Investors wondering where the rest of the 21st century will take the financial and political world won't have to wait long for the biggest clue, Nicholas Boyle, professor of German literary and intellectual history at Cambridge and author of "2014: How to Survive the Next World Crisis " told CNBC on Friday.
2014 will likely be the critical year for the century, with the United States playing the crucial role, Boyle added. There are two, equally likely, scenarios for 2014, he said.
First, there could be a move towards economic protectionism and political nationalism, with the great event in the years between 2014 and 2018 being a confrontation between the US and China. Second, there could be move to international cooperation.
Boyle's preferred event then would be the imposition of a global tax on banks. But the influence of the US economically will certainly decline as other economies develop, he said.
"America is going to have to face a very serious question about its role in keeping order around the worlds and it won't, I think, be able in the future to ignore the fact that there are a number of powers that are economically as strong," Boyle said.