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COPING WITH THE FUTURE: 1998-2028 A GUIDE TO THE TRENDS

By Mark Pomerantz © 1998

New Introduction:
Six years ago I prepared “Coping with the “Future: 1992-2022” as the basis for an
adult education course in Brookline, Massachusetts. Since then some of the
predictions have come true, others haven’t and the outcomes of many of the
predictions still lie ahead. This is meant as an update to that paper. The 1992
predictions will be followed by commentary on what we have learned in the 1992-
1998 period.
Historians have been writing scenarios of the future for thousands of years. The
prophecies of the Bible are one example. After the revolution in Europe created by the
Reformation, and the increased secularization of daily life, important figures such as
Thomas More, and Erasmus, wrote Future Novels or “Utopian” novels (after More’s
Utopia.) In the Nineteenth Century, Edward Bellamy wrote his famous Utopian novel
“Looking Backward” about a citizen of the year 1888 who awakes in the Boston of the
year 2000. The tremendous impact of this book, which envisioned a socialist, “hi-tech”
society, was such that “Bellamy Societies” sprang up in the U.S. and Europe. Famous 20th
century utopian novels tended to be “dystopias” or negative utopias. These included
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, 1984 by George Orwell, and (depending on how you
looked at it) Walden II by Harvard’s own B.F. Skinner. An exceptional and unique (for its
time) work was Last & First Men by Englishman Olaf Stapledon, which was at once
science fiction and utopian novel, and which projected man’s fate a billion (!) years into
the future.
Predicting the Future:
The future scenario as a “scientific” predictor was an idea that did not take shape until
after World War II and the onset of the Cold War. The RAND Corporation was set up by
the government primarily to run “war-fighting” scenarios on their new computers. Herman
Kahn, a graduate of this school of prediction and his Hudson Institute turned their
attention to topics other than war. Kahn’s predictions for the next hundred years based on
unlimited exponential technological growth were uniformly rosy. Robert Theobald,
however, pointed out that in the real world growth could only continue on an exponential
curve for a short-time before there is a crash back to reality. The shortage of fossil fuels
and the problems of environmental pollution were factors that Kahn did not give enough
importance to. Other “Futurists” such as Paul Ehrlich and the “Club of Rome” later
predicted pessimistic outcomes based on overpopulation, the capacity of the environment
to cope with pollution and the scarcity of vital natural resources. The frequent
recessionary cycles of the late 70’s, 80’s and early 90’s distorted the outcomes predicted
by both Kahn and the “pessimists”.
Olaf Helmer took the field of scientific forecasting a step further. In 1964 he applied
“simulation gaming” and computer models to predicting the future, that is to make
forecasts with sufficient estimates of probability to be taken seriously. He convened six
panels of experts using the so-called “Delphi” technique. The fields studied were 1)

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scientific breakthroughs; 2) population control; 3) automation; 4) space progress; 5) war
prevention; and 6) weapon systems.
Helmer stated,” For the more distant future, as the uncertainties grow, increased reliance on intuitive
(as opposed to theory- supported) contingency forecasts becomes inevitable...Since the use of intuitive
forecasting as a basis of long-range planning is unavoidable, we should at least make an effort to obtain
this intuitive judgment as systematically as possible from ...experts in the area of concern”.
The Delphi Technique, which Helmer utilized, called for these experts to fill out a
questionnaire regarding their area of expertise. The questionnaire asked them to list major
inventions and scientific breakthroughs in their area, which they regarded as urgently
needed and feasible within the next 50 years. After collation of the results a list of 49 items
was generated. Each expert was then asked to list the probability of these events occurring
in stated time periods ranging from 1963 to 2013, or never. Initially, it was felt there was a
reasonable consensus of opinion on 10 of the 49 items. Ultimately, the questionnaire was
reworked to afford further consensus on additional items. (See results in handout). Some
of the predictions were quite accurate-- the consensus, for example, of a manned lunar
landing being in 1970 (as opposed to 1969 in actuality). Others were superseded by
political events such as the Vietnam War, including a prediction of a manned permanent
lunar base in 1982 and a manned landing on Mars in 1985.
Another scientific method of future prediction is the use of population cohorts to predict
demand for products and services. Population projections are not a new thing, but the
application of them to the real estate market, for example, gives one a better idea of what
the demand will be in the coming years. James Hughes of Rutgers University looked at
changes in household configurations and in living arrangement choices. He also looked at
changes in income by age and household configuration. His research led him to believe
that household growth and housing demand would abate in the 1990’s. There will
particularly be a glut of smaller units and condos and a great deal of difficulty for lower
income families in trading up to larger family homes.
Making Choices in Medical Research:
Most futurists, though, have been less quantitative in their outlook and relied even more
than Helmer’s group on their own experience and intuition. In medical research, for
example, the amount of basic research being done is so great and of such complexity that
it cannot all possibly be funded into the practical application stage. The timeline for
research, based on past projects is fairly well understood, so that if projects are funded
with high priorities, experts feel fairly confident as to when they may be available to the
public. Based on the above experts predict a “cure” or at least a stabilizing factor for
AIDS by the year 2000.
With the discovery of protease inhibitors and other new drug treatments, their
conditions have been stabilized and life extended significantly for many AIDS
sufferers.
Other medical research projects, which are feasible, given a maximum level of support are
gene splicing to eliminate certain genetic diseases, increasingly successful use of fetal
tissue to treat ailments like Parkinson’s Disease, and development of drugs that will
substantially slow the aging process. Choices will have to be made, however, as to which
of these and many other competing projects will receive sufficient levels of funding to
breed short-term successes.

