Trends Now Changing the World: A Special Report

Article excerpt

To mark the new millennium, the World Future Society published a major new report on the major trends impacting our world in the next five to 50 years. The report, "50 Trends Now Changing the World," was written by forecaster Marvin J. Cetron and science writer Owen Davies.

The 28-page report was one of the longest the Society has ever published. In order to deliver this important report to as many members as possible, the Society decided to publish it in two parts in THE FUTURIST. The January-February 2001 installment focused on trends in economics, society, values, energy, and the environment; the March-April issue featured trends in technology, the workplace, management, and institutions.

The report is the result of an ongoing research project by Cetron's company, Forecasting International Ltd., to collect data about the forces operating in key sectors that will affect how we live and work in the future. Earlier reports on this research were published about 10 years ago in THE FUTURIST; this time, however, co-authors Cetron and Davies offer a "bottom-line" summary of the implications of each trend to help readers make sense of these important, world-altering forces of change.

For example, the authors state that the population of the developed world is living longer and that the numbers of elderly are increasing, thanks to improved health care. Among the implications for the future: We can expect a surge in demand for services aimed at the elderly, especially in medical care. "If medicine does dramatically extend our life-span, and if preventive medicine receives government funding, the cost of health care will plummet; retirement and social security plans will have to be revised or scrapped," the authors conclude. …