Outlook 2007: Recent Forecasts from the World Future Society for 2007 and Beyond

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INTRODUCTION

Welcome to Outlook 2007, the World Future Society's roundup of thought-provoking forecasts, trends, and ideas from the past year. These brief items are drawn from articles and news stories originally appearing in THE FUTURIST.

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The forecasts should not be interpreted as "predictions" of what the future will be like, but rather as glimpses of what may happen or proposals for what should happen. However, the opinions and ideas presented here are those of the authors or sources cited and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the World Future Society.

For more information about any of these forecasts, please refer to the original articles cited. Back issues of THE FUTURIST may be ordered using the coupon in this report or online at www.wfs.org/backiss.htm.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please e-mail your comments to letters@wfs.org.

THE EDITORS

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS

* Economic disparities are growing. The ratio of the total income of people in the top 5% to those in the bottom 5% has grown from 6 to 1 in 1980 to more than 200 to 1 in 2006. These disparities will continue unless more cooperation occurs between the rich and the poor in addressing inequality.--Jerome C. Glenn and Theodore J. Gordon, "Update on the State of the Future," Jan-Feb 2006, p. 21

* An estimated 3.3 million service jobs will move out of the United States over the next 10 to 15 years, according to Forrester Research Inc. This trend reflects the pervasive spread of the Internet, digitization, and the availability of white-collar skills abroad. This shift of high-tech service jobs may be a permanent feature of economic life in the twenty-first century.--John M. Eger, "Building Creative Communities: The Role of Art and Culture," Mar-Apr 2006, p. 20

* Pharmaceutical manufacturing will migrate to the developing world. By 2040, the pharmaceutical industry will move to developing countries with skilled scientific labor pools. The Middle East might show an interest in promoting the industry as these countries become more democratized and as the demand for oil declines.--Jay Herson, "Innovation in Pharmaceuticals: Speeding Up Development of New Cures," Jan-Feb 2006, p. 25

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* Top industries for nanotechnology breakthroughs. Development of molecular machinery will be a boon to a wide assortment of industries. The brightest nano-futures are in manufacturing and materials, food and agricultural products and packaging, more powerful and efficient computers and electronics, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, alternative energy systems, and luxury goods, such as stain-resistant clothing.--World Trends & Forecasts, May-June 2006, p. 15

DEMOGRAPHY

* Generation Y will migrate heavily overseas. For the first time in its history, the United States will see a significant proportion of its population emigrate due to overseas opportunities. According to futurists Arnold Brown and Edie Weiner, Generation Y, the population segment born between 1978 and 1995, may be the first U.S. generation to have many of its members leave the country to pursue large portions of their lives, if not their entire adult lives, overseas.--Edward Cornish, Planning in an Age of Hyperchange" (book review of FutureThink by Edie Weiner and Arnold Brown), Mar-Apr 2006, p. 61

* Progress on slowing population growth may reverse. The fight against overpopulation is not over, and global population is projected to reach between 9.5 billion and 12 billion if fertility rates do not continue to decline. That projected total could be lower if more investment is made in family-planning services, sex education, and women's education and empowerment, according to experts.--World Trends & Forecasts, Sep-Oct 2006, p. 13

* Companies will see the age range of their workers span four generations. …