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Corporations & Futurism:
Many corporations have become interested in futurism as tools in their market research
and in understanding so-called “workforce diversity”. Faith Popcorn and her
BrainReserve group (4) have been very successful in selling their services to companies
who want to market products to specific sectors of the population. They hire
BrainReserve for a variety of functions ranging from a general update on “what’s hot!” to
coming up with a product concept, doing the market research, and even collaborating on
the advertising and packaging.
Ms. Popcorn has a list of ten current trends with which she tries to make new products as
consistent as possible. These trends include: “Egonomics” or taking care of oneself;
“Cocooning” or withdrawing more into the home and safeguarding privacy; “Fantasy
Adventure” or dreaming about it instead of doing it! or at least providing a safer substitute
for adventure; “Small Indulgences”, instead of big indulgences (Bally or Joan & David
shoes instead of a new car); “Cashing Out” or leaving Wall Street behind for the home
office in Vermont; “Down Aging” or acting younger than your parents did at your age;”
Staying Alive”, or eating less fat, working out, and reducing stress; “Vigilante Consumer”,
or saving dolphins from tuna nets, and eliminating tropical oils from foods; “99 Lives” or
increasing roles and responsibilities for the baby boomers (like housing your parents and
your grown-up out of work children simultaneously); and “Save Our Society”, or greening
our environment and our ethics. If a new product embodies most of the above it is
considered “On-Trend” and Faith predicts it will be a winner.
In 1987, the Hudson Institute (which was previously mentioned during Herman Kahn’s
tenure there) issued a report entitled Workforce 2000. This report analyzed changing
trends regarding the composition of the workforce by 2000. There were several
subsequent follow-up reports from the Hudson Institute, involving the composition of the
Civil Service, and new affirmative action strategies among other topics. The concern of
business is that immigration patterns, differing birthrates among ethnic groups, and several
other factors, may drastically change the nature of the available work force in the coming
century. The Workforce 2000 report stated, for example, “Only 15% of the new entrants to
the labor force over the next 13 years will be native white males, compared to 47% in that
category today.” As pointed out, however, by Harris Sussman, an independent consultant
on workforce diversity, “...more than 90% of the workforce of the year 2000 are in the
workforce today (1991). So when we talk about entrants we’re talking about fractions of
10%”. Corporate America, however, concerned about the level of education and skills
that will be available in the workforce, has made the study of cultural diversity in the
workplace a priority in its managerial planning and training.

Population Shifts in the U.S.:


While areas such as New England are still mired in deep economic recession, other parts
of the country are doing much better. One economically “hot” area is Boise, Idaho. The
Dakotas are also doing well as far as economic development and low unemployment.
Oregon continues to draw many families from California who have left due to that state’s
economic problems. Portland has one of the prettiest, cleanest, and safest downtowns in

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the country. It also has one of the best downtown mass transit systems. The decayed
Albina district is becoming the focus of programs to renew it and deal with unemployment
and gang violence. In some of the better parts of the city, housing is sill relatively cheap.
Seattle has developed a rapidly increasing trade with Japan and Asia. Children are being
taught sections about Japan in elementary schools there, in recognition of this. Parts of the
South such as Georgia, the Carolinas, and the Gulf States will also continue growing at a
rapid pace.
The Far-Midwest and the Northwest continue to boom. With the astoundingly long
economic upturn New England and Mid-America have began to revive
economically.
Mega-Corporations and National Governments in the Future:
Futurists are divided in their thinking on the impact of huge multi-national corporations on
the quality of life in the 21st Century. One of the most pessimistic is W. Warren Wagar (9).
He feels that the Japanese model of networks of interlocking corporations will be copied
worldwide and that a fairly small number of mega-corporations will emerge, perhaps as
few as a dozen in the industrialized (or post-industrialized) areas of the world. These
megacorps will emerge out of a terrible era of economic depression (1995-2001) and will
be so powerful that they will make national government irrelevant in economic decision-
making, and in fact may almost completely control national governments. He foresees this
era (2000 until about 2040) as the highpoint of corporate capitalism. It will be followed by
a great depression caused mainly by the increasingly lower remuneration of workers for
their labor with consequent decreases in buying power and overproduction of goods and
services. Wagar also feels that this concentration of power in the hands of the megacorps
(supported by increasingly sophisticated computer data banks,) and the increasing
powerlessness of governments, will give them almost total control over the lives of their
employees.

