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53Trends NowtheShaping

Special Report Published by the World Future Society

By Marvin J. Cetron and Owen Davies
For some four decades, Forecasting International has conducted an Forecasts stemming from these trends range from the very near
ongoing study of the forces changing our world. One of the values of term (2005-2010) to medium-range futures (up to 2050), but the
tracking major trends over a long time frame is that we can see authors make no attempt to speculate on very-long-range futures
whether sudden shifts are indicators of seismic transitions or merely that may prove of little practical use. Whatever your concern, some of
temporary anomalies or fads. these trends will have a very direct impact upon it. Others will help to
This latest edition of Forecasting International’s report adds three form the general environment in which we live and work. They all
new trend areas to its knowledge base of major forces shaping the merit attention from anyone who must prepare for what lies ahead.
future: mass migration and its impacts (Trend 6), the rise of militant The authors—and the World Future Society—welcome your
Islam (Trend 9), and the evaporation of privacy (Trend 17). feedback.
Society Copyright © 2005 World Future Society • 7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 450, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, U.S.A. •
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General Long-Term Economic boost productivity and reduce the

unit cost of goods. At the same time,
and Societal Trends workers who remain on the job
longer will offset slow growth in the
labor force, while the globalization
1 The economy of the developed world of business will keep pressure on
will continue to grow for at least the next salaries in the developed countries.
five years. Any interruptions will be rela- Thus, both prices and wages should
tively short lived. remain under control.
• The U.S. economy has been ex- Implications: The economic down-
panding continuously since the turn of 2000 and 2001 has run its
fourth quarter of 2001. Annual course. The current round of new
growth in 2004 was expected to growth will spread throughout the
reach 4%, a level that economists developed world. It should continue
believe can be sustained. for the remainder of this decade.
• The real-estate market in the Economic unification is promoting
United States remains extraordinarily all manner of trade within Europe.
resilient, thanks to the lowest mort- In the long run, the newly capitalist
gage rates in some 40 years. Exist- lands of the former Soviet Union
ing-home sales were projected to rise should be among the fastest growing
7.3% in 2004 to a record 6.5 million new markets. By 2010 or so, India
homes. The National Association of Trend 1 Resilient real estate: will expand faster than any other
Realtors expects another record in market in the world, with China
2005, along with increases in new- Housing market will remain healthy in falling into a close second place.
home sales and housing starts. the United States. Labor markets will remain
• In spring 2004, new jobs finally tight, particularly in skilled fields.
started to appear in significant num- This calls for new creativity in re-
bers—308,000 in March, 280,000 in in 2003 and around 4.5% in 2004. Ex- cruiting, benefits, and perks, espe-
April, and 248,000 in May. Job cre- ports surged by 12.5% in 2003 to cially profit sharing. This hypercom-
ation lagged through the summer, record levels and have continued petitive business environment
but bounced back to 337,000 in growing at that rate ever since. This demands new emphasis on reward-
October, nearly twice the consensus is expected to slow as China cools its ing speed, creativity, and innovation
forecast. economy and demand lags in the within the workforce.
• Inflation remains under control, United States. Yet, it seems that
with consumer prices up 2.5% in Japan will remain much healthier
September 2004 from their levels 12 than it had been in more than a
2 The world’s population will grow to 9.2
months earlier and rising only 0.2% decade.
billion by 2050.
since August. • China’s economy grew by a • Average annual growth world-
• Relaxation of borders within the spectacular 9.1% in 2003 and slowed wide peaked at 2.19% in 1963 and
European Union has brought new to “only” 9.1% in the third quarter of has fallen steadily since. The U.S.
mobility to the labor force. This is 2004, suggesting that the economy Census Bureau’s International Data
making for a more efficient business will stabilize at sustainable growth Base projects that annual growth will
environment on the Continent. Ex- rates rather than falling into recession. fall below 1% in 2016 and below
pansion of the EU by 10 more mem- • New growth among all these 0.5% by 2047.
bers in late April 2004 can only im- trading partners should create a • The greatest fertility rates are
prove economic performance there “benevolent cycle,” in which the found in those countries least able to
in the years ahead. health of each partner helps to en- support their existing populations.
• After prolonged recession, the sure the continued health of the rest Countries with the largest popula-
French and German economies ap- for at least the next several years. tion increases between 2000 and 2050
peared to be stable or growing in • Many nations of the former So- include Palestinian Territory (217%),
2004—Germany is flat, France is ex- viet Union are bringing order to Niger (205%), Yemen (168%), Angola
panding at a solid 4% per year— their economies, proving themselves (162%), the Democratic Republic of
while the British economy never did viable markets for goods from west- Congo (161%), and Uganda (133%).
fall into recession and is now ticking ern Europe. Recently, even Russia • Even these estimates may be
along at 3.5% growth. In all, it ap- appears to be stabilizing its econ- much too low. According to the Cen-
pears that the European economy as omy, long the weakest link in its ter for Strategic and International
a whole grew by 0.5% in 2003 and region. The gradual development of Studies (CSIS), most official projec-
did better in 2004. oil fields in Kazakhstan should fur- tions underestimate both fertility
• Japan’s long-suffering economy ther this process. and future gains in longevity.
is growing for the first time in • Worldwide, improved manufac- • In contrast to the developing
years—by no less than 6% annually turing technology will continue to world, many industrialized coun-

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 3


Trend 2
World Population
Year Population (billions) Average annual growth rate (%)
1950 2.56 1.47
1960 3.04 1.33
1970 3.71 2.07
1980 4.45 1.69
1990 5.28 1.57
2000 6.08 1.21
2010 6.82 1.09
2020 7.54 0.90
2030 8.18 0.71
2040 8.72 0.58
Trend 2 Arab mother and child in the Palestinian Territory,
2049 9.15 0.47
which has one of the fastest-growing populations in the
Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census, International Data Base world.

tries will see fertility rates below the Europe will be recent immigrants well help today’s middle-aged baby
replacement level and hence signifi- from developing countries. boomers to live far longer than even
cant declines in populations, exclud- CSIS anticipates today.
ing the effects of immigration. This • Any practical extension of the
means that the population of the de-
3 The population of the developed world human life span will prolong good
veloped nations will fall from 23% of
is living longer. health as well and will reduce the in-
the total world population in 1950 • Each generation lives longer and cidence of late-life disorders such as
and about 14% in 2000 to only 10% in remains healthier than the last. Since cancer, heart disease, arthritis, and
2050. the beginning of the twentieth cen- possibly Alzheimer’s disease.
• In about 10 years, the workforce tury, every generation in the United Implications: The growing concentra-
in Japan and much of Europe will be States has lived three years longer tion of wealth among the elderly,
shrinking by 1% per year. By the than the previous one. An 80-year- who as a group already are compara-
2030s, it will contract by 1.5% annu- old in 1950 could expect 6.5 more tively well off, creates an equal dep-
ally. years of life; today’s 80-year-olds are rivation among the young and the
Implications: Rapid population likely to survive 8.5 more years. poorer old. This implies a loss of
growth will reinforce U.S. domina- • Life expectancy in Australia,
tion of the global economy, as the Japan, and Switzerland is now over © PHOTODISC INC.

European Union falls to third place 75 years for males and over 80 for
behind the United States and China. females.
To meet human nutritional needs • A major reason is the develop-
over the next 40 years, global agri- ment of new pharmaceuticals and
culture will have to supply as much medical technologies, which are
food as has been produced during all making it possible to prevent or cure
of human history. diseases that would have been fatal
Unless fertility in the developed to earlier generations. In many de-
lands climbs dramatically, either veloped countries, credit also goes to
would-be retirees will have to government health programs, which
remain on the job, or the industrial- have made these treatments avail-
ized nations will have to encourage able to many or all residents. In the
even more immigration from the de- developing lands, a primary cause is
veloping world. The third alternative the availability of generic drugs,
is a sharp economic contraction and which cut the cost of care and make
lower living standards. health affordable even for the poor.
Barring enactment of strict immi- • These figures are much too con-
gration controls, rapid migration servative because they assume that Trend 3 Living longer and healthier in
will continue from the Southern life expectancy will grow more
Hemisphere to the North, and espe- slowly in the future, argues CSIS.
developed world. Medical advances slow
cially from former colonies to • Medical advances that slow the the ravages—and reduce the costs—of
Europe. A growing percentage of job fundamental process of aging now aging.
applicants in the United States and seem to be within reach. They could

4 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future

purchasing power among much of Trend 4
the population; in time, it could par-
tially offset the forces promoting Population Growth of Age Groups
economic growth. Global demand
for products and services aimed at Population in billions
the elderly can only grow quickly in 10
the coming decades. 9 65 years and older
Developed countries may face 8
social instability as a result of com- 7 30-64 years
petition for resources between retire- 6
ment-age boomers and their work- 5 15-29 years
ing-age children and grandchildren. 4
In the United States and other devel- 3 0-14 years
oped countries, public spending on 2
retirement benefits could grow to 1
one-fourth of GDP by 2050, even as 0
the number of workers available to 2002 2010 2020 2030 2040 2050
support each retiree declines sharply, Source: U.S. Census Bureau, International Data Base
according to CSIS.
Barring dramatic advances in geri-
atric medicine, the cost of health care projected to rise to 22% in 2010 and
is destined to skyrocket throughout
Trend 4 nearly 37% in 2050.
the developed lands. This could Aging Vulnerability Index Implications: Not counting immigra-
create the long-expected crisis in tion, the ratio of working-age people
health-care financing and delivery. (rankings from least to most vulnerable) to retirees needing their support will
However, dramatic advances in Low Vulnerability drop dramatically in the United
geriatric medicine are all but in- 1. Australia States, Germany, Italy, Russia, and
evitable. Paying the high cost of new 2. United Kingdom Japan by 2050. This represents a bur-
drugs and technologies will reduce 3. United States den on national economies that will
the cost of caring for patients who be difficult to sustain under current
Medium Vulnerability
would have suffered from disorders medical and social-security systems.
4. Canada
eliminated or ameliorated by new 5. Sweden
In the next two to three decades,
therapies. In the end, cost increases 6. Japan shortages of health workers will
and reductions should just about 7. Germany loom large in “aging vulnerable”
balance out, leaving the average 8. Netherlands countries. The United States in
American health-care bill nearly 9. Belgium particular will need at least twice as
unchanged. many physicians specializing in geri-
High Vulnerability
atrics as its current 9,000, as well as
10. France
half a million more nurses by 2020.
4 The elderly population is growing dra- 11. Italy
matically throughout the world. 12. Spain

• Worldwide, the elderly (age 65 Source: Center for Strategic and Inter-
5 The growth of the information indus-
and older) numbered 440 million national Studies and Watson Wyatt World-
tries is creating a knowledge-dependent
and represented 6% of the popula- wide, The 2003 Aging Vulnerability Index.
global society.
tion in 2002. The elderly are pro- • More and more businesses and
jected to nearly double by 2020 (to Rapidly aging populations make the entire industries are emerging that
over 9% of total population) and are based on the production and ex-
more than triple by 2050 (to
economies of countries like Spain, Italy, change of information and ideas
nearly 17%), according to the U.S. and France vulnerable to rising old-age rather than exclusively manufac-
Census Bureau’s International dependency costs. tured goods or other tangible prod-
Data Base. ucts. “Knowledge workers” refers to
• In the developed world, professionals who provide skills and
people over 65 made up 15% of the • In Germany, the retirement-age services not directly related to pro-
population in 2000, and will grow to population will climb from under ducing goods—e.g., accountants ver-
27% in the next half century, accord- 16% of the population in 2000 to sus auto mechanics, architects versus
ing to CSIS. nearly 19% in 2010 and 31% in 2050. construction workers.
• Throughout the developed world, • By 2050, one in three Italians • Telecommuting is a growing
population growth is fastest among will be over 65, nearly double the knowledge-age phenomenon. About
the elderly. In Europe, the United proportion today. 80% of companies worldwide now
States, and Japan, the aged also form • Japan’s over-65 population made are estimated to have employees
the wealthiest segment of society. up 17% of the total in 2000 and is who work at home, up from 54% in

