Polonius3: Barring some meteorite or other unforeseen catastrophe, there is much to indicate that the world's power and economic balance is shifting away from the developed West to the already developed (Japan) and rapidly developing Orient (China, India, Japan, Korea etc.).
This would mean that the socialist in American and Europe have gotten their way and have succeeded in making us as poor as the rest of the world. Their cries of equality would have made mankind equally poor.
Polonius3: How the Orient interacts with the Muslim World, which controls strategic fuel deposits, may play a key role shaping the further course of events.
Well China would not play nice with the Muslim world. The full force of communism would be upon the Arab world if
they messed with China. Public executions, slave camps, the whole works, the Chinese are capable of it. Of course China would love to allow the oppression of people under Sharia law in the Arab world if it benefited them (and it would), unlike the west, because under both communism and Sharia law human rights and dignity are nonexistent.
Polonius3: Mass emigration from the above to the West may also play an important part in the overall West to East shift. Probably the only unknown is the rate at which this will occur. Some predictions maintain that within 50 years English will become a minority language in the US, outnumbered by Spanish and oriental-language speakers.
Na. Many will be bilingual but if anyone wants to achieve success in America they need to know English, and therefore their kids will know English. There is a difference between people being bilingual and in 50 years 250+ million people (say the population is 500 million then) in America not knowing English. Very unrealistic. American may have a large poor community that does not know English, but screw them, if they don't want to learn the language to bad.
Polonius3:Where do you believe Poland will end up within the total puzzle, let's say 50 years from now.
Ya, Poland and the rest of Europe would be screwed. I go back to world wide poverty on this one. The amazing wealth the western world has seen has been a direct result of the free market capitalism. Without that, and you ain't getting that from China or the Middle East, I would say Europe falls back into communist rule or some twisted form of it. It seems like that's Europe's natural state anyway.
In conclusion, if the economic demands of the world focus on China and the Middle East, then expect poverty. These places have amazing wealth and natural resources right now, but they are all still crap-holes. You have a west that buys every resource you have, every good you produce, and most of the people there still live in poverty. The middle class would once again become nonexistent and you would be left with rulers and serfs.