The great depression of 1995 did not come to pass, though the financial health of
Asia is hard to predict at the moment. The influence of the large corporations on
national governments remains strong though not as strong, as yet, as was predicted
in 1992.
Other futurists agree that the importance of national governments will decrease somewhat
(especially in Western Europe with the EC), and there will be a great tendency towards
“privatization” of services, but they do not see the “megacorps” attaining the kind of
power that Wagar foresees. Jay & Stewart (14) are probably the most pessimistic regarding
the ability of democratic national governments to govern and deliver services effectively.
They see a strong anti-democratic tendency coming to the fore both in America and
Europe, resulting in a polarization of classes and a decline in basic personal freedoms.
This has not happened, as yet.
Early on in their scenario, Jay and Stewart outline what they see as an effective economic
program for the U.S. (writing in 1987.) It consists of a tax increase for those in the top
third tax brackets; a 3% annual reduction in military expenditures for four years; a 50%
reduction in COLAS to social security and Federal and military pensions during three
years; and a temporary control on imports designed to reverse the negative balance of

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payments all coupled with increases in assistance to the poor designed to reduce
unemployment as well as suffering. Eventually, Social Security cuts, additional excise
taxes, and a VAT (value added tax) are thought necessary to get the budget under control.
In the scenario, unfortunately, the lack of national will to deal with the deficit and
unemployment results in the defeat of all these measures and the election of a
conservative, repressive, race and class polarizing administration.

We can expect that Bill Clinton in 1993 will attempt to implement some similar measures
to reduce unemployment and the deficit. Since the balance of payments has improved
somewhat there will be no significant import controls. There will probably be no cuts in
Social Security though cuts in pension COLAS is a possibility (Reagan did it.) There will
be an income tax increase of some sort, reduction of the military budget, and investment in
employment & training and infrastructure replacement. These latter initiatives, unlike the
former will aggravate the budget deficit in the short term, while hopefully reducing
unemployment. Clinton’s advisor Lester Thurow has made the distinction of a “good
deficit” and a “bad deficit” (sort of like good and bad cholesterol). The “good deficit”
results from investment that brings in a rate of return higher than current interest rates
(like infrastructure improvements). The bad deficit is money that is not recycled into
improvements but basically goes for consumption of luxury goods. Time will tell whether
Clinton can pull off the balancing act between reducing unemployment, reducing the
deficit and avoiding inflation and/or recession (or a deep depression).
Some of this has come to pass. There was a Clinton income tax increase (though not
as large as the Bush increase that led, in part, to his reelection defeat.) There have
been cuts in the defense budget though not as large as a lot of liberals had hoped.
Clinton tried to get Congress to pass an economic stimulus package in 1993, but
failed and did not attempt it again. Otherwise Clinton became preoccupied with
first, National Health Insurance and then, after the Republican Congressional sweep
in 1994, in co-opting the Republicans agenda in balancing the budget and welfare
reform.
Decision Making in the Future:
Robert Theobald (1972) in his “TEG’s 1994: An Anticipation of the Near Future” (5)
posited that by 1994 decision-making would be done through a process of “sapiential
authority”. His projection was for an elite body of facilitators to guide major decisions
throughout the developed world. This group of facilitators, the “Invisible College”, would
be selected through a continuing process of psychological, aptitude, and intelligence
testing. The people, therefore, best suited and equipped to solve the problems and make
the decisions would automatically be put into the positions of power. Theobald’s
projection has not, as yet, come to pass. Instead the old system of hierarchical authority
remains dominant. (Kurt Vonnegut would probably be happy about this since in his
dystopian novel “Player Piano” the Engineer/Technocrats who ran society were
determined by their IQ scores). There are some indications, particularly in the more
entrepreneurial areas, that sapiential authority will slowly become more accepted.
Governments and nations may turn more to recruiting private contractors to solve major
societal problems through grant and contract offers. This should minimize the importance
of “dominance hierarchies”. The City of Chelsea, MA is a current example of the
privatization of education. How effectively it works there, remains to be seen.

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Sapiential authority still seems to be more of an Asian concept than an American
one. (E.g., the Mandarins of the Chinese Empire)

Improving Quality & Management:


In the meantime corporations are striving to improve their management and organizational
capacities. General Motors, for example, has eliminated many superfluous levels of middle
management. A new method of workplace organization, based on Japanese models, is
called Total Quality Management. This system based on many of the ideas of the
American Edwards Deming, has allowed the Japanese auto industry to build a better
quality product, keep lower levels of inventory on hand, thus reducing production costs,
and take over market share dominance of world auto production. Look for the Clinton
administration to try to incorporate many of the principles of TQM into government.

See Al Gore’s Reinventing Government project and emphasis on


innovations and “entrepreneurial government”.

