Forecasts for 2007-And Beyond

USA TODAY, April 2007 | Go to article overview

Forecasts for 2007-And Beyond


The World Future Society, Bethesda, Md., has released a report forecasting major global developments for this year and beyond, examining key trends in technology, the environment, the economy, international relations, etc. Among the most significant findings:

Generation Y will migrate heavily overseas. For the first time, the U.S. will see a significant proportion of its population emigrate due to overseas opportunities. According to futurists Arnold Brown and Edie Weiner, Generation Y--those born between 1978-95--may be the first generation in U.S. history to have many of its members leave the country to pursue large portions of their lives, if not their entire adult lives, overseas. They also predict that, by 2025, 75% of Americans will live along the nation's coastlines.

Dwindling supplies of water in China will impact the global economy. With uneven development across China, the most water-intensive industries and densest population are in regions where water is scarcest. The result is higher prices for commodities and goods exported from China, so the costs of resource and environmental mismanagement are transferred to the rest of the world. As a nation, China already outconsumes the U.S. on basic commodities such as food, energy, meat. grain, oil, coal, and steel.

Outlook for Asia: China for the short term; India for the long term. By 2025, both countries will be stronger, wealthier, freer, and more stable than they are today, but India's unique assets--such as widespread use of English, a democratic government, and relative transparency of its institutions--make it more economically viable further out.

Workers increasingly will choose more time over more money. The productivity boom in the U.S. economy during the 20th century created a massive consumer culture--people made more money, so they bought more stuff. In the 21st century, however, workers will choose to trade higher salaries for more time with their families. Nearly one-third of U.S. workers recently polled said they would prefer more time off rather than more hours of paid employment.

Children's "nature deficit disorder" will grow as a health threat.

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