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 5


skilled workers, and their the Middle East, and the Indian sub-
proliferation is raising continent continues.
overall prosperity. • More than 400,000 legal immi-
Even entry-level work- grants from central Europe now live
ers and those in formerly and work in western Europe.
unskilled positions re- Between 3 million and 4 million
quire a growing level of more migrants are expected to join
education. For a good them in the next 25 years.
career in almost any • In China, 98 million people have
field, computer compe- moved from rural areas to cities in
tence is mandatory. This recent years, without ever leaving
Trend 5 Computer power is becoming more portable is one major trend raising the country.
the level of education re- • There are about 80 million inter-
and more ubiquitous, enabling more people to become quired for a productive national migrant workers in the
knowledge workers. role in today’s workforce. world, according to the United
For many workers, the Nations. About half settle in Europe;
opportunity for training the rest are divided evenly between
2003. The number of telecommuters is becoming one of the most desir- North America and Asia.
in the United States grew 63.2% able benefits any job can offer. Implications: Impoverished migrants
between 1999 and 2003. New technologies create new in- will place a growing strain on social-
• The Internet makes it possible dustries, jobs, and career paths, security systems in the industrial-
for small businesses throughout the which can bring new income to de- ized countries of Europe and North
world to compete for market share veloping countries. An example is the America. Similar problems will af-
on an even footing with industry transfer of functions such as technical flict the urban infrastructures of
leaders. support in the computer industry to China and India.
• Internet usage in the United Asian divisions and service firms. Remittances from migrants to their
States grew by 4 million new users a For some developing countries, native countries are helping to re-
month in the year starting February computer skills are making it faster lieve poverty in many developing
2003. According to the National and easier to create wealth than a countries. These payments are ex-
Telecommunications and Informa- traditional manufacturing economy pected to exceed $100 billion in 2004.
tion Administration, 54% of the U.S. ever could. India, for example, is Significant backlashes against for-
population was online by 2001. By rapidly growing a middle class, eign migrants, such as the skinhead
early 2004, 75% were Internet con- largely on the strength of its com- movement in Europe, will be seen
nected. puter and telecom industries. Many more frequently in the years ahead.
• In the United States, the “digital other lands will follow its example. Backlashes will be seen even in the
divide” seems to be disappearing. most peaceful lands. For example, in
Internet access is increasing faster in Scandinavia, resentment against for-
black and Hispanic households as
6 Mass migration is redistributing the eign workers is strong, in part
they catch up with white house-
world’s population. because they can return to their na-
holds. As of 2001, 32% of Hispanic • Immigration is quickly changing tive lands after three years of em-
and 30.8% of African American the ethnic composition of the U.S. ployment and collect a pension
households were online. By early population. In 2000, Latinos made equal to the minimum wage for the
2004, 61% of black children and 67% up 12.6% of the U.S. population, but rest of their lives.
of Hispanic youngsters had Internet by 2050, they will account for 24.5%.
access at home, compared with 80% Asians in the United States, cur-
of white children. rently 3.8% of the population, will
7 Despite some xenophobic reactions to
• Computer appliances—whether comprise an estimated 8% of the
immigrants, there is growing acceptance of
desktop, laptop, or handheld—are population by 2050, according to the
cultural diversity. This is due to the unify-
becoming more integrated, portable, latest U.S. Census Bureau figures.
ing effect of mass media, which is promot-
and powerful. Most will combine • Higher fertility rates among the
ing the growth of a truly integrated global
multimedia communication func- immigrant Latino population will
society. However, this is subject to local in-
tions and real-time voice translation, accelerate this trend. As of 2002,
terruptions and reversals.
so that conversations originating in women in the United States pro- • Migration is mixing disparate
one of seven or eight common lan- duced about two children during peoples and forcing them to find
guages can be heard in any of the their lives, just enough to maintain ways to coexist peacefully and pro-
others. These technologies will en- the population. Among Hispanics, ductively.
able even more people to become the average was more than 2.7 births • The Internet and Web and other
knowledge workers—or at least per woman. Among Mexican immi- technologies promote long-distance
knowledge-enhanced workers. grants, it was nearly 2.9. communication. People connect over
Implications: Knowledge workers are • Immigration to western Europe the same computer networks and
generally better paid than less- from eastern Europe, North Africa, commercial databases.

6 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future


tremists’ activities farming out high-cost, low-payoff

in check. secondary functions to suppliers,
Implications: service firms, and consultants, which
While technolo- increasingly are located in other
gies increasingly countries.
facilitate cultural • Companies in high-wage coun-
and professional tries also are outsourcing manage-
exchanges around ment and service jobs to low-wage
the world, local countries. An estimated 3.3 million
conflicts will con- U.S. jobs are expected to migrate to
tinue to erupt in India and China by 2015. Jobs in
societies where western Europe are migrating to
xenophobia is eastern Europe, the former Soviet
Trend 7 Cultural and ethnic diversity is gaining acceptance, common. Some of Union, and the English- and French-
the most fervent speaking former colonies of Africa.
especially among younger generations around the world. culturist move- And India has begun to ship jobs to
ments will con- even-lower-cost countries in Africa.
tinue to spring • In the European Union, relax-
• Mass media, including televi- from religious f u n d a m e n t a l i s m ation of border and capital controls
sion, radio, films, interactive games, that would-be dictators and strong- and the adoption of a common cur-
and music, are homogenizing forces men will exploit to promote their rency and uniform product stan-
in global culture as they promote a own interests. Terrorism especially dards are making it still easier for
common language, mores, and cul- will be a continuing problem. companies to distribute products
tural reference points. In the United Companies will hire ever more and support functions throughout
States, for instance, television en- minority workers and will be ex- the Continent.
courages the spread of standard ac- pected to adapt to their values and • The ability of the Internet and
cents and language patterns. needs. Much of the burden of accom- cable-TV home shopping channels to
• The globalization of business is modating foreign-born residents will bring manufacturers closer to remote
having a similar impact. Throughout continue to fall on employers, who customers is turning many retail in-
the United States and Europe, must make room for their languages dustries on their heads.
regional differences, attitudes, in- and cultures in the workplace. Implications: The growth of e-com-
comes, and lifestyles are blurring as Public schools and libraries must merce enables businesses to shop
business carries people from one prepare to shoulder the burden of globally for the lowest-cost raw ma-
area to another. preparing this future workforce. terials and supplies. In niche mar-
• Intermarriage also continues to kets, the Internet also makes it pos-
mix cultures geographically, ethni- sible for small companies to compete
cally, socially, and economically.
8 The global economy is growing more with giants worldwide with rela-
• Minorities are beginning to exert
integrated. tively little investment.
m o re i n f l u e n c e ove r n a t i o n a l • Companies are increasingly Demand for personnel in distant
agendas as the growing number of
African Americans, Hispanics, and © EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, 2004

Asians in the United States is mir-

rored by the expanding population
of refugees and former “guest work-
ers” throughout Europe.
• A 2001 poll by Time and Market
& Opinion Research International
found that 21% of young British
adults viewed themselves as prima-
rily European, rather than British.
Some 31% of French Gen X’ers, 36%
of Germans, and 42% of Italians also
said they thought of themselves as
primarily European.
• However, in many countries
there are powerful reactions against
these changes. The growth of the
German neo-Nazi movement after Trend 8 The European Union’s integrated economy and relaxed borders are making it eas-
unification in 1992 is one obvious ex-
ample, though negative public opin-
ier for companies to function.
ion toward these views have kept ex-

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 7

countries will increase the need for
foreign-language training, employee
for the hatred of Muslim extremists.
If the deteriorating situation in
Trends in Values, Concerns,
incentives suited to other cultures, Palestine leads to more active con- and Lifestyles
aid to executives going overseas, and flict, or if Israel renounces any at-
the many other aspects of doing tempt to make peace with its neigh-
business in other countries. As east- bors, U.S. interests will be targeted
10 Societal values are changing rapidly.
ern Europe integrates more fully by a new wave of terrorism. Industrialization raises educa-
with the European Union, a major Implications: Virtually all of the Mus- tional levels, changes attitudes
investment in personnel develop- lim lands face an uncertain, and very toward authority, reduces fertility, al-
ment will be needed over the next possibly bleak, future of political in- ters gender roles, and encourages
few years. stability and growing violence. The broader political participation. This
Western companies may have to exceptions are the oil states, where process is just beginning throughout
accept that proprietary information money can still buy relative peace, at the developing world. Witness the
will be shared not just with their im- least for now. increases in literacy, decreases in fer-
mediate partners in Asian joint ven- Saudi Arabia is likely to be taken tility, and broad voter turnout seen
tures, but also with other members over by a fundamentalist regime on in India over the last five years.
of the partners’ trading conglomer- the death of King Fahd. • Developed societies will increas-
ates. In high technology and aero- The overthrow of the Taliban in ingly take their cue from Gen X and
space, that may expose companies to Afghanistan and of Saddam Hussein the millennial generation (aka Gen Y
extra scrutiny, due to national- in Iraq have inflamed extremist pas- or generation dot-com), rather than
security concerns. sions throughout the Muslim world. the baby boomers who have domi-
This may make future fundamental- nated its thinking for most of four
ist revolutions more likely, rather decades. This will tend to homoge-
9 Militant Islam is spreading and gaining than less so. nize basic attitudes throughout the
power. The West, and particularly the world, because Gen X’ers and espe-
• It has been clear for years that United States, is likely to face more cially the millennials around the
the Muslim lands face major prob- —and more violent—acts of terror- globe have more in common with
lems with religious extremists dedi- ism for at least the next 20 years. each other than with their parents.
cated to advancing their political, Both Europe and the United States • In the future, both self-reliance
social, and doctrinal views by any ultimately may face homegrown and cooperation will be valued—
means necessary. Those problems Muslim extremist movements. self-reliance because individuals will
often have spilled over into the rest Thanks largely to waves of immigra- no longer be able to fall back on gov-
of the world. They will do so again. tion since the 1980s, Islam is the ernment social-security income, pen-
• In a 1994 terrorism study for the fastest-growing religion in both re- sions, or other benefits, and co-
Department of Defense and other gions. There are credible reports that operation because group action often
government clients, Forecasting extremist clerics in Europe are suc- is the best way to optimize the use of
International predicted that, by 2020, cessfully recruiting young Muslims scarce resources, such as retirement
a strong majority of the world’s 25 or to the cause of jihad against their savings.
so most important Muslim lands adopted homes. • Post–September 11 worry over
could be in the hands of extremist Western interests also will be vul- terrorist attacks have led Americans
religious governments. At the time, nerable in many countries outside to accept almost without comment
only Iran was ruled by such a the Muslim core. The strong inter- security measures that their vaunted
regime; Afghanistan’s Taliban move- national ties formed among Islamic love of privacy once would have
ment gained power two years later, militants during the anti-Soviet war made intolerable. This continues a
and Sudan has since followed. in Afghanistan have produced an ex- long-established tendency in the
• Most of the Muslim lands are tremist infrastructure that can sup- United States to prefer a greater
overcrowded and short of resources. port terrorist activities almost any- sense of safety at the cost of
Many are poor, save for the oil-rich where in the world. increased government surveillance
states of the Middle East. Virtually This development must be taken and intervention in their lives.
all have large populations of young even more seriously, because, for the • Once national security issues
men, often unemployed, who are fre- first time, a Muslim country—Pak- lose their immediacy, family issues
quently attracted to violent extremist istan—has nuclear weapons. Muslim will again dominate American
movements. extremists view this technology as society, at least through 2008: long-
• The United States massively for- an “Islamic bomb” that could be term health care, day care, early
tified the Muslim extremist infra- used to promote their cause. As the childhood education, and antidrug
structure by supplying it with world has learned, some high-rank- campaigns, as well as environmental
money, arms, and, above all, training ing Pakistanis have been willing to concerns.
during its proxy war with the Soviet donate nuclear technology to other Implications: The highly polarized
Union in Afghanistan. Muslims. From here on out, the pos- political environment that has in-
• American support for Israel has sibility of nuclear terrorism is a real- creasingly plagued the United States
also made the United States a target istic threat. in the 1980s and 1990s will slowly