The Significance of the Environment:


Environmental problems will take a preeminent share of attention in the next thirty years.
The major issues are air and water quality, preservation of species, destruction of the rain
forests and the greenhouse effect, and preservation of the atmospheric ozone layer.
Various cancers, for example, have been proven to have environmental causation to some
degree. Continued protection of air and water quality is essential to guard the public
health. Serious water shortages will probably develop in the Western U.S. due to the
continuing depletion of aquifers by new development. The greenhouse effect seems to be
well underway and will probably cause some significant climactic changes in the next thirty
years. This will probably lead to some catastrophic flooding of Atlantic Coastal areas in
the U.S. It might be a good idea to sell your waterfront property before then. In countries
such as Chile, New Zealand, and Australia there are already extensive national campaigns
to help prevent UV light caused skin cancers. These nations are the closest to the
significant holes in the ozone layer, which have opened up over the polar areas each
winter. In fact the holes are seemingly getting bigger and we should be seeing higher skin
cancer rates in the Northern U.S., as well. It has been found in Southern Chile that not
only are the skin cancer rates increasing but also within those increases there is a
significantly higher rate of the more dangerous melanomas. In addition to skin cancer
cataracts and other eye diseases caused by the sun have become a major concern. There
will be some fairly radical changes in recreational habits as a result of this.
Some authorities now think the greenhouse effect may lead to catastrophic cooling!
(See Atlantic Monthly 2/98)
Food and Energy Production:
The so-called “Green Revolution” of the 60’s and 70’s (new seed strains and pesticides)
and continuing research has stabilized the food situation in many famine prone countries
such as China and India. Obviously, the drought prone areas of Africa will be a continuing
problem until proper large-scale soil management and agricultural practices are instituted.
In this country, the medium size family farms will continue to struggle and be absorbed by

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the large agro-businesses. Smaller specialty farms including those specializing in
organically grown and exotic produce should thrive. There should be a continuing
reduction in the consumption of red meat in the U.S. Experts predict, however, (Macrae)
that in the next thirty years or so, advances in genetic engineering and cattle feeds may
allow cattle to be raised in static batteries like chickens (They will be able to digest “feed”
rather than having to graze). This would significantly reduce the cost of beef production.
The trend, however, in the U.S. seems to be going more in the direction of increasing
vegetarianism. Vegetarianism in the U.S. used to be equated with eccentricity. Now, aside
from the moral and ethical issues, there is an appreciation that from an environmental
standpoint raising beef is expensive and inefficient, and from a health standpoint the large
amount of fat and protein contained in red meat is excessive to the body’s needs. More
significantly this diet contributes to higher rates of colon cancer and heart disease.
While, the diet of many Americans may consist less and less of red and even white meats,
there will be an ongoing emphasis on so-called “gourmet foods”. The eating habits of
Americans have been affected by the incredible increase in knowledge and expertise
regarding different types of cuisines that are now available. This trend began to gain
momentum about fifteen years ago and is still going strong. A typical small city today may
have Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Southwestern, Mexican, Cajun, and Vegetarian
restaurants in addition to the more traditional, American, French, Chinese, and Italian. An
important new food trend will be healthy, low fat “spa foods” and “gourmet vegetarian”
restaurants. Look for vegetarian or semi-vegetarian fast food chains fairly soon.
See- Todo Loco, World Wraps, Machismo Mouse, etc. However, many people are
starting to go back to beef--though in its leaner forms.
The most significant response to energy needs in the near future should continue to be
energy conservation. Improvements in solar powered storage batteries will continue. No
new large-scale energy resources will be developed in the U.S. until thermonuclear fusion
reactions are controllable as a power source. Experts have become much less optimistic
as to when this might occur. Estimates of when practical large-scale thermonuclear
stations might come on line have been pushed back as far as 2080 (3). This may result in a
period of energy austerity for quite a while in the 21st century.
The US continues to become more dependent on foreign (mostly Saudian Arabian)
oil. Conservation is not being pushed as a major priority. Even carpooling is
declining. Cheap oil is discouraging priority research and development into
alternatives such as windmill farms and fuel cells.
Dealing with Russia:
The rapid dissolution of the Soviet Empire was a major shock to most Futurists. An
exception was Norman Macrae, Deputy Editor of the British Journal, The Economist. In
1984 (11) he predicted that the Soviet Union would break up into the “Confederation of
People’s Democratic Republics” in 1990! Macrae feels that the huge State factories in
Russia (employing upwards of 20,000 people) will not be successful due to their overly
large size and the probability that they will eventually be unionized and become even less
competitive. If the State factories are not competitive in their present form they will have
to be broken up into smaller units that will be competitive. The importance of these
factories is accentuated by the fact that the workers are dependent on the factory

