A Texas reader passes along this story about a new intelligence estimate released this morning, the consensus report of all the US intel agencies, forecasting conditions over the next 20 years. Excerpts:

The 140-page report released today by the National Intelligence Council lays out dangers and opportunities for nations, economies, investors, political systems and leaders due to four “megatrends” that government intelligence analysts say are transforming the world.

Those major trends are the end of U.S. global dominance, the rising power of individuals against states, a rising middle class whose demands challenge governments, and a Gordian knot of water, food and energy shortages, according to the analysts.

“We are at a critical juncture in human history, which could lead to widely contrasting futures,” Council Chairman Christopher Kojm writes in the report.

More:

While technological advances, migrations, wars and other factors drove change in earlier periods, what sets the next quarter century apart is the way seven “tectonic shifts” are combining to drive change at an accelerating rate, said NIC Counselor Mathew Burrows, the report’s principle author. Those factors are: the growth of the middle class, wider access to new technologies, shifting economic power, aging populations, urbanization, growing demand forfood and water, and U.S. energy independence

“It’s hard to wrap your mind around it, to tell you the truth; it’s just been happening at great velocity,” Burrows said in an interview with Bloomberg News discussing the 18-month research project.