Three Horsemen: Societal, Political and Environmental Change

Michael Grimwade

We are all getting older, and both our politics and climate seem less stable and more volatile. This chapter looks at three categories of change that between them may have the greatest impact on operational risk in the medium and long-term.


The world is bipolar, ie, in the developed world the populations are ageing with associated new needs and also vulnerabilities, while the developing world’s population is still growing. The world’s population is predicted by the UN to reach 8.5 billion by 2030 and 9.7 billion by 2050, and exceed 11 billion in 2100.11“UN projects world population to reach 8.5 billion by 2030, driven by growth in developing countries”, UN, July 29, 2015, available at In addition, to these demographic changes, the Millennial generation (or “Generation Y”), who have grown up with the Internet, are displaying new behaviours, having embraced digital technologies. In the UK, both young and old alike appear to be more litigious than previous generations.

Ageing populations

“He was going to live forever, or die in the attempt.”

Joseph Heller, in Catch-22

The European Commission

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