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organization to fulfill many of their basic needs including food and clothing. The
infrastructure of many of the factories is old and will have to be replaced, but the general
education and skill levels of the Russians are good and are a tremendous asset. Macrae
feels that the best Russian engineers and scientists, who previously worked in the defense
sector, are a tremendous resource. The software programs and other technical innovations
that these scientists develop should become a major Russian export. American
corporations are already recruiting these personnel, as are other nations. Last week
(12/20/92) Russian security police removed a large group of Russian nuclear scientists
from a plane that was going to take them to North Korea to work on their nuclear
program. There are markets in Russia for Western services previously unknown there such
as market research techniques, and training in how to run Western style corporations and
local government agencies. There are some U.S. grants available to bring entrepreneurial
techniques to the Russians. Increasing their productivity will be an important step in
stabilizing the country, relieving economic misery, and making sure that reactionary forces
do not reassert the “ancien regime”.
Russia survived a reactionary coup attempt and its economy is just now starting to
rebound. It’s got a tremendous way to go. Its oil fields, one of its major resources,
are being operated in a tremendously inefficient and unproductive manner.
Dealing with World Trouble Spots:
Another of Macrae’s predictions was that by 1993 we would be entering a new era of
gunboat diplomacy, i.e., that we would intervene in several countries where there was a
complete power vacuum causing large scale suffering. Our expedition to Somalia seems to
be consistent with that prediction. Other Futurists (Stableford) feel that the Mid- East and
later on the Amazon basin of South America will be trouble spots that may result in a
likely U.S. intervention. Most of these experts see a future with the US and Russia
working hand in hand as the still dominant powers. It depends on how quickly Russia
reasserts its economic power to see whether it remains a dominant world power. The next
example of the new gunboat diplomacy is likely to be Bosnia.
Clinton has downplayed gunboat diplomacy. It will be interesting to see what
happens in Iraq in the next few weeks (1998).
The Drug Problem:
The drug problem in this country seems to be getting worse instead of better. In spite of
the huge drug “busts” we are always hearing about, the problem does not seem to abate.
In fact the large drug busts, which temporarily disrupt the flow, seem to drive the prices
up so high as to make increased drug smuggling even more attractive. Some sort of
legalization and/or decriminalization seems obviously to be called for. Many experts (Jay)
(Cetron) (Macrae) agree but are divided as to method and extent. Jay envisions that
during the 90’s a Presidential Commission will call for the legalization of drugs. Cetron
considers various options such as decriminalization or legalization of all drugs, but also
the Dutch experience of decriminalizing marijuana sale and use and going after the hard
drugs. Macrae envisions a time where high taxes will be levied on the most dangerous and
harmful drugs as disincentives, while new drugs with less harmful side effects will bear no
taxes. Cetron points out in citing a Consumers Union study, that the problems of crime,
AIDS, TB and etc. presently associated with Heroin addiction are not the result of the
addiction per se, but of the narcotics laws that drive the prices up. “By far the most

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serious deleterious effects of being a narcotics addict in the U.S. today are the risk of
arrest and imprisonment, infectious disease, and impoverishment—all traceable to the
narcotics laws, to vigorous enforcement of those laws and the resulting excessive black
market prices... (1)” The study also found that addicts living in decent surroundings and
using pure drugs showed none of the medical problems associated with most addicts living
in hand to mouth situations. The ultimate solution of the drug problem will probably be a
combination of education and peer pressure against drug use, development of less harmful
substitutes, limited decriminalization of certain drugs possibly in combination with
registration of addicts, and harsh taxation of the most harmful and dangerous drugs.
The drug situation is still a total mess with hundreds of thousands of low-level
dealers in jail and no end to the problem in sight.
AMERICA IN 2000: By the year 2000 the Baby Boomers will be firmly in the “driver’s
seat” of American culture. There will be a reawakening of ethics, community values, and
public (and possibly even corporate) accountability.
The country will probably be recovering from a major recession or possibly even a
depression. Education and training will be a high priority of the Federal government.
Automation will have eliminated many more jobs and unemployment will be seen as a
major societal danger. There will be a major revamping of the welfare system with an
emphasis on employing more low-income people. The poor will have more options
including entrepreneurial, cooperative ventures that they may participate in, and single
welfare mothers will have subsidized day care that will allow them to go out to work.
There will also be “enterprise zones” in the inner cities to attract economic development.
The above will also reduce the numbers of the homeless particularly homeless veterans
and graduates of the correctional system.
The depression has not happened yet. Welfare reform has come to pass; though its
impact is cushioned by the still prosperous economy. Not enough supports have been
built into it to cushion the blow for the low-skilled welfare recipients. Education and
training has not been a high priority except for very short-term training programs.
There may be decriminalization of some “softer” drugs, such as marijuana, but there will
be a major emphasis on squelching drug abuse in the culture, especially in the schools. If
there is legalization of some hard drugs addicts will be forced to register and submit to
various types of monitoring and other invasions of their privacy.
No decriminalization or legalization is on the horizon.
A National Health Insurance Program will be in effect and there will be the beginnings of
cutbacks and limitations in the Social Security and Medicare programs. The State Mental
Hospitals will be closed and a new generation of psychotropic drugs with less obvious and
unpleasant side effects will be in common use. This will reduce the number of chronically
mentally ill who won’t take their medications and also the number of the homeless
mentally ill Medical schools will emphasize preventative medicine, “non- traditional
medicine”, treatment of “the whole person”, and medical/ethical dilemmas much more
than they do now. Eating habits will continue to change. Fat substitutes will be used in
more products such as ice cream, less meat will be consumed and cancer and heart disease
rates will consequently drop significantly. Stress reduction will be a common theme both
in medicine and in the workplace almost co-equal with quality achievement as the major
theme in the workplace.

