1. Economic turnarounds in the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, and possibly Pakistan and Myanmar.
2. Pressures for secession in Catalonia, and a potential crisis of the Spanish state.
3. East Asian belligerence, with more hawkish leaders in the three major countries.
4. There is actually a non-trivial chance we totally blow it on the debt ceiling.
5. The continuing rise of machine intelligence and the general recognition of such as the next major technological breakthrough.
6. Significant positive reforms in Mexico on education, foreign investment, and other matters too.
7. Political collapse in South Africa.
8. Continuation of America’s “Medicaid Wars,” over state-level coverage, combined with the actual implementation of much more of ACA. Continuing attempts in Rwanda, Mexico, and China to significantly extend health care coverage to much poorer populations.
9. The return of dysfunctional Italian politics, combined with the arrival of recession in most of the eurozone economies, including France and Germany.
10. The ongoing barbarization of North Africa, including Mali, Syria, and possibly Egypt. And whether any of these trends will spread to the Gulf states.
11. Whether China manages a speedy recovery and turnaround.
12. Watching India try to overcome its power supply problems, its educational bottlenecks, and its low agricultural productivity.
13. Seeing whether Ghana makes it to “middle income” status and how well broader parts of Africa move beyond resource-based growth.
14. Whether U.S. and also European political institutions can handle the intensely distributional nature of current fiscal questions.
Those are some of the main stories I will have my eye on, but of course I expect to be surprised. I suppose Israel and Iran should be on that list somehow, North Korea too, but I don’t find that thinking and reading about it yields much in the way of return, compared to a simple “wait and see.”
Addendum: Here is Matt’s list.