Global Power Transitions: What Does the Future Hold?

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The introduction to HBO’s award-winning TV series “Game of Thrones” sums it up. Imagine a world map that is constantly changing. As economies get stronger and weaker and political regimes change, the strength of each country on the map shifts. Every day, some countries rise while others fall. On TV – in Game of Thrones – it creates a stunning visual image that illustrates the nearly constant shifts occurring in a fictitious world. But the reality – in our very real world – is that the global market operates in much the same way.  

Political Science professor Manochehr Dorraj examines these movements through the lens of data and trends on a global scale. In particular, he’s interested in the concept of power. What is power? How do countries, people and economies get it? His research weaves a stunning narrative, starting at the end of World War II and looking far into the future.  



 According to Dorraj, the devastation of Europe and Japan – physically, politically and economically – following the Second World War produced an unprecedented climate that enabled the United States to gain true global dominance. Although the U.S. was involved in the war and contributed significant resources, its physical distance from the fighting enabled it to swiftly recover without incurring any lasting damage. Because of this, Dorraj says that the United States made a meteoric rise to the top of the global economy. At this point in time, the dollar was worth more than ever.  



 The Vietnam War loomed on the horizon. This conflict went on to be enormously divisive in the United States and abroad. Through its involvement in the war, The U.S. faced monumental setbacks in resources, both human and financial. Next door to the fighting, China began to rise.  

 Around the same time, the Cold War began. Although this conflict never resulted in much violence or fighting, Dorraj notes that it worked to actively showcase the disparities between nations and highlighted the unpopularity of leaders across the globe.  



 Ronald Reagan was elected President of the United States amidst the ongoing Cold War crisis. For the first time ever, the United States ran a national deficit. According to Dorraj, this was an enormous economic shift for the U.S. “The United States went from being the banker of the world to being in debt.”  



 Professor Dorraj uses his knowledge of the past, and his attention to the politics of the present,  to inform his predictions about the future. So, what does the future hold? Dorraj gives some clues by breaking it down into three primary areas of interest: 

China will continue to rise. 

 A plan to combat climate change and investments in renewable energy are “must haves” for success in the global market. 

 Stability is key for good trade and foreign relations. 


 To learn more about Professor Dorraj’s research and hear his predictions for the future of the global market, visit his lecture page at 

 Manochehr Dorraj will discuss global power transitions in his lecture at Back to Class, a fundraising event aimed at helping students research, travel and learn through the AddRan College of Liberal Arts at TCU. Go Back to Class on March 28, 2019, to hear from Manochehr Dorraj and other professors on this topic and more. Learn more by visiting the Back to Class website.