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National Health Insurance has been defeated and is not likely to happen in the near
future. The State Mental Hospitals are close to empty serving only the most
disabled. Fat substitutes after initial delays and safety concerns by researchers seem
about to become pervasive in the processed food market.
Many more people will work at home and with more flexible hours. This will result from
the greater emphasis on quality and productivity and decreasing emphasis on traditional
hierarchical management styles.
Telecommuting continues to increase. However, many executives work all day in the
office and then work all night from home.
The residential real estate market will continue to be cool, except for waterfront,
hotel/resort, or property in the path of large development schemes. Commercial real estate
will also be slow and more and more companies will go to additional shifts and letting
some employees work at home. Environmental (recycling, waste dump clean-up and etc.)
and medical technology (gene splicing, fetal tissue applications, anti-aging research and
etc.) companies will be hot and will be good investment prospects, as will hospitality
related enterprises. New residential real estate development will be smaller scale, more
cooperative, more energy and resource efficient. New development will physically
resemble the small towns of the early 20th century with a grid layout, a “Main Street”, an
“Opera House”, and a “Town Common”.
The nature of the real estate market has changed to a two-track market. It has
begun to boom again in the areas of the country that have had continuing
prosperity throughout the 90’s such as the Northwest. In areas of mostly minority
populations the rate of appreciation is much less extreme. In reviving New England,
Inner City areas that began to gentrify in the 80’s such as Dorchester in Boston
remain stagnant while upscale suburban areas such as Newton and Wellesley are
booming. Interestingly, in Inner City Boston the South End, a poor area close to the
downtown financial district, which became saturated with Yuppies in the 80’s, has
also continued to boom.
The “New Urbanism” has been making headway with developments such as
Seaside, Florida and Disney’s new Centennial project, which seek to recapture the
small town flavor of early 20th century America.
Co-Housing ventures, consisting of detached or townhouses built with a shared common
area for dining, education/daycare, and socializing will expand and become more popular.
The community ethic where a group with similar interests and values comes together to
plan a community will also have become more influential. More and more small
entrepreneurs will be sharing communal offices. More and more families will be sharing
entertainment, food preparation, day care etc.
The Co-Housing movement continues to grow slowly. There are several in Seattle.
The conservative to middle of the road orientation of the mainstream media does
not promote innovative solutions such as co-housing. However, many alternative
media outlets serve the interests of the millions of consumers interested in new types
of problem solving.
City centers will have increased limitations on automobiles, particularly where auto
created smog approaches danger levels. New generation mass transit systems will be

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going on-line or in development including 300 mph mag-lev trains. The National Parks
will continue to be inundated in the summer time and more park areas will have limits on
numbers of tourists and times they are open. Fires in the Western U.S. will continue to
become more serious as the Greenhouse Effect intensifies and summers become hotter and
droughts increase.
The Federal Government has done little in recent years to encourage restrictions on
cars and to promote mass transit. Mag-lev appears to be too expensive but
developments in other types of high speed trains are encouraging and top speeds in
controlled conditions exceed 200 mph. Again the Federal government is not doing
enough to promote high-speed train service.
Electric cars will be much more important in 2000. Buick is already converting its Reatta
plant to manufacture electric cars in 1994-95. Cars will have all plastic bodies and new
cheap computer chips will make on-board navigation computers common. Wiring will
soon be replaced by fibre-optics and cars will have electronic steering and suspensions.
Electric car development is lagging behind. The new GM electric car now available
for lease in Arizona and Southern California has only an effective range of 50 miles
between charges. Fuel cell development does not have enough money invested in it
to have produced dramatic results as yet. Eventually, next generation cars will
combine fuels cells and combustion engines (21).
Palm-top computers with the capabilities of today’s lap-tops will be available. A desktop
telecommunications device combining a TV, VCR, computer, telephone, home command
center/security system, fax machine, and etc., will be common. Fibre-optic networks will
allow one to call up on his telecommunications screen any available movie or TV program
he wants, when he wants. TV’s will be “high definition” allowing pictures with much
greater detail to be transmitted. “Virtual Reality” programs will be available with TV or
telecommunicator that will allow the user to don a special glove and helmet and interact
directly “within” the computer.
Start-up costs are so huge and uncertainty about exactly which directions to go in,
have slowed implementation of all-in one systems.
By 2000 the aging of the population will provide increasing employment opportunities for
nurses, EMT’s, bio-tech engineers, pharmacists, and physical therapists. These are all
fields for which there is already strong demand in 1992. Computer innovations will also
reinforce the demand for electrical engineers, computer servicing personnel,
mathematicians, and advanced programmers. New types of jobs will include medical
ethicists, people who combine scientific/technical skills with foreign language expertise,
and people who restore deforested areas and polluted bodies of water to their former state
including replenishing the destroyed species. Radon removal technicians will also be in
demand.
In Europe, the EC will be getting the kinks out and the European Parliament will have
great power over economic decisions. There will be standardization of technology all over
Europe and national tariff barriers will have been dropped since 1/1/93. Some agricultural
producers, in particular, such as French farmers who can’t compete price-wise with
Spanish farmers, will be hurt. But all in all, the EC will have become an economic
juggernaut.

