These are treacherous times, to say the least. From the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis, to soaraway inflation and growing tensions around Taiwan. The world has not felt so precarious in decades.

David Bach, a professor of strategy and political economy, has been talking to hundreds of business leaders over the past couple of months to understand how they are responding. He lays out four scenarios for where the world could be heading over the next two to five years, ranging from the optimistic to the catastrophic.

We also look separately at how the war in Ukraine will be affected by the onset of winter. The perhaps surprising conclusion is that it’s bad news for the Russians. And as the new UK prime minister, Rishi Sunak, unveils his cabinet, the countdown begins to the government’s first big financial statement on October 31. You may have caught some of the fallout around his predecessor and whether benefits should be raised in line with wages or inflation. Here's an explainer on why pegging it to earnings will leave those on low incomes worse off.

Steven Vass

Business + Economy Editor

President Xi Jinping at the Communist Party Congress on October 16. Zuma Press Inc/Alamy

Four scenarios for a world in disorder

David Bach, International Institute for Management Development (IMD)

How the crises in geopolitics and the world economy could affect us over the next two to five years.

Brrr: a trench in the Donetsk region of east Ukraine where fighting has been going on since 2014. ZUMA Press Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

Ukraine war: ‘General Winter’ is about to arrive – this time it’s not good news for the Russian army

Frank Ledwidge, University of Portsmouth

The gruelling winter months have arrived in Ukraine and both sides are digging in for a long few months of sub-zero temperatures.

The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, has warned of more difficult decisions to come. Xinhua/Alamy

Raising benefits in line with earnings will make the poor worse off – here’s why

Daniel Edmiston, University of Leeds; Kate Summers, London School of Economics and Political Science

Affordability is a question of political and policy priorities. If we want a fair and adequate social security system, we cannot continue cutting the resources of those who already have the least.

Ukraine Invasion

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Science + Technology

  • How we found microbes rarer than a ticket to the Moon

    Genoveva Esteban, Bournemouth University; James Weiss, Bournemouth University

    Microbes are so tiny humans can’t see them without special equipment. But the discovery of 20 new species will help scientists map the evolutionary tree of life.

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