8 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future


moderate as results-oriented Gen most young people have high aspira-

X’ers and the millennials begin to tions, but many lack the means to
dominate the national dialogue as achieve them. Only one in three
voters and decision makers. high-school graduates goes on to re-
Current accounting reforms are ceive a college degree. Many of the
just the leading edge of a wave of rest wish to go, but cannot afford the
stockholder protection laws and reg- high cost of further schooling.
ulations that can be expected within • Wit h o u t h i g h e r e du c a t i o n ,
the next five years. expectations may never be met:
The demand for greater accounta- Between 1978 and 2002, average
bility and transparency in business hourly earnings for 23- to 27-year-
will be crucial, not only in the U.S. olds grew by more than 9% a year
business community, but also for for Americans with a bachelor’s de-
countries that wish to attract inter- gree or higher, while those with less Trend 12 International tourism is con-
national investors. than a high-school diploma saw
Reaction against changing values wages grow by just 2.4% a year, ac- tinuing to grow and will become an in-
is one of the prime motives of cul- cording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor creasingly important industry for devel-
tural extremism, particularly in the Statistics (BLS). oping countries.
Muslim world and in parts of India. Implications: This will prove to be a
global trend, as members of genera-
tion X and the millennials through-
11 Young people place increasing impor- out the world tend to share values.
12 Tourism, vacationing, and travel (espe-
tance on economic success, which they Gen X and millennial entrepreneurs
cially international) will continue to grow in
have come to expect. are largely responsible for the cur-
the next decade.
• Throughout the 1990s—effec- rent economic growth in India and • Over the next 10 years, travel
tively, their entire adult lives—Gen China, where they are becoming a and tourism are expected to grow by
X’ers and the millennials knew only major force in the Communist party. an average of 4.5% annually. By 2014,
good economic times, and the eco- In India, the younger generations that will amount to a market of more
nomic downturn at the turn of the dress and think like their American than $9.5 trillion, adding nearly $7
century seemed to them a confusing counterparts, not their parents. In trillion to the world’s GDP.
aberration rather than a predictable China, the democratic fervor that • The number of Americans trav-
part of the business cycle. Most ex- spawned Tiananmen Square has eling to foreign countries (excluding
pect to see hardship on a national been replaced by capitalist entrepre- Canada and Mexico) increased at 5%
level, but they both want and expect neurialism. per year from 1981 through 1996.
prosperity for themselves. If younger-generation workers Once current worries over the threat
• Growing numbers of people find their ambitions thwarted, they of terrorism recede, that growth will
now become entrepreneurs. Gen will create growing pressure for eco- resume and will continue for the
X’ers and the millennials are the nomic reform and deregulation. If foreseeable future.
most entrepreneurial generations in reforms do not come fast enough in • In the United States, 2004 fore-
history. the developing world, disappointed casts call for a rise in travel and
• In the United States especially, expectations will raise the number of tourism revenues to about $568 bil-
young people who lion, nearing the $570.5 billion seen
PHOTOS.COM emigrate to the de- prior to September 11, 2001.
veloped lands. • The industry will create 3.3 mil-
Disappointment lion jobs worldwide. Jobs dependent
also will drive on tourism will comprise nearly 14%
u n d e re mp l o y e d of the global workforce.
young men in the • Direct employment will not
developing world grow quite as quickly, but it will be
into fringe politi- up 1.7% annually, to nearly 87.5 mil-
cal and religious lion jobs, while indirect employment
movements. This will account for some 260 million
could cause a new jobs around the world.
wave of terrorism • Chinese spending for inter-
and instability, with national travel will reach $100 billion
profound effects on by 2008. By 2020, according to the
the cultures and World Trade Organization, 100 mil-
Trend 11 Younger workers are more entrepreneurial and have economies of the lion Chinese will fan out across the
United States and globe, replacing Americans, Japan-
higher expectations of economic success. other target coun- ese, and Germans as the world’s
tries. most numerous travelers.

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 9

• China soon will become the rate, according to a study by the
world’s most popular destination as United Health Foundation, the
well, as preparations for the 2008 American Public Health Association,
Summer Olympic Games focus inter- and the Partnership for Prevention.
national attention on Beijing. By During the 1990s, health in the
2020, China can expect 130 million United States improved by 1.5% an-
international arrivals. nually, based on such measures as
• By 2020, 50 million Indians are smoking prevalence, health-insur-
expected to tour overseas. ance coverage, infant mortality rates,
• Tourism will benefit as Internet and premature deaths. During the
“virtual” tours replace printed 2000s, health improvement has
brochures in promoting vacation slowed to just 0.2% a year, largely
destinations. Web sites cover not due to personal choices. The study
only popular attractions, but also cites a 97% increase in obesity since
provide current, detailed informa- 1990 as especially troubling.
tion on accommodations, climate, • The low-carbohydrate weight- Trend 13 European Union’s ad
culture, currency, language, immu- loss fad trumps other health con-
nization, and passport requirements. cerns. Though Japan and Korea campaign against tobacco use
• Multiple, shorter vacations closed their doors to American beef simulates hard-hitting warning labels
spread throughout the year will con- after one case of mad cow disease on cigarette packages.
tinue to replace the traditional two- was discovered in December 2003,
week vacation. demand in the United States never
• More retirees will travel off- faltered. Carb-avoiding dieters kept wellness movements spread, they
season, spreading travel evenly beef prices near record highs well will further improve the health of the
throughout the year and eliminating into 2004. elderly.
the cyclical peaks and valleys typical • This trend has not yet had a sim- Better health in later life will make
of the industry. Cruise ships will ilar impact on Europe, and people in us still more conscious of our ap-
continue to lure retirees, and some many countries of the developing pearance and physical condition.
liners are offering full-time resi- world still worry more about eating Thus, health clubs will continue to
dency—creating new options for as- enough than eating well. boom, and some will specialize in
sisted living arrangements, suggests • Smoking is in general decline in the needs of older fitness buffs. Diet,
an article in the Journal of the Ameri- the United States. Only 21% of fitness, stress control, and wellness
can Geriatrics Society. Americans smoked cigarettes as of programs will prosper.
Implications: The hospitality industry January 2000, down from 30% in The cost of health care for U.S.
will grow at a rate of at least 5% per 1983. Financial disincentives such as baby boomers and their children
year for the foreseeable future, and higher taxes on cigarettes should could be much lower in later life
perhaps a bit more. Tourism offers produce further declines of 10%. than is now believed. However, Asia
growing opportunities for out-of- State and local antitobacco actions faces an epidemic of cancer, heart
the-way destinations that have not include more bans on indoor smok- disease, emphysema, and other
yet cashed in on the boom. This will ing in public places, such as restau- chronic and fatal illnesses related to
make it an important industry for rants, office buildings, and shopping health habits.
still more developing countries. malls. Like tobacco companies, produc-
• It appears that the antismoking ers of snack foods, liquor, and other
movement is finally making its way unhealthy products will increasingly
13 The physical-culture and personal- to Europe. Ireland banned smoking target markets in developing coun-
health movements will remain strong, but from its pubs late in April 2004. tries, where this trend has yet to be
far from universal. • The global obesity crisis is a sig- felt.
• Emphasis on preventive medi- nificant countertrend to the physical- Chronic diseases related to obesity
cine continues to grow. In recent culture movement. Poor diet, physi- burden national economies and
years, most insurance carriers in the cal inactivity, and associated obesity could thwart economic progress in
United States have expanded cover- contribute to 47% of diseases and developing countries.
age or reduced premiums for policy- 60% of deaths worldwide, according
holders with healthy lifestyles. By to the International Association for
2007, 90% of insurers will offer such the Study of Obesity.
14 Consumerism is still growing rapidly.
benefits. • Developing countries that • A networked society facilitates a
• The health movement in West- “Westernize” their diets by consum- consumerist society. Shoppers in-
ern culture has shifted from the de- ing more foods high in fat, sugar, creasingly have access to informa-
sire to look better to the need to pro- and salt are at risk of epidemic obe- tion about pricing, services, delivery
mote health. sity, including among children and time, and customer reviews on the
• Health is continuing to improve adolescents. Internet. Marketers, of course, can
in the United States, but at a slower Implications: As the nutrition and also check the competition’s offer-

10 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future


cutting warehouse operations and of directors. In Britain’s top 20 firms,

“category killers.” This will inspire 90% now have at least one female di-
social unrest in countries where rector on their boards, reports the
farmers and owners of small shops U.K. Department of Trade and In-
have strong cultural or political posi- dustry.
tions. • An infrastructure is evolving
This trend also will spread to that allows women to make more
China, though it will run several decisions and to exercise political
years behind developments in power, especially where both
Europe and Japan. spouses work. One indication of
As prices fall to commodity levels growing dependence on the wife:
and online stores can list virtually Life insurance companies are selling
every product and brand in their in- more policies to women than to men.
dustry without significant overhead, • More women are entering the
service is the only field left in which professions, politics, and the judici-
marketers on and off the Internet can ary. As we have seen in Iraq, they also
Trend 14 Consumerism is on the rise, compete effectively. are finding roles as combat soldiers.
Branded items with good reputa- Implications: Whatever careers
and the younger generations appear tions are even more important for remain relatively closed to women
particularly prone to the lure of shopping. developing repeat business. will open wide in the years ahead.
Demand for child care and other
family-oriented services will con-
ings. This may gradually halt the
15 The women’s equality movement is tinue to grow, particularly in the
decline of prices and shift competi-
beginning to lose its significance, thanks United States, where national ser-
tion increasingly to improvements in
largely to past successes. vices have yet to develop. Over the
service and salesmanship. • Three-fourths of U.S. women next 20 years, U.S. companies may
• Consumer advocacy agencies ages 25 to 34 participated in the increasingly follow the example of
and organizations will continue to workforce in 2000 compared with a their counterparts in Europe, whose
proliferate, promoting better infor- little more than half in 1975, accord- taxes pay for national day-care pro-
mation—unit pricing, improved con- ing to BLS. grams and other social services the
tent labels, warning notices, nutrition • Gen X’ers and millennials are United States lacks.
data, and the like—on packaging, virtually gender-blind in the work- In the long run, the need to work
TV, and the Internet. place, compared with older genera- with female executives from the de-
• Discount stores such as Home tions. This is true even in societies veloped countries will begin to erode
Depot and Wal-Mart, factory outlets, such as India and Japan,
and food clubs will continue to grow which have long been male-
in the United States, a trend that has dominated, though not yet in
Trend 15
just begun to spread to Europe and conservative Muslim lands. Young Adults in the Labor Force
Japan. • Younger generations of
• Children in the United States women are also more edu- Labor force participation rates of women aged
become shoppers as young as age six cated. In 2000, 30% of U.S. 25-34 have increased.
and become aware of brands at age women ages 25 to 34 had
two or three, due largely to child- completed four or more years 100 95.3 93.3
focused advertising, says researcher of college, compared with 90
Juliet Schor in Born to Buy: The Com- 18% in 1975. 80 77.1
mercialized Child and the New Con- • Fully 57% of American 70
sumer Culture (Scribner, 2004). college students are women. 60 54.2

• The millennial generation is be- Among minorities, the num- 50

coming increasingly prone to com- ber is even higher: 60% of 40
pulsive spending. In the United Hispanic and two-thirds of 30
States, 10% of millennials can be African-American college 20
classified as clinically compulsive students are women. 10
spenders, compared with 5% of Gen • Women’s increasing en- 0
X’ers and 1%–3% of baby boomers, trepreneurialism will allow Women Men
according to a Baylor University the formation of entrenched
study. “old girl” networks compa- 1975
Implications: In the next 20 years, rable to the men’s relation- 2000
Europe and Japan can expect to ships that once dominated
undergo the same revolution in mar- business. Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor
keting that has replaced America’s • Corporations are adding Statistics, Monthly Labor Review (March 2002).
neighborhood stores with cost- more women to their boards