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The EC is not as dominant as predicted.
The Japanese in 2000 will be running into some problems based on a very rapidly aging
population, market saturation, increasingly vocal demands for higher wages, and
competition from other Asian countries. The Japanese will try to meet these challenges by
giving even more attention to quality, continuing to target hot new consumer products
such as hi-definition TV, building plants in newly industrializing Asian countries to hold
down costs, and by creating a new Asian economic coalition with Japan as the
acknowledged leader.
Japan has encountered serious economic problems as predicted.

China will try to create a massive export driven economy by creating many new industrial
centers all along its coasts. There should be a truly massive trade between the U.S. and
China by 2000.
Chinese trade with the Pacific Rim has mushroomed, as predicted.
The Eastern Europeans in spite of their massive economic and political problems should
continue down the road toward democracy. Mainly because they have a truly voracious
appetite for Western style freedoms and also Western style prosperity.
With the exception of Yugoslavia, as predicted.
The above scenario is somewhat optimistic. Some futurists are less sanguine about the
ability of the American electorate to recognize needed changes. Both Britain and the U.S.
had so-called “conservative” governments in the 1980’s. Prime Minister Thatcher
implemented austerity measures while acknowledging Britain was in bad economic shape.
President Reagan implemented austerity measures for the poor, denied the U.S. had any
serious problems and created a climate where the U.S. economy was artificially stimulated
and seemed better than it really was. Skillful measures are needed in the U.S. to reduce the
deficit while also reducing unemployment and poverty. If they are not implemented there
may be a major increase in crime and violence among the poor and a consequent
repressive conservative backlash.
The annual budget deficit has been reduced mostly due to the continuing general
economic prosperity. Ironically a large part of this deficit reduction came from
increased revenues from capital gains taxes, which have now been reduced.
The successes of certain immigrant groups to the U.S., such as the Koreans, could be
studied and used as models to assist the poor. The relatively well educated Koreans
arrived in this country, worked cooperatively in an extended family structure, gave each
other seed money capital loans, moved into areas where there was a poorly served demand
and a need for services, and strove to provide better quality services, whether fish,
produce, or higher tech services. Friction with other poor minority groups arose mainly
because the Koreans did not generally hire employees from the indigenous communities.
Economic coops could be organized to train other groups how to replicate the success of
the Koreans and become successful entrepreneurs.
We are also assuming that despite the many pitfalls and hardships being faced by the
Russian and Eastern European peoples, that they will retain the new democratic structures
and begin to thrive and prosper. This is based on the perception that there is a great

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appetite for “western style” freedoms and that the people of the East will struggle mightily
to satisfy this appetite. The Russian émigrés who have come to Boston seem to be a good
example of this.
Social enterprise and micro-lending models are beginning to be widely studied.

AMERICA IN 2022: Americans will have landed on Mars and created a permanent
Moon Base. There will be advances in the quest for controlled fusion power, but no
practical system as yet. Most birth defects will have been eliminated by gene splicing and
engineering. The cancer rate will also be down dramatically, and most cancers will
ultimately be cured. The drug problem will mainly be eliminated. Synthetic endorphin like
compounds will have been developed with few harmful side effects. Recreational use of
cocaine, heroin and other hard drugs will have been almost eliminated. These substances
while legal will bear very heavy taxes in recognition of their potential harm.
Development of controlled nuclear fusion plants will be well advanced but still years away
from practical deployment. Consequently, there will be a period of semi-austerity due to
shortages of energy and natural resources. Intensive research will be conducted on
sophisticated recycling systems and ways of replenishing resources. Shortages of power
and natural resources have enforced a much more cooperative national ethic. There will be
a much smaller ratio of cars to individuals in the U.S. Extensive reliance will be placed on
mass transit.
New York City and Los Angeles have major flooding problems due to the higher sea levels
caused by the Greenhouse Effect. Coastal areas of Texas, Louisiana and Florida are being
submerged and will be obliterated in the next 20 years. The Greenhouse Effect has caused
major problems with agro-business in the U.S., especially in the grain belt of Kansas,
Iowa, and Nebraska. The big winners in agriculture are the Russians, since the Siberian
steppes have become much more fertile. Bio-technology is also producing new strains of
grain, genetically modified fish, and increasing food yields a great deal. Kelp is now being
farmed from the sea on a very large scale, causing some major international maritime
disputes.
The trend towards working at home has intensified. Children have the option of beginning
to work after they pass examinations at the age of 12. Their computer proficiency allows
them to perform many kinds of marketable functions. They can elect to return to school
later. Older people also continue to perform jobs into their seventies or even their eighties.
This allows many people in their twenties and thirties to take extended leaves of absence
to be with their young children and undertake personal projects.
A Central World Bank will have been established to regulate national currencies,
particularly in the poorer countries. This “Bank” will also give grants to private
entrepreneurs to improve living conditions in these countries and will increase the real
income in these countries substantially.
More sophisticated psychological conditioning and screening of potentially troublesome
individuals will control crime. Peer pressure will also be used to curb crime. This will
have to be balanced carefully against individual liberties.
The Middle East will continue to be a trouble spot for many years to come. Terrorism and
nuclear proliferation are dangers that will still be in existence.

