made it clear that he will stop at nothing until the entire country is annexed. Many people believe that Ukraine will hold its own in the next year because the Russian soldiers are quite reluctant to continue fighting and the cost of the war may finally convince the Russians that it is not worth it. Additionally, if Ukraine’s allies finally recognize the large economic toll that the war is taking on their own economies, they will intervene and provide enough weapons to overcome Russia. However, it is also possible that the new year will bring more of the same difficulties, with Ukraine fighting for its life against Russia.
Economy: Downturn in America, Inflation in Europe
As for the United States economy, the news is not great, as there are just too many factors at play for a positive boon to occur. According to JP Morgan, “We expect the U.S. economy to expand at a muted 0.5-1% pace in 2023, as measured by real GDP, which incorporates our prediction for a mild recession beginning in late 2023. This would be a further deceleration in growth from 1.5-2% in 2022, 6% in 2021, and the longer-term average annual growth rate of 1.8%.” People will try to hang on to their money and will be reluctant to get involved in mortgages and other economic commitments as they try to save for a rainy day.
Much of the world will fare even worse, however. The energy crisis in Europe will likely continue, especially as energy prices spike through the winter months. Inflation and the war in Ukraine will continue to affect food and fuel budgets. These problems will likely get worse before they get better as Inflation in Europe continues to rise.
A Climate in Crisis
After a year of climate disasters in all areas of the United States, and indeed the world, scientists and governments are working hard to staunch the bleeding. From raging wildfires to catastrophic weather events like floods and hurricanes, 2023 needs to be a year of change. The United States has passed the Inflation Reduction Act to help people and businesses transition to the use of cleaner energy, and this plan will help in 2023, offering tax credits and incentives to help Americans clean up their act.
In addition, drought continues to plague the United States, with 47 percent of the country including Puerto Rico experiencing the worst drought in 1200 years. This has impacted over 196 million people, especially those in the western states that border the Colorado River. The world needs to take these things seriously so we can make some positive changes while we still have the time.
Unrest in Afghanistan
With the recent ruling by the Taliban that women in Afghanistan are no longer allowed in universities, after being almost wholly eliminated from secondary schools for years, expect 2023 to be a year of women fighting for their rights. The Taliban is having nothing to do with the protests, however. The recent protests found police dispersing the female protestors with a giant water cannon, and tensions remained high. According to the BBC, “The Taliban said women had not been wearing appropriate Islamic attire at university and had been interacting with their male counterparts.” We should expect to see these women continue to fight for their freedoms well into 2023.
COVID in China
With the recent lifting of China’s zero-COVID policy, the country has seen an explosive surge in COVID cases and deaths. The majority of the population still hasn’t contracted it, which is why scientists are unclear about whether people will have the same reactions to the virus as those in other parts of the world where exposures are far more common. In the next year, it’s reasonable to predict that China will see a rising death toll from the COVID variants running rampant because they continuously rely on local vaccines that do not contain the valuable antibodies that many western vaccines do. Because there are so many variants spreading across China, 2023 could bring new mutants and strains of COVID worldwide, and we could see cases surge everywhere once again.
With all the heavy news about 2023 on the horizon, there is something a bit more lighthearted to look forward to. The market for autonomous cars is said to drastically increase in 2023, marking a big change for normal day-to-day transportation. These cars are known to be incredibly safe because they’re void of all human error, and can communicate with other cars to avoid traffic problems. Cars with level 3 autonomy, in which drivers can be relatively focused on the road but perhaps on their phones, are arriving in many cities in California and Nevada after being tested out in San Francisco. Though the hurdles of cost and liability are hard to overcome, autonomous cars are still likely to be more prolific on the road within this coming year.
As the old year gives way to the new, the landscape looks very similar to last year, with war in Ukraine, energy problems, extreme weather and COVID. With some luck, there will be a positive trajectory as the year progresses, and these headlines can be a thing of the past.
I like to spend my time giving back with organizations that focus on mentoring aspiring entrepreneurs. I have supported after school programs that focus on entrepreneurial and global initiatives in local primary schools. I recently extended my mentoring to include students at Case Western Reserve University.