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 11

the restrictions placed on women’s over homosexuality and the “decline constitutes negligence.
careers in some developing regions. of the family” will remain polarizing Implications: Most surveillance provi-
issues for the foreseeable future. sions of the USA Patriot Act will be
retained, even if the law itself is al-
16 Family structures are becoming more lowed to expire.
diverse. 17 Privacy, once a defining right for Ameri- In the absence of a major terrorist
• In periods of economic diffi-
cans, is dying in many lands. event, however, privacy will con-
culty, children and grandchildren • Widespread surveillance of pri- tinue to be considered a right in the
move back in with parents and vate individuals is technically fea- United States, and privacy-related
grandparents to save on living ex- sible and economically viable, as lawsuits will likely increase as more
penses. In the United States, one- tiny, powerful cameras now cost people feel violated or inconve-
third of Gen X’ers have returned next to nothing. Increased surveil- nienced by surveillance cameras,
home at some point in their early lance has become socially acceptable such as those used for traffic enforce-
lives. PHOTOS.COM ment.
• Growing numbers of grandpar- In large and medium-sized cities
ents are raising their grandchildren, around the world, spaces that
because drugs and AIDS have left remain unwatched by video cameras
the middle generation either unable will continue to shrink.
or unavailable to care for their chil- Growing numbers of companies,
dren. This trend is strongest in and even a few private citizens, will
Africa, where AIDS has orphaned encrypt their computer data.
some 12 million children, half Trend 17 Surveillance is on the rise and The number of criminal cases
between the ages of 10 and 14. In based on surveillance data will
Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, and privacy is evaporating as more stress is grow rapidly in countries with the
Zimbabwe, more than one in five placed on ensuring security and safety. required technological sophistica-
children will be orphaned by 2010, tion and infrastructure.
according to UNICEF. Of these,
about 80% will have lost at least one in an age when many people fear
parent to AIDS. In the seven African terrorism and crime. Energy Trends
countries most affected by AIDS, life • The USA Patriot Act of 2001 sets
expectancy at birth has now aside the constitutional requirement
dropped below 40. of a search warrant for government
18 Despite all the calls to develop alterna-
• Among the poor, grandparents officials who wish to search some-
tive sources of energy, oil consumption is
also provide live-in day care for the one’s home in order to thwart pos-
still rising rapidly.
children of single mothers trying to sible terrorism. Its provisions have • The world used only 57 million
gain an education or build a career. been used to justify searches in pur- barrels of oil per day in 1973, when
• Civil unions or marriages between suit of drug dealers and even, in one the first major price shock hit. By
same-sex partners are facing cultural attempt thus far blocked by the 2004, it was using nearly 82 million
and legal battles in the United States courts, copyright abusers.
since the issue heated up in 2004, • Cell phone conversations are PHOTOS.COM

when the Massachusetts Supreme presumed not private, opening them

Court ruled that the state’s ban on to government eavesdropping at
gay marriage was unconstitutional. will.
Germany, the Netherlands, and parts • The contents of most Internet-
of Canada all have such laws, and connected computers are open to
similar proposals allowing gay mar- virtually unobstructed snooping by
riage have wide support in Britain. anyone with the will to examine
• Yet the nuclear family also is re- them and a minimum of skill. All
bounding, as baby-boom and Gen X but the most secure can be invaded
parents focus on their children and by more capable hackers.
grandparents retain more indepen- • In Britain, roughly 1.5 million
dence and mobility. surveillance cameras watch over
Implications: Tax and welfare policies streets, office buildings, schools, and Trend 18 Oil consumption is continu-
need adjustment to cope with fami- shopping centers, making the United
lies in which heads of households Kingdom one of the most closely
ing to rise. Oil exploration in sensitive
are retired or unable to work. monitored nations in the world. areas like the Arctic National Wildlife
Policies also need to be adjusted • In the United States, the growth Refuge will be accompanied by
for those who receive Social Security of surveillance also is driven by the risk-reducing technologies, such as
and are forced to work to support an fear that lawsuits following a future
extended family. terrorist attack could claim that fail-
double-walled pipelines.
In the United States, the debates ure to install monitoring equipment

12 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future


barrels daily, according to the Inter- stan will be major suppliers, if the
national Energy Agency. Consump- necessary pipelines can be com-
tion is expected to reach 110 million pleted and political uncertainties in
barrels daily by 2020. Russia and Kazakhstan do not block
• However, oil’s share of world investment by Western oil compa-
energy consumption has begun to nies. Russia is expected to become
decline: It is expected to drop from the world’s second-largest oil pro-
40% in 1999 to about 37% in 2020. ducer by 2010.
• The United States consumed • Exploitation of oil in Venezuela
19.7 million barrels of oil daily in has barely begun. Reserves there
2000, of which 10.4 million barrels may be even larger than those in
came from net imports—up from 6.3 Saudi Arabia, according to some es-
million barrels in net imports in timates. However, it is more expen-
1973. In 2004, about 55% of the petro- sive to refine and use, because it con-
leum used in the United States was tains much higher levels of sulfur
imported. Domestic oil production is Trend 19 The world is not running out than the Middle Eastern oil cur-
expected to disappear by about 2055, rently in production.
even if reserves are tapped in the of oil—yet. Oil production has yet to • India also is believed to own
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. peak in non-OPEC nations such as China, substantial reserves of oil in de-
• In the first quarter of 2004, Russia, and Kazakhstan. posits beneath the Indian Ocean.
China consumed about 6.14 million Implications: Higher oil prices
barrels of oil, up 18% over the same should make it cost effective to
period in 2003. In February 2004, it originate with an odd coalition of the develop new methods of recovering
imported 3.182 million barrels per American Petroleum Institute and oil from old wells. Technologies al-
day, mostly from the Middle East. alternative-energy proponents—two ready developed could add nearly
Implications: Low oil prices in the groups with a vested interest in 50% to the world’s recoverable oil
mid- to late-1990s slowed develop- keeping oil prices high. In any event, supply.
ment of fields outside the Middle 80% of OPEC’s estimated supply Alternative energy sources face
East. It costs $10,000 to increase oil would still be oil enough to supply problems with economic viability.
production by one barrel per day in the world for the next 64 years. Barring substantial incentives, this
most of the world, but only $5,500 • As a result of intensive explo- will inhibit efforts to stem global
for the OPEC lands. ration, the world’s proven oil re- warming for the foreseeable future.
The latest, relatively sustained serves climbed steadily since the There is reason to wonder whether
increase in oil prices has provided an 1980s, now hovering at over 1 trillion OPEC oil will be available to the
incentive to develop new fields; at barrels. Natural gas reserves stand at United States. Saudi Arabia is likely
the same time, it has changed Ameri- about 5.15 trillion cubic feet. to be taken over by a fundamentalist
can attitudes about the relative im- • OPEC officials claim that the 11 Islamic government similar to that of
portance of energy and the environ- member countries can provide for Iran; if, upon the death of King
ment. As a result, the long delay in the world’s energy needs for roughly Fahd, Osama bin Laden or one of his
tapping the Arctic National Wildlife the next 80 years. OPEC currently deputies seizes power, the new
Refuge will soon come to an end, supplies about 40% of the world’s oil regime could be reluctant to provide
and drilling there will begin. How- and holds 60% of the oil available oil to the United States.
ever, drilling will be confined to the internationally. It will continue to
winter, when the tundra is rock- supply most of the oil used by the
hard, and will use techniques that developed world. According to the
20 Oil prices are stable around $35 per
make it possible to extract oil with U.S. Department of Energy (DOE),
barrel when not perturbed by political or
minimal damage to the surround- OPEC oil production will nearly
economic instability.
ings. Oil companies are even likely double to about 57 million barrels of • Prices above $50 per barrel seen
to use costly double-walled pipelines oil per day by 2020. in 2004 were an aberration caused by
to minimize environmental risks in • OPEC will continue to supply the Iraq war and problems in the
sensitive areas, much as double- most of the world’s oil, with Russia Russian oil industry.
hulled tankers reduce the chance of the second-largest producer. Accord- • Yet new energy demand from
oil spills at sea. ing to the DOE, OPEC oil production the fast-growing economies of China
will grow by some 24 million barrels and India has raised the floor that
of oil per day by 2020, to about 55 until 2004 supported oil in the $25
19 Contrary to popular belief, the world is million barrels per day. This is nearly per barrel range.
not about to run out of oil. two-thirds of the world’s total pro- • New oil supplies coming on line
• Recent reports that the world’s jected increase in production. in the former Soviet Union, China,
oil reserves may be up to 20% • Oil production outside the and other parts of the world will
smaller than previously believed are OPEC nations has not yet peaked. make it even more difficult to sustain
not credible, in part because they By 2010, China, Russia, and Kazakh- prices at artificially high levels. Rus-

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 13

sia in particular should become a
major producer by 2006.
lems where these resources are most
readily available, though they will
Environmental Trends
• The 20 most-industrialized supply only a very small fraction of
countries all have at least three- the world’s energy in the foreseeable
month supplies of oil in tankers and future.
22 People around the world are becoming
underground storage. Most have an- • Nuclear electric output is grow-
increasingly sensitive to environmental
other three months’ worth in “strate- ing, while hydroelectric power gen-
issues such as air pollution, as the conse-
gic reserves.” In times of high oil eration has been declining since its
quences of neglect, indifference, and igno-
prices, customer nations can afford 1996 peak of 727.62 billion kWh.
rance become ever more apparent.
to stop buying until the costs come • Global energy production from • The health impacts of pollution
down. renewable sources such as geother- are well established. In the United
Implications: In response to high (by mal wells, wind turbines, and solar States alone, medical researchers es-
American standards) gas prices, the generators grew by 80.7% between timate that some 64,000 people each
U.S. government will probably boost 1990 and 2002. year die from cardiopulmonary dis-
domestic oil production and refining • Worldwide wind-power gener- ease as a result of breathing particu-
to increase the reserve of gasoline ating capacity grew by 6,500 lates. In sub-Saharan Africa, the toll
and heating oil. This stockpile would megawatts in 2001 alone, the fastest is between 300,000 and 500,000
be ready for immediate use in case of rate of growth yet recorded and 50% deaths per year. Pollution-related
future price hikes. This will make it more than the previous year. Photo- respiratory diseases kill about 1.4
easier to negotiate with OPEC. voltaic solar energy production has million people yearly in China and
The United States almost certainly been growing at a steady 25% per Southeast Asia.
will drill for oil in the Arctic Na- year since 1980. • A 2004 report for the U.S. Envi-
tional Wildlife Refuge, though efforts • Natural gas burns cleanly, and ronmental Protection Administration
will be made to minimize environ- there is enough of it available to sup- (EPA) estimated that pollution by
mental damage. ply the world’s total energy demand American power plants causes
for the next 200 years. Consumption 23,600 needless deaths per year.
21 Growing competition from other energy of natural gas is growing by 3.3% an-
nually, compared with 1.8% for oil.
• In all, the World Health Organi-
zation estimates that 3 million
sources also will help to limit the price of oil. • According to the DOE’s Energy people die each year from the effects
• Nuclear plants will supply 16% Information Agency, shifting 20% of of air pollution, about 5% of the total
of the energy in Russia and eastern America’s energy supply to renew- deaths annually.
Europe by 2010. In early 2004, China able resources by 2020 would have • The European Parliament esti-
had only nine operating nuclear almost no impact on the total cost of mates that 70% of the Continent’s
power plants. It plans to build 30 power. At present, less than 5% of drinking water contains dangerous
more by 2020, bringing nuclear en- the energy used in the United States concentrations of nitrate pollution.
ergy consumption from 16 billion comes from renewable resources. In the United States, there is growing
kWh in 2000 to 142 billion kWh in Implications: Though oil will remain concern that pollutants such as per-
2020. By 2020, Russia will consume the world’s most important energy chlorate, the gasoline additive MTBE,
129 billion kWh of nuclear energy resource for years to come, two or and even the chlorine used to kill
per year, while Canada will use 118 three decades forward it should be waterborne pathogens may represent
billion kWh. less of a choke point in the global significant health concerns.
• Solar, geothermal, wind, and economy. • Though some debate remains
wave energy will ease power prob- Declining reliance on oil eventu- about the cause, the fact of global
ally could help to re- warming has become undeniable. At
SANDIA NATIONAL LABORATORIES duce air and water Palmer Station on Anvers Island,
pollution, at least in Antarctica, for example, the average
the developed world. annual temperature has risen by
By 2060, a costly but 3°C–4°C since the 1940s, and by an
pollution-free hydro- amazing 7°C–9°C in June—early
gen economy may at winter in that hemisphere. Recent
last become practical. analyses say there is a 90% chance
Nuclear power will that the planet’s average annual tem-
supply a growing por- perature will rise between 3°C and
tion of the world’s en- 9°C over the next century.
ergy needs. A new • Governments are taking more-
Trend 21 Solar and renewable resources are becoming technique called active measures to protect the envi-
muon-catalyzed ronment. For instance, after years of
more competitive with oil. Pictured is a solar dish-engine f u s i o n re p o r t e d l y ineffective gestures, Costa Rica has
system (artist’s concept) under development by Sandia could produce com- incorporated about 25% of its land
National Laboratories and Stirling Energy Systems Inc. mercially useful quanti- into protected areas, such as national
ties of energy by 2020. parks. Cambodia has protected a