13
There will exist a “negative income tax” or “guaranteed annual income” (First proposed
by Robert Theobald in the early 60’s as “basic economic security for the poor”). This will
reflect a change of the attitude that idle people are “bad” and not deserving of assistance
except very grudgingly.
Holographic TV will be common-place, as will extremely sophisticated “Virtual Reality”
sets. Many people may choose to spend large portions of their lives in this manner.

AMERICA IN 2100 AND BEYOND: The Age of Capital will largely be over. Most
Americans will earn roughly the same amount, though some may earn more by a factor of
two or three. Cheap Fusion energy and sophisticated resource replenishment techniques
will allow a high quality of life for almost all Americans. Technology will be largely
“invisible”. There will be few large cities and from the air, the landscape will appear to be
largely rustic. Miniaturization and minimization will have been carried to great extremes.
There will be a great revival of spiritual values. Possessions will be cherished only if they
are finely crafted and have some deeper personal meaning. People will adopt many of the
surface customs and mores, including types of dress and furnishings of their ancestors, as
a way of making a connection with their past. So-called “hi-tech” items will not be valued
highly since it will be fashionable to disguise technology. There will also have been a
revulsion against the sophisticated virtual reality set-ups of the late 21st Century as well
against synthetic memory and brain enhancing drugs.
There will be much less disparity of wealth between the countries of the Western
Hemisphere and the old Third World countries. Developments in educational technology,
communications, and psychology will insure virtually equal levels of education for all.
Most former national governments will have disappeared, replaced by loose national
confederations with more powerful local governments. These will be run on a cooperative,
Town Meeting style.
Finally, there will be a good chance that we will have begun to detect messages from other
civilizations, in other parts of the Universe, and we may be beginning to make plans to
meet them.

14
Bibliography
1. American Renaissance: Our Life at the Turn of the 21st Century
Marvin Cetron & Owen Davies, St. Martin’s Press, NY, 1989
2. Generations: The History of America’s Future. 1584 to 2069
William Strauss & Neil Howe, Wm. Morrow, NY, 1991
3. The Third Millennium: A History of the World, AD 2000-3000
Brian Stableford & David Langford, A. Knopf, NY, 1985
4. The Popcorn Report: Faith Popcorn on the Future of Your Company,
Your World, Your Life
Faith Popcorn, Doubleday Currency, NY, 1991
5. TEG’s 1994: an anticipation of the near future
Robert Theobald & J.M. Scott, Swallow Press, Chicago, 1972
6. The Image of the Future
Fred Polak, Trans. By Elise Boulding, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 1973
7. The Rapids of Change: Social Entrepreneurship in Turbulent Times
Robert Theobald, Knowledge Systems, Indianapolis, 1987
8. Encounters with the Future: A Forecast of Life into the 21st Century
Marvin Cetron & Thomas O’Toole, McGraw-Hill, NY, 1982
9. A Short History of the Future
W. Warren Wagar, U. of Chicago, 1989
10. Images of the Future: The 21st Century & Beyond
Robert Bundy, Prometheus Books, 1976
11. The 2025 Report, A Concise History of the Future, 1975-2025
Norman Macrae, Macmillan, 1984
12. The Futurist (periodical)
World Future Society, Bethesda, MD
13. Housing Policy Debate, Vol. 2, Issue 4, 1991
“Clashing Demographics: Homeownership & Affordability Dilemmas”
14. Apocalypse 2000: Economic Breakdown & the Suicide of Democracy
Peter Jay & Michael Stewart, Prentice Hall, NY 1987
15. America in the Global 90’s: The Shape of the Future- How You can Profit From It
Kiplinger & Kiplinger, Kiplinger Books, Washington, 1989
16. The Next 100 Years: Shaping the Fate of Our Living Earth
Jonathan Weiner, Basic Books, NY, 1990
17. The Great Depression of 1990
Ravi Batra, Simon & Schuster, NY 1987
18. The Next Century,
David Halberstam, Wm. Morrow & Co., NY, 1991

( Relevant Additional Readings Since 1992)

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19. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy
William Strauss & Neil Howe, Broadway Books, NY, 1997
20. 2020 Visions: Long View of a Changing World
Richard Carlson & Bruce Goldman, Stanford Alumni Assoc., 1990
21. The Road to 2015; Profiles of the Future
John L. Peterson, Waite Group Press, Emeryville, CA, 1994
22. Crystal Globe: The Haves and Have-Nots of the New World Order
Marvin Cetron & Owen Davies, St. Martin’s Press, NY, 1994
23. Beyond 2001: Opposing Viewpoints
Markley & McCuan, Ed., Greenhaven Press, San Diego, 1996

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