Lets assume that China is the next global superpower for the next exercise.
No superpower has ever gone unchallenged for long. The ten years or so following the Soviet Union collapse and 9-11 is a historical anomaly.
The United States was challenged by the Soviet Union for forty six years. In previous centuries, Brittan and France had a lengthy rivalry for domination of the globe. A challenger to China’s dominance doesn’t appear readily apparent.
As China is an authoritarian government rooted in communism, it is likely its' challenger will be a liberal democratic regime as no other type of regime seems to be enough of a counterweight to China.
Considering the economic struggles of United States and the uncertain outcome of the European debt crisis, I didn’t feel comfortable putting them into the equation, leaving us with India and Brazil as growing democratic powers.
Neither of these societies has achieved the gains on human rights issues, some experts would like to see.
Brazil has a problem with bondage type slavery inside of charcoal mills, while India has a problem with many types of slavery from debt bondage to a flourishing human trafficking industry that swallows up scores of Indian women every year.
Like it or not though, these are the most likely contenders with democratic governments and solid growth rates.
Of course, I’m not an economist and who knows…maybe a catastrophic episode brings China crashing down to Earth leaving no true superpower…just a bunch of weakened, equalized, actors in the global financial system.