14 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future


protecting the en- the United States, cities such as At-

vironment is too lanta, where the delivery system is a
obvious to be ig- century old and poorly maintained,
nored. Through- suffer frequent water-main breaks,
out most of the which suck dirt, debris, bacteria, and
world, polluters pollutants into the water supply.
and private bene- • Many ecologists believe that
ficiaries of public global warming will make drought
assets will increas- in the United States much more fre-
ingly confront re- quent—even the norm—west of the
strictive regula- Mississippi River.
tions designed to Implications: Such problems as peri-
Trend 22 Pollution plagues the streets of Addis Ababa, serve the interests odic famine and desertification can
of the community be expected to grow more frequent
Ethiopia, as well as many other places, creating growing aware- at large. and severe in coming decades.
ness of the health impacts of environmental problems. Water wars, predicted for more
than a decade, are an imminent
23 Water shortages threat in places like Kashmir: Much
million-acre forest. Gabon has set
will be a continuing of Pakistan’s supply comes from
aside 10% of its land for parks.
problem for much of the world. areas of Kashmir now controlled by
Liberia is protecting 155,000 acres of • By 2040, at least 3.5 billion India.
forest in an effort to safeguard en- people will run short of water, al- Other present and future water
dangered western chimpanzees. In most 10 times as many as in 1995. By conflicts involve Turkey, Syria, and
1999, Brazil raised the maximum fine 2050, fully two-thirds of the world’s Iraq over the Tigris and Euphrates;
for illegal logging. population could be living in regions Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Palestine
• In an effort to promote cleaner with chronic, widespread shortages over water from the Jordan River
energy technologies and to slow of water. and the aquifers under the Golan
global warming, most European • Contaminated water is impli- Heights; India and Bangladesh, over
nations now tax carbon emissions on cated in 80% of the world’s health the Ganges and Brahmaputra; China,
fossil fuels. In Germany, a carbon tax problems. An estimated 40,000 Indochina, and Thailand, over the
raises the cost of gasoline by nearly people around the world die each Mekong; Kyrghyzstan, Tajikistan,
11¢ per gallon. day of diseases directly caused by and Uzbekistan over the Oxus and
• In India, government policies contaminated water—that’s more Jaxartes rivers; and Ethiopia, Sudan,
consistently rate industrial develop- than 14 million per year. and at least six East African coun-
ment more important than the envi- • One-third of the population of tries, including Egypt, which share
ronment. Yet in an effort to reduce Africa and most of the major cities in the Nile.
air pollution, India’s Supreme Court the developing world will face water Impurities in water will become an
has limited sales of new cars in New shortages, according to the United even greater problem as the popula-
Delhi to 18,000 per year, less than Nations. tion ages and becomes more suscep-
one-fourth of the average previously • The northern half of China, tible to infectious diseases.
sold. home to perhaps half a billion In the United States, repair of de-
• Nonetheless, none of India’s 23 people, already is short of water. The cayed water systems is likely to be a
cities with million-plus populations water table under Beijing has fallen major priority for older cities such as
meets WHO air-quality standards. nearly 200 feet since 1965. New York, Boston, and Atlanta. Cost
Indoor smoke from cooking fires • Water usage is causing other estimates for necessary replacement
kills an estimated 500,000 people in problems as well. For example, irri- and repair of water mains range up
India each year, mostly women and gation water evaporates, leaving to $1 trillion.
children. minerals in the soil. By 2020, 30% of Water providers in the United
• Anticipating a three-foot rise in the world’s arable land will be salty; States will face more new regula-
sea levels, the Netherlands is spend- by 2050, 50%. Salinization already is tions in the next five years than have
ing $1 billion to build new dikes. cutting crop yields in India, Pak- been adopted since the Safe Drink-
Implications: If air pollution were istan, Egypt, Mexico, Australia, and ing Water Act was signed in 1974.
halted instantly, it would take an es- parts of the United States.
timated 200 years for carbon dioxide • Pollution further reduces the
and other greenhouse gases to return supply of safe drinking water. In
24 Recycling has delayed the “garbage
to preindustrial levels. India, an estimated 300 million
glut” that threatened to overflow the
Environmental policies will pro- people lack access to safe drinking
world’s landfills, but the threat has not
voke a political backlash wherever water, due to widespread pollution
passed simply because it has not yet
they conflict with entrenched inter- of rivers and groundwater.
ests, as they have long done in the • Water quality is a growing prob- • Americans now produce about
U.S. West. However, the cost of not lem even in the developed lands. In 4.4 pounds of trash per person per

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 15


day, twice as much as they threw ing is a result of

away a generation ago. human activities that
• In June 2002, New York City produce greenhouse
abandoned its 14-year-old recycling gases. It now seems
effort for glass, plastic, and beverage that China and India
cartons, which city authorities held soon will produce
was not cost-effective. This cut recy- even more of them
cling from about 21% of waste to an than the major indus-
estimated 10% and sent an extra trialized nations.
1,200 tons of litter to landfills each Helping the develop-
day. By contrast, Seattle recycles ing lands to raise
about half of its solid waste. Trend 26 Species loss is now 1,000 times the natural t h e i r s t a n d a rd s
• Seventy percent of U.S. landfills of living without
will be full by 2025, according to the rate of extinction. Here, a great Indian adjutant stork causing wholesale
EPA. witnesses destruction of its habitat in Guwahati City. pollution will re-
• In London and the surrounding quire much more
region, landfills will run out of room aid and diplomacy
by 2012. For household trash, landfill • In South Africa, distrust of than the developed world has ever
space will be exhausted by 2007. many environmental regulations been willing to devote to this cause.
• In some other regions, simply stems from years of apartheid-era re-
collecting the trash is a major prob- strictions that were often justified as
lem. Brazil produces an estimated environmental measures, according
26 Though species extinction may not be
240,000 tons of garbage daily, but to a study of environmental business
so rapid as once believed, loss of biodiver-
only 70% reaches landfills. The rest opportunities by Industry Canada.
sity will be a growing worry for decades to
accumulates in city streets, where it • Some 70% of the energy used in
helps to spread disease. China comes from coal-burning • By 2100, as many as half of all
• Recycling and waste-to-energy power plants, few of which are species could disappear.
plants are a viable alternative to sim- equipped with pollution controls. • Some 15,589 species are now
ply dumping garbage. The United Scientists estimate that by 2025 listed as threatened (7,266 animal
States has more than 2,200 landfills. China will emit more carbon dioxide species and 8,323 plant and lichen
Europe, where recycling and energy and sulfur dioxide than the United species), according to the 2004 Red
conversion are much more common, States, Japan, and Canada combined. List of the International Union for
gets by with 175. • Acid rain like that afflicting the Conservation of Nature and Natural
Implications: Expect a wave of new United States and Canada will ap- Resources. This is an increase of
regulations, recycling, waste-to-en- pear wherever designers of new 3,330 over the 2003 Red List.
ergy projects, and waste manage- power plants and factories neglect • Just 25 so-called “hot spots” cov-
ment programs in an effort to stem emission controls. In India, an area ering 11% of the world’s surface
the tide of trash. It will, of course, the size of the United States is cov- have lost 70% of their original vege-
begin in California, a jurisdiction ered by a haze of sulfates and other tation. What is left, about 2% of the
often cited by policy forecasters as a chemicals associated with acid rain. planet’s surface, is home to 44% of
bellwether of change. Look for this problem to appear in all plant species and 35% of all verte-
Existing regulations will be tight- most other industrializing countries brates other than fish. The hot spots
ened and disposal prices raised in as well. also are home to 1.2 billion people,
Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Implications: Broad regions of the or one-fifth of the world’s popula-
Louisiana, and other places that ac- planet will be subject to pollution, tion.
cept much of the trash from major deforestation, and other environ- • An estimated 50,000 species dis-
garbage producers such as New mental ills in the coming decades. appear each year, up to 1,000 times
York. Diseases related to air and water the natural rate of extinction, accord-
pollution will spread dramatically in ing to the United Nations Environ-
the years ahead. Already, chronic ob- mental Program.
25 Industrial development trumps environ- structive pulmonary disease is five • Eleven percent of birds, 25% of
mental concerns in many parts of the times more common in China than mammals, and 20% to 30% of all
world. in the United States. As citizens of plants are estimated to be nearing
• Respondents to a survey in India the developing countries grow to ex- extinction.
ranked environmental degradation pect modern health care, this will • The chief cause for species loss,
next to last among 10 issues listed as create a growing burden on their according to University of Colorado
significant problems facing the coun- economies. scientists, is the destruction of natu-
try, despite rampant deforestation, This is just a taste of future prob- ral habitats by logging, agriculture,
widespread air and water pollution, lems, and perhaps not the most and urbanization. Some 30 million
loss of biodiversity, and many other troublesome. Even the U.S. govern- acres of rain forest are destroyed
such problems. ment now admits that global warm- each year.

16 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future


• Amphibian populations are in cities are growing

decline throughout the world, for fastest in the de-
reasons that remain poorly under- veloping world.
stood. • The big are
• Coral reefs throughout the getting bigger. In
world are dying rapidly. For in- 1950, there were
stance, Caribbean reefs have lost 80% just eight mega-
of their coral cover in the past three cities, with popu-
decades. Among the suspected cul- lations exceeding
prits are overfishing, pollution, and 5 million, in the
global warming. world. By 2015,
• Though commercial fishing is there will be 59
not known to have exterminated any megacities, 48 of
species—largely because the last few them in less-de-
members of a species are too costly veloped coun-
to catch—it is turning out to be an- tries. Of these, 23
other important cause of species de- will have popula- Trend 27 Urbanization continues to aggravate environmental
pletion. Stocks of cod, tuna, sword- tions over 10 mil-
fish, marlin, and sharks are down lion, all but four problems, especially in developing nations that are less able to
90% since modern industrialized in the developing solve them. Shown here is a busy street in Chennai, India.
fishing got its start 40 years ago. lands.
Implications: Species loss has a pow- • Natural in-
erful negative impact on human crease now accounts for more than • Urbanization also deprives sur-
well-being. Half of all drugs used in half of population increase in the rounding areas of water: Instead of
medicine are derived from natural cities; at most, little more than one- sinking into the ground, rain is col-
sources, including 55 of the top 100 third of urban growth results from lected, piped to the city, used,
drugs prescribed in the United migration. treated as gray water, and then dis-
States. About 40% of all pharmaceu- • Up to 1 billion city dwellers lack carded into the ocean. In some re-
ticals are derived from the sap of adequate shelter, clean water, toilets, gions, such as near Atlanta, water
vascular plants. So far, only 2% of or electricity. The United Nations es- levels in local aquifers are declining
the 300,000 known sap-containing timates that these problems cause 10 rapidly because the water that once
plants have been assayed for poten- million needless deaths annually. replenished them now is lost.
tial drugs. • Fuels burned in cities account • The United States is the one ma-
In Indonesia, home to one-eighth for 75% of global carbon emissions jor counter-example to the global ur-
of the world’s coral reefs, more than from human activity, according to banization trend. This automobile-
70% of the reefs are dead or dying. the Worldwatch Institute. reliant society built one of the best
The Indonesian economy loses an es- • NASA scientists point out that highway systems in the world and
timated $500,000 to $800,000 annu- urbanization also tends to put build- has relatively little mass transit, so
ally per square mile of dead or dam- ings and blacktop on the most fertile more Americans live in the suburbs
aged reef. land, eliminating significant quanti- than in the cities.
Diverse ecosystems absorb more ties of carbon-absorbing plants. Implications: Cities’ contribution to
carbon dioxide than those with global warming can only increase in
fewer species. Loss of biodiversity the years ahead.
thus is a potential cause of global Trend 27 As the world’s supply of potable
warming. water declines, people are concen-
Urban Populations Worldwide trating in those areas where it is
hardest to obtain and is used least ef-
27 Continuing urbanization will aggravate Percentage of population living in cities:
most environmental and social problems. World: 48 Deaths due to shortages of shelter,
• Forty-eight percent of the More-developed countries: 76 water, and sanitation can only grow.
world’s population currently lives in Epidemics will become still more
Less-developed countries: 35
cities, according to the Population common as overcrowding spreads
Reference Bureau’s 2004 World Popu- Africa: 35 HIV and other communicable dis-
lation Data Sheet. By 2030, that figure North America: 79 eases more rapidly.
will grow to 60%, as some 2.1 billion Latin America/Caribbean: 75 Since the growth is now due more
people are added to the world’s Asia: 39 to natural increase than to migration,
cities. Europe: 74 programs designed to encourage ru-
• More than three-fourths of the Source: Population Reference Bureau, ral populations to remain in the coun-
population in developed countries 2004 World Population Data Sheet tryside may be misplaced. Education
live in cities. In North America, ur- and family planning seem more
banization is the highest, at 79%. But likely to rein in the growth of cities.

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 17


Technology Trends
28 Technology increasingly dominates
both the economy and society.
• New technologies are surpass-
ing the previous state of the art in all
fields, and technological obsoles-
cence is accelerating.
• Computers are fast becoming
part of our environment, rather than
just tools we use for specific tasks.
With wireless modems, portable
computers give us access to net-
worked data wherever we go.
• Robots are taking over more and
more jobs that are routine, remote, or
risky, such as repairing undersea
cables or space-station components.
Flexible, general-service personal ro- Trend 28 Computers are fast becoming part of our environment and dominating the
bots will appear in the home by
2010, expanding on the capabilities economy and society in the process.
of devices such as robotic vacuum
cleaners and lawn mowers.
• Wireless connections simplify the cost of many services and prod- Union is just under 2% of GDP. In in-
relocation of personnel, minimize ucts, making it possible to reduce dividual countries, it ranges from
delays in completing new installa- prices while still improving profits. 4.27% of GDP in Sweden to just 1.8%
tions, and let terminals travel with This will be critical to business sur- in Britain, where it has declined
the user instead of forcing the user to vival as the Internet continues to steadily for more than 10 years.
seek out the terminal. push the price of many products to • In Russia, R&D budgets fell
• By 2010, artificial intelligence, the commodity level. from about 2% of GDP in 1990 to un-
data mining, and virtual reality will New technology also will make it der 1% in 1997; they are believed to
help most companies and govern- easier for industry to minimize and have recovered to about 1.1% by
ment agencies to assimilate data and capture its effluent. This will be a 2003.
solve problems beyond the range of crucial ability in the environmentally
today’s computers. AI applications conscious future. © EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, 2004

include robotics, machine vision,

voice recognition, speech synthesis,
electronic data processing, health
29 Research and development will play a
and human services, administration,
growing role in the economy.
and airline pilot assistance. • Total U.S. federal outlays on
• Superconductors operating at R&D have grown steadily in the past
economically viable temperatures three decades. Projected R&D spend-
will be in commercial use soon after ing in fiscal year 2005 represents
2015. 1.1% of GDP, the same proportion as
Implications: New technologies in 1990 but greater than in 2000
should continue to improve the effi- (0.7%).
ciency of many industries, helping to • R&D outlays in Japan have risen
keep costs under control. However, almost continuously, to nearly 3% of
this increased productivity retarded GDP.
U.S. job creation from 2002 through • China has taken third place in
early 2004. Other developed coun- the world’s R&D spending, with a
tries are likely to feel the same effect budget totaling about $60 billion in
in the future. 2001, the most recent year for which
New technologies often require a the figure is available. The United
higher level of education and train- States spent $282 billion on research Trend 29 Research and development
ing to use them effectively. They also that year, while Japan spent $104 bil-
provide dozens of new opportunities lion. Germany, in fourth place, spent
investments will continue to have im-
to create businesses and jobs. $54 billion. portant impacts on the global economy.
Automation will continue to cut • R&D spending in the European

18 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future

• In the United States, federal ence is being felt in the declining • Advances in automobile tech-
f u n d i n g f o r b a s i c re s e a rc h h a s fraction of patents, Nobel Prizes, and nology such as road-condition
dwindled, as Washington focuses on other awards going to American sci- sensors, continuously variable trans-
military research and engineering. entists. As other countries become missions, automated traffic manage-
• Corporate R&D in the United more skilled in critical high-tech ment systems, night-vision systems,
States also has shifted in the post– fields, the United States is fast losing and smart seats that tailor airbag in-
S e p t e m b e r 11 p e r i o d , w it h l e s s its edge. If this trend is not reversed, flation to the passenger’s weight will
emphasis on pharmaceuticals and it will begin to undermine the U.S. all be in common use by 2010.
computer-related fields and more fo- economy and shift both economic • The first commercial hybrid gas-
cus on biotechnology, nanotech- and political power to other lands. electric cars are available already.
nology, and security technologies. New models will begin to win mar-
• Western corporations are begin- ket share from traditional gas guz-
ning to outsource R&D to foreign
30 Advances in transportation technology zlers between 2005 and 2010.
contractors, just as they do other
will make travel and shipping faster, • To reduce the number and sever-
functions. Russian laboratories,
cheaper, and safer, by land, sea, and air. ity of traffic accidents, trucks on the
which are technologically sophisti- • NASA’s X-43A Scramjet, an ex- most heavily used highways will be
cated but have been hard-pressed to perimental hypersonic aircraft, suc- exiled to car-free lanes, and the sepa-
survive budget cuts for more than a cessfully flew at 7,000 mph (nearly ration will be enforced.
decade, are taking on much of this 10 times the speed of sound) in Implications: One of the fastest-grow-
work. November 2004. Once commercial- ing transport industries is trucking,
• U.S. jobs created by high-tech ized, such technology could whisk in part because computers encour-
exports are more than replacing the diplomats and other high-priority age just-in-time inventory manage-
low-tech jobs lost to competition un- passengers across continents in less ment. Deliveries for Internet-based
der the North American Free Trade time than it takes most people to companies are an expanding market
Agreement and similar agreements. drive to the airport. for shipping. This field will grow
Implications: The demand for scien- • By 2010, New York, Tokyo, and more efficient as GPS-based truck
tists, engineers, and technicians will Frankfurt will emerge as transfer tracking and other new technologies
continue to grow, particularly in points for passengers of high-speed, spread through the industry.
fields where research promises an large-capacity supersonic planes. More-efficient vehicles, especially
immediate business payoff. • Airline crashes will decline, and with hybrid power trains, should be-
Low-wage countries such as China will involve fewer fatalities, thanks gin to reduce the demand for oil by
will continue to take jobs from ad- to such technical advances as safer 2008, easing one of the few remain-
vanced industrialized countries such seat design and flash-resistant fuels. ing sources of inflation.
as the United States, but those jobs • Following European practice, By 2010, smart-car technologies
will be replaced by higher-paid jobs the U.S. airline industry will begin to will begin to reduce deaths due to
in technology and service industries. replace the spokes of its existing auto accidents in Europe and,
Countries like India, China, and hub-and-spokes system with high- slightly later, the United States.
Russia may continue to suffer a speed trains for journeys of 100 to Cities increasingly will struggle to
brain drain as those with high-tech 150 miles. reduce auto congestion, either by
skills emigrate to high-demand,
high-wage destinations. However, NASA PHOTO

there is evidence that growing num-

bers of technology students and pro-
fessionals are spending time in the
West to learn cutting-edge skills, and
then returning to their native lands
to work, start companies, and teach.
This trend may promote the growth
of some developing countries while
reducing the competitive advantages
of the developed world.
By inhibiting stem-cell research,
the United States has made itself a
less attractive place for cutting-edge
biomedical scientists. The United
Kingdom is capitalizing on this to
become the world’s leader in stem-
cell research. In the process, it is re- Trend 30 NASA’s X-43A Scramjet breaks speed record. Transportation technologies will
versing the brain drain that once de-
prived it of top scientists.
move people and cargo faster and farther than ever.
Washington’s neglect of basic sci-

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 19


limiting the use of private auto- tually, some 4,000 hereditary

mobiles—as in Munich, Vienna, and disorders may be prevented
Mexico City—or by encouraging the or cured through genetic in-
development and use of mass tran- tervention.
sit, as in Copenhagen and Curitiba, • Our growing knowledge
Brazil. of biochemistry, aided by ad-
Technology may offer other alter- vanced computer modeling,
natives. One proposal is “dualmode has made it possible to de-
transportation,” in which private sign drugs to fit specific re-
cars would be used normally on ceptors in the cell. Drugs cre-
short hauls but would run on auto- ated through this technology
mated guideways for long-distance often are much more effec-
travel. tive than natural derivatives.
• New research on artifi-
cial blood shows promise for
31 The pace of technological change accel- stretching the supply of
erates with each new generation of discov- blood, which is expected to
eries and applications. fall short of demand by 4
• The design and marketing million units per year for the
cycle—idea, invention, innovation, next 30 years.
imitation—is shrinking steadily. • Memory-enhancing
Thus, products must capture their drugs should reach clinical
market quickly, before the competi- use by 2010.
tion can copy them. As late as the • “Magic bullet” drug-de-
1940s, the product cycle stretched to livery systems will make it
30 or 40 years. Today, it seldom lasts possible to direct enormous
30 to 40 weeks. doses of medication exactly Trend 32 Medical advances will continue emerg-
• Computer-aided design in the where they are needed, spar-
automobile and other industries ing the rest of the body from ing almost daily thanks to genetic research and
shortens the lag time between idea possible side effects. This assistance from computer modeling.
and finished design. will improve therapeutic re-
• Eighty percent of the scientists, sults in cancers and many
engineers, and doctors who ever other conditions that require the use to see more and better bionic limbs,
lived are alive today—and exchang- of powerful drugs. hearts, and other organs; drugs that
ing ideas in real time on the Internet. • Brain-cell and nerve-tissue prevent disease rather than merely
• All the technical knowledge we transplants to aid victims of retarda- treating symptoms; and body moni-
work with today will represent only tion, head trauma, and other neuro- tors that warn of impending trouble.
1% of the knowledge that will be logical disorders will enter clinical These all will reduce hospital stays.
available in 2050. use by 2007. Heart repairs using • By 2025, the first nanotech-
Implications: Industries will face muscles from other parts of the body nology-based medical therapies
much tighter competition based on will arrive soon after. Transplanted should reach clinical use. Micro-
new technologies. Those who adopt animal organs will find their way scopic machines will monitor our in-
state-of-the-art methods first will into common use. Laboratory-grown ternal processes, remove cholesterol
prosper. Those who ignore them bone, muscle, and blood cells also plaques from artery walls, and de-
eventually will fail. will be employed in transplants. stroy cancer cells before they have a
Lifelong learning is a necessity for • Other transplanted tissues will chance to form a tumor.
anyone who works in a technical come from cloning and related tech- Implications: Even without dramatic
field—and for growing numbers nologies used to grow stem cells. advances in life extension, baby
who do not. Radical new treatments for diabetes, boomers are likely to live much
Parkinson’s disease, perhaps longer, and in better health, than
Alzheimer ’s, and many other dis- anyone now expects. This will re-
32 Important medical advances will con- orders can be expected to arrive duce the cost of health care well be-
tinue to appear almost daily. within the next five to 10 years. Fore- low most current projections, but is
• Genetic research has accelerated casting International believes that likely to raise dramatically the cost
advances in medicine and in the cloning and related methods will be of Social Security, Medicare, and the
growth of medical knowledge. Early accepted for the treatment of disease. few remaining fixed-benefit pension
results stemming from the Human • Surgeons working via the plans.
Genome Project include possible Internet will routinely operate on High development and production
cures for hemophilia, cystic fibrosis, patients in remote areas, using robot costs for designer pharmaceuticals,
familial hypercholesterolemia, a manipulators. computerized monitors, and artifi-
number of cancers, and AIDS. Even- • In the next 10 years, we expect cial organs will continue to push up

20 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future

the cost of health care far more rap- again as many as had been predicted Cultural, political, and social isola-
idly than the general inflation rate. just two years earlier. tion has become almost impossible
Much of these expenses will be • In late 2004, China’s population for countries interested in economic
passed on to Medicare and other of Internet users amounted to just development. Even China’s attempts
third-party payers. under 100 million. to filter the Internet and shield its
Severe personnel shortages can be • More than 80% of Japanese population from outside influences
expected in high-tech medical spe- households were online by early have proved relatively ineffective, as
cialties, in addition to the continuing 2003. A year later, more than 78 mil- hackers elsewhere provide ways to
deficit of nurses. lion people—over 60% of Japan’s penetrate the barriers.
A growing movement to remove population—had access to the However, isolationism is still pos-
barriers to stem-cell research in the Internet via computers, cell phones, sible for those who are not con-
United States could speed progress and other devices. cerned with trade. The number of
in this critical field. This could be ex- • American consumers are finally Internet users in Iran has fallen from
pected to produce new treatments adopting broadband. Some 8.3 mil- an estimated 1 million to about
for neurological disorders such as lion homes and businesses signed up 420,000 since the mullahs shut down
Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases for broadband service in 2003, bring- the country’s cybercafes.
and many other illnesses now incur- ing the total to 28.2 million lines. By
able or untreatable. late 2004, about 63 million people,
some 51% of all home Internet users, Trends in Labor Force and Work
had broadband at home.
33 The Internet is growing, both logarith- • Most Internet communication is
mically and geographically. commercial, business-to-business,
34 Education and training are expanding
• In spring 2004, Internet users rather than personal e-mail.
throughout society.
numbered around 945 million • Internet-based commerce is • Approximately 130,000 addi-
worldwide, exceeding forecasts. growing rapidly. Total e-commerce tional K-12 teachers will be needed
• In the United States, more than revenue is expected to be about $2.7 in the United States between 2000
185 million people have Internet con- trillion in 2004, $1 trillion in the and 2010, according to the National
nections, while nearly 137 million are United States alone. Business-to- Center for Educational Statistics.
active users. business sales passed $1 trillion by • Also needed: An annual $10 bil-
• The world’s population of the end of 2003. Online retail sales in lion increase in federal spending for
Internet users is expected to grow to the United States grew by 51% in programs such as Head Start, aid for
1.35 billion by 2007. 2003 and were expected to grow an- disadvantaged children, the Job
• One reason for this fast growth other 27% in 2004. Corps, and the Job Training Partner-
is the rapid expansion of Internet • Not long ago, the Internet was ship Act.
connectivity in some developing predominately English-speaking. By • Starting salaries for teachers (as
l a n d s . I n d i a h a d o n l y 17 0 , 0 0 0 2004, there were an estimated 280 a ratio of per capita GDP) declined
Internet subscribers in 1998; by 2004, million Internet users in countries throughout the 1990s in most coun-
it had 39 million, more than half where English is the dominant lan- tries of the Organization for Eco-
guage, but 680 million in non- nomic Cooperation and Develop-
PHOTODISC INC. English-speaking countries. ment (OECD); exceptions were the
• Americans made up 42% of the Netherlands and New Zealand.
total Internet-using population in • Knowledge turnover in the pro-
2000, dropping to less than 20% in fessions is a growing challenge that
May 2004. will require continuous retraining
Implications: B2B sales on the and lifelong learning. The half-life of
Internet are dramatically reducing an engineer ’s knowledge today is
business expenses throughout the only five years; in 10 years, 90% of
Internet-connected world, while giv- what an engineer knows will be
ing suppliers access to customers available on the computer. In elec-
they could never have reached by tronics, fully half of what a student
traditional means. learns as a freshman is obsolete by
Internet-based operations require his senior year.
more sophisticated, knowledgeable • Rapid changes in the job market
workers. People with the right tech- and work-related technologies will
nical training will find a ready mar- necessitate increased training for vir-
Trend 33 The Internet is growing and ket for their services for at least the tually every worker.
next 15 years, as major businesses • In the next 10 years, close to 10
connecting ever greater numbers of compete to hire them. However, the million jobs will open up for profes-
people—both to each other and to new specialties required in any given sionals, executives, and technicians
sources of information. country will change as some skills in the highly skilled service occupa-
are outsourced abroad. tions.

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 21


served by small businesses. It also

brings more career choices, as old
specialties quickly become obsolete,
but new ones appear even more rapidly.

36 Services are the fastest-growing sector

of the global economy.
• Retail sales in the United States
grew by about 12% between 1999
and 2002, according to the Census
Bureau, while revenues in selected
service industries rose by 14.4%.
Similar trends are seen in other in-
dustrialized countries.
• Service industries accounted for
83% of private nonfarm employment
in the United States in 2000, the most
Trend 34 Education and training are expanding because workers need to keep up with a recent year for which figures are
available, up from only 70% in 1990.
constantly growing knowledge base in their professions. In the decade ending 2010, services
are expected to account for virtually
the entire net gain in U.S. employ-
• A substantial portion of the la- part of work life at all levels. ment.
bor force will be in job retraining As the digital divide is erased and • Service jobs have replaced many
programs at any moment. Much of minority and low-income house- of the well-paid positions lost in
this will be carried out by current holds buy computers and log onto manufacturing, transportation, and
employers, who have come to view the Internet, groups now dis- agriculture. These new jobs, often
employee training as a good invest- advantaged will be increasingly able part time, pay half the wages of
ment. to educate and train themselves for manufacturing jobs. On the other
• Schools will train both children high-tech careers. hand, computer-related service jobs
and adults around the clock. The pay much more than the mini-
academic day will stretch to seven mum—for workers with sound edu-
hours for children; adults will use
35 Specialization is spreading throughout cation and training.
much of their remaining free time to
industry and the professions.
prepare for their next job. • For doctors, lawyers, engi- PHOTOS.COM

• We already are seeing a trend neers, and other professionals, the

toward more adult education. One size of the body of knowledge re-
reason is the need to train for new quired to excel in any one area
careers as old ones are displaced or precludes excellence across all
boomers grow bored with them. The areas.
other is the need of healthy, ener- • The same principle applies to
getic people to keep active during artisans. Witness the rise of post-
retirement. and-beam homebuilders, old-
• In the United States, education is house restorers, automobile elec-
moving rapidly to the Internet, as tronics technicians, and mechanics
small, rural grammar and high trained to work on only one brand
schools supplement their curricula of car.
with material from larger institu- • The information-based organ-
tions, while universities increasingly ization depends on its teams of
market their programs to distant stu- task-focused specialists.
dents. • Globalization of the economy
Implications: Even small businesses calls for the more independent
must learn to see employee training specialists. For hundreds of tasks,
as an investment rather than an ex- corporations will turn to consul-
pense. Motorola estimates that it tants and contractors who special-
reaps $30 in profits for each dollar it ize more and more narrowly as Trend 36 Jobs in service industries, in-
spends on training. markets globalize and technolo-
Both management and employees gies differentiate.
cluding computer-related services, will see
must get used to the idea of lifelong Implications: This trend creates continued fast growth.
learning. It will become a significant endless new niche markets to be

22 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future

• Some of the fastest growth is in 85.7% of men’s, according to U.K. Competition for top executive po-
some of the least-skilled occupa- National Statistics. sitions, once effectively limited to
tions, such as cashiers and retail • Women’s salaries have reached men, will intensify even as the cor-
salespersons. parity with men’s in only five fields, porate ladder loses many of its
Implications: Services are now begin- nearly all of them areas where rungs.
ning to compete globally, just as women have broken into trades long The glass ceiling has been broken.
manufacturing industries have done dominated by men: hazardous mate- One-fourth of upper executives to-
over the last 20 years. By creating rial removal workers, telecommuni- day, and nearly 20% of corporate
competitive pressure on wages in the cations line installers and repairers, board members, are women. While
industrialized lands, this trend will meeting and convention planners, this is still too few, it is far more than
help to keep inflation in check. dining room or cafeteria workers, in any previous generation, and their
The growth of international busi- and construction trade helpers. numbers can only grow. Look for
ness will act as a stabilizing force in • However, women’s average more women to reach decision-
world affairs, as most countries find income could exceed men’s within a making levels in business and gov-
that conflict is unacceptably hard on generation. College graduates enjoy ernment.
the bottom line. a significant advantage in earnings
over peers whose education ended
with high school. Today, some 64%
38 Workers are retiring later as life
37 Women’s salaries are approaching of young American women enroll in
expectancy stretches.
equality with men’s—but very slowly. college, compared with only 60% of • OECD data show that people
• Internationally, women’s aver- young men. are retiring earlier in the developed
age hourly pay was 81.8% of men’s • To the extent that experience world, but this is only part of the
in 2004, up from 80.6% in 2003. translates as prestige and corporate picture. Americans, for instance,
• Women’s salaries in the United value, older women should find it often return to work and delay com-
States have been rising faster than easier to reach upper-management plete retirement for several years.
men’s since 1975. However, there still positions. This will blaze the trail This trend will spread to other in-
is a long way to go. Average earn- and help raise the pay scale for dustrialized countries as the retire-
ings for a man employed full time women still climbing the corporate ment-age population grows and the
and year-round reported in the 2000 ladder. number of active workers to support
Census was about $38,000, or Implications: The fact that women’s them declines.
$10,000 more than for a woman salaries are lagging despite higher • People increasingly will work at
working a comparable job. Female academic achievement than men one career, “retire” for a while (per-
doctors make only 58% as much as suggests that many college-educated haps to travel) when they can afford
their male colleagues. women may be underemployed. it, return to school, begin another
• In Great Britain, the gender pay More new hires will be women, career, and so on in endless varia-
gap narrowed to record levels in and they will expect both pay and tions. True retirement, a permanent
2004, as women’s wages reached opportunities equal to those of men. end to work, will be delayed until
very late in life.
PHOTOS.COM • By 2010, we expect the average
retirement age in the United States to
be delayed well into the 70s. Benefits
may also continue their decline, and
they will be given based on need,
rather than as an entitlement.
Implications: Since the penalty on
earnings of Social Security recipients
was rescinded, more American re-
tirees will return to work, and those
not yet retired will be more likely to
remain on the job.
Even though the Social Security
program has been the “third rail” of
American politics, within five years,
the retirement age will be moved
back at least to 70 for early retire-
ment and full benefits at 72.
Trend 37 Women are catching up to men in salary albeit at a slow pace. Older women, Older workers will partially make
up for shortages of entry-level em-
whose experience will be increasingly valuable to corporations, may find it easier to reach ployees. The chance to remain in the
upper-management positions in the future. workplace will reduce the risk of
poverty for many elderly people

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 23

who otherwise would have had to als, who always have tended to resist side management, winning shared
depend on Social Security to get by. union membership. The growing in- bonuses.
Retirees will act as technical aides dustrial use of artificial intelligence
to teachers, especially in the sci- will further this trend.
ences. Implications: For large companies, 40 Second and third careers are becoming
In the long run, it may prove this trend promises greater stability
common, as more people make midlife
impossible to maintain the tradition in employee wages and benefits.
changes in occupation.
of retirement, except through per- Unions eager to regain their mem- • The fast pace of technological
sonal savings and investment. bership will target any substantial change makes old careers obsolete,
company with less-skilled employ- even as new ones open up to replace
ees to organize. This could raise la- them.
39 Labor unions are losing their power to bor costs for companies that unions • Americans born at the tail end of
secure rights for workers and to shape once would have considered too the baby boom (1956-1964) held an
public policy in regard to workplace issues. small to organize. average of 10 jobs between ages 18
• Union membership has been In 10 to 15 years, American labor and 38, according to BLS. These job
falling for the past two decades. In unions will compete with AARP to jumpers continue to take short-dura-
the United States, unions enrolled lead the battle for the rights of late- tion jobs even as they approach
23% of employed wage and salary life workers and for secure retire- middle age: 70% of jobs they took
workers in 1980, but only 13% by ment benefits. They face an inherent between ages 33 and 39 ended
2003. Forecasting International conflict between the interests of within five years.
projects further declines in the near- workers in what once would have • Among these late boomers, col-
term future, to below 12%, despite been the retirement years and those lege-educated women tended to
several recent successes in organiz- of younger members, who rightly hold the most jobs overall (11.1)
ing, contract negotiations, and see the elderly as having saddled between ages 18 and 38, but their job
strikes. them with the cost of whatever bene- jumping occurred primarily in their
• Public-sector workers in the fits older generations enjoy. youth. By their middle 30s, they held
United States are more likely to be Unions’ political strength is also on average just 2.2 jobs between the
unionized than private-sector em- diminishing and is increasingly ages of 33 and 38, compared with 2.5
ployees. Membership is high among being surpassed by powerful blocs jobs on average for all the late
workers in education (37.7%) and such as AARP, Hispanics, and boomers, and 2.7 jobs for males with
protective services (36.1%). Sales and African Americans. less than a bachelor’s degree.
office occupations have the lowest The old paradigm of unions vs. • Career changing may also be
union-membership rates (8.2%), ac- corporations is obsolete. In today’s increasing, though BLS does not
cording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor economy, workers negotiate along- track the phenomenon since there is
Statistics (BLS).
• In South Korea, where organ- PHOTODISC INC.

ized labor once was invincible, the

government has increasingly stood
up to strikes by doctors, electrical
workers, car makers, and other trade
• In Britain, where the Thatcher
government broke union power in
the 1980s, labor has yet to recover its
former strength. Union membership
has flattened out after falling
steadily. Still, unions cover a higher
proportion of British workers
(26.6%) than U.S. workers, according
to the U.K. Labour Force Survey.
• One reason for this decline is
that companies are freely seeking
and finding nonunionized workers
around the world. They also contract
out a growing proportion of busi-
ness activities to nonunion firms.
• Increased automation can cut a
company’s workforce by up to one- Trend 40 Careers in health-care professions will become popular among mid-life career
third. The surviving workers tend to
be technicians and other compara-
tively well-educated semiprofession-

24 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future

Trend 40
Job Hoppers in the United States
Average number of jobs for persons ages 18 to 38 in 1978-2000
Total Ages 18 to 22 Ages 23 to 27 Ages 28 to 32 Ages 33 to 38
Total ..................................................................................10.2 4.4 3.3 2.6 2.5
Men (all)............................................................................10.4 4.5 3.5 2.8 2.5
Men, less than high-school diploma .................................11.6 4.6 3.8 3.0 2.7
Men, bachelor’s degree and higher ...................................10.0 4.6 3.4 2.6 2.4
Women (all) ........................................................................9.9 4.3 3.1 2.4 2.4
Women, less than high-school diploma ..............................8.5 3.0 2.4 2.1 2.2
Women, bachelor’s degree and higher ..............................11.1 5.4 3.7 2.7 2.2

Source: National Longitudinal Survey of Youth

Educated women are the most-frequent job hoppers in their youth but among the least frequent
as they mature.
not a clear definition of what consti-
tutes a “career change”—such as
when a technician becomes a man- so that workers can transfer medical pend on individual values and cul-
ager in the same company or indus- and pension benefits from one career tural norms.
try. However, Forecasting Inter- to the next—a change that has long Implications: The new generation of
national believes that people change been needed. workers cannot simply be hired and
careers every 10 years. ignored. They must be nurtured,
• Boomers and their children will paid well, and made to feel appreci-
have not just two or three careers,
41 The work ethic is vanishing. ated. Training is crucial. Without the
but five or six, as dying industries • More than one-third of U.S. opportunity to learn new skills,
are replaced by new opportunities. workers reported calling in sick young people will quickly find a job
• In the United States, 23% of when they were not ill at least once that will help them to prepare for the
workers surveyed by the University in the past 12 months, and 10% had rest of their career.
of Phoenix in 2004 reported being done so at least three times, accord-
dissatisfied with their careers and ing to a 2004 survey by Career-
were considering a change of occu-
42 Two-income couples are the norm,
pation. Of these, 61% expressed a de- • Job security and high pay are
though the trend may be slowing or even
sire “to do something more fulfill- not the motivators they once were,
ing,” such as entering a “helping because social mobility is high and • In the United States, both the
profession.” people seek job fulfillment. Some husband and the wife worked in
• Seventy percent of Irish workers 48% of those responding in a recent
surveyed in 2004 said they hoped to Louis Harris poll said they work PHOTODISC INC.

make a career change in the near because it “gives a feeling of real

future, according to the recruitment accomplishment.”
Web site Irishjobs.ei. Women and in- • Fifty-five percent of the top ex-
dividuals in the 26–35 age group ecutives interviewed in the poll say
were most likely to report the desire that erosion of the work ethic will
to change careers. “Personal fulfill- have a major negative effect on cor-
ment” was the biggest reason cited porate performance in the future.
for making the change. • Ethics at the top are no better:
Implications: “Earn while you learn” Enron, WorldCom, Tyco Inter-
takes on new meaning: Most people national, Adelphia Cable, and ImClone
will have to study for their next oc- just begin the list of companies un-
cupation, even as they pursue their der investigation for deceptive
current career. accounting practices, looting of cor-
In many two-earner couples, one porate assets, and other misdeeds
member or the other will often take a with dire implications for stock
sabbatical to prepare for a new values. Trend 42 Two-income couples are be-
career. • Seeking the root of such prob-
Self-employment is becoming an lems, a Zogby International poll of
coming the norm, though the trend may
increasingly attractive option, as college seniors found that 97% said have peaked. A more common scenario
being your own boss makes it easier their studies had prepared them to in the future will be for one partner to
to set aside time for career develop- act ethically in the future. However, work while the other takes time off to
ment. This is especially true for Gen 73% said professors had taught them
X’ers and millennials. that right and wrong are not suscep-
retrain for a new career.
Retirement plans must be revised, tible to uniform standards, but de-

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 25

50.9% of married-couple families in 43 Generation X and the millennials will will have a strong recruiting advan-
2003, reports the BLS Current Popu- have major effects in the future. tage over competitors that offer
lation Survey. This proportion has fewer opportunities to improve their
declined since 1997, when it was • Members of generation X— skills and knowledge base.
53.4%. However, the proportion of roughly, the 30-plus cohort—and es- Generations X and millennial are
married-couple families in which pecially of the millennial generation, well equipped for work in an in-
only the wife worked rose for the now in their 20s, have more in com- creasingly high-tech world, but have
third straight year, to 6.8%, in 2003. mon with their peers throughout the little interest in their employers’
• The percentage of working-age world than with their parents’ gener- needs. They also have a powerful
women who are employed has ation. urge to do things their way.
grown steadily throughout the in- • There are approximately 50 mil- As both customers and employees,
dustrialized world. In the United lion people in Europe between the they will demand even more ad-
States, it has grown from 46% in 1970 ages of 15 and 24; 30 million more vanced telecommunications and
to 68.8% in 2000. The lowest are Italy, are between 25 and 29. The under-30 Internet-based transactions.
Spain, and Mexico, with just 40% of cohort represents about 22% of the
working-age women employed, ac- European population.
cording to OECD figures. • The under-20 cohort is remain-
44 Time is becoming the world’s most pre-
• This emphasis on work is one ing in school longer and taking
cious commodity.
big reason the richest 25% to 50% of longer to enter the workforce than • Computers, electronic communi-
the U.S. population has reached zero before. cations, the Internet, and other tech-
population growth. They have no • Generation X should be re- nologies are making national and
time for children and little interest in named “generation E,” for entre- international economies much more
having large families. preneurial. Throughout the world, competitive.
• The number of working mothers they are starting new businesses at • In the United States, workers
with young children is actually an unprecedented rate. spend about 10% more time on the
declining. Only 58% of married • The younger millennial genera- job than they did a decade ago.
women with children under age tion is proving to be even more busi- European executives and nonunion-
three held jobs in 2002, compared ness-oriented, caring for little but the ized workers face the same trend.
with 61% in 1997. At the same time, bottom line. Twice as many say they • In this high-pressure environ-
the percentage of married working would prefer to own a business ment, single workers and two-
women with children under a year rather than be a top executive. Five income couples are increasingly des-
old fell from 59% to 53%. times more would prefer to own a perate for any product that offers to
Implications: Demand for on-the-job business rather than hold a key posi- simplify their lives or grant them a
child care, extended parental leave, tion in politics or government.
and other family-oriented benefits • Many in generation X are eco- PHOTODISC INC.

can only grow. In the long run, this nomically conservative. On average,
could erode the profitability of some those who can do so begin saving
companies, unless it is matched by an much earlier in life than their par-
equal growth in productivity. ents did in order to protect them-
Two-career couples can afford to selves against unexpected adversity.
eat out often, take frequent short va- They made money in the stock mar-
cations, and buy new cars and other ket boom of the 1990s, then lost it in
such goods. And they feel they de- the “dot-bomb” contraction, but
serve whatever time-savers and out- have left their money in the market.
right luxuries they can afford. This is For generations X and millennial,
quickly expanding the market for time is still on their side.
consumer goods and services, travel, Implications: Employers will have to
and leisure activities. adjust virtually all of their policies
This also promotes self-employ- and practices to the values of these
ment and entrepreneurialism, as one new and different generations, in-
family member ’s salary can tide cluding finding new ways to moti-
them over while the other works to vate and reward them. Generation X
establish a new business. and the millennials thrive on chal-
Look for families that usually have lenge, opportunity, and training—
two incomes, but have frequent in- whatever will best prepare them for
tervals in which one member takes a their next career move. Cash is just
sabbatical or goes back to school to the beginning of what they expect. Trend 44 Time is increasingly precious,
prepare for another career. As infor- For these generations, lifelong
mation technologies render former learning is nothing new; it’s just the
and stress-related problems will con-
occupations obsolete, this will way life is. Companies that can pro- tinue to grow.
become the new norm. vide diverse, cutting-edge training

26 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future


taste of luxury—and they can afford

to buy it.
• China’s rapid economic devel-
opment means its workers are expe-
riencing faster-paced and time-
pressured lives. In a recent survey by
the Chinese news portal,
56% of respondents said they felt
short of time. Sixty-four percent said
they were never late and were intol-
erant of other people’s tardiness,
suggesting a new cultural challenge
to the traditional Chinese concept of
a leisurely existence.
Implications: Stress-related problems
affecting employee morale and well- Trend 45 Entrepreneurialism is on the rise around the world, and women are a grow-
ness will continue to grow. Compa-
nies must help employees balance ing proportion of the self-employed.
their time at work with their family
lives and need for leisure. This may
reduce short-term profits but will aid proportion of the self-employed in 46 Information-based organizations are
profitability in the long run. the United States, up from 26.8% in quickly displacing the old command-and-
As time for shopping continues to 1976 to 38.6% in 2003, according to control model of management.
evaporate, Internet and mail-order BLS.
marketers will have a growing ad- • More women also are starting • The typical large business is
vantage over traditional stores. small businesses. Many are leaving struggling to reshape itself. Soon, it
traditional jobs to go home and open will be composed of specialists who
businesses, even as they begin a fam- rely on information from colleagues,
Management Trends ily. At least half of the estimated 10.6 customers, and headquarters to
million privately held firms in the guide their actions.
United States are owned by women, • Management styles will change
45 More entrepreneurs start new busi- employing 19.1 million people and as upper executives learn to consult
nesses every year. generating $2.46 trillion in sales an- these skilled workers on a wide vari-
• Workers under 30 would prefer nually. ety of issues. Employees will gain
to start their own company, rather • Since the 1970s, small businesses new power with the authority to
than advance through the corporate started by entrepreneurs have ac- make decisions based on the data
ranks. Some 10% are actively trying counted for nearly all of the new jobs they develop.
to start their own businesses, three created. For much of this period, • Information-based organizations
times as many as in previous genera- giant corporations have actually cut require more specialists, who will be
tions. employment. In 1995, small, entre- found in operations, not at corporate
• A large majority simply distrust preneurial businesses produced headquarters. R&D, manufacturing,
large institutions. Most believe that 1 million new full-time jobs vs. barely and marketing specialists will work
jobs cannot provide a secure eco- 100,000 among larger companies. together as a team on all stages of
nomic future in a time of rapid tech- Implications: This is a self-perpetuat- product development rather than
nological change. Examples of Sili- ing trend, as all those new service keeping each stage separate and dis-
con Valley start-ups that turned their firms need other companies to tinct.
founders into billionaires “overnight” handle chores outside their core • Upper management is giving
dramatically advanced this change business. fewer detailed orders to subordi-
of values. This attitude seems to It is driven as well by the attitudes nates. Instead, it sets performance
have been moderated only slightly and values of generations X and mil- expectations for the organization, its
by the failure of many dot-com lennial and by the rapid develop- parts, and its specialists and supply
companies. ments in technology, which create the feedback necessary to determine
• By 2006, the number of self- endless opportunities for new busi- whether results have met expecta-
employed people in the United ness development. tions.
States will rise to 10.2 million, ac- Specialty boutiques will continue Implications: This is a well-estab-
cording to BLS figures. However, to spring up on the Internet for at lished trend. At this point, many
Forecasting International believes least the next 20 years. large corporations have restructured
that figure to be too low: Expect This trend will help to ease the their operations for greater flexibil-
closer to 12 million self-employed poverty of many developing coun- ity. However, many others still have
Americans in 2006. tries, as it already is doing in India a long way to go.
• Women comprise a growing and China. Downsizing has spread from man-

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 27

ufacturing industries to the service • However, many companies are
economy. Again, this process en- finding it necessary to bring back
Implications: Regulations are both
necessary and unavoidable, and
courages the entrepreneurial trend, older workers, so as to preserve an
often beneficial. Yet it is difficult not
both to provide services for compa- effective corporate memory.
to see them as a kind of friction that
nies outsourcing their secondary • Opportunities for advancement
slows both current business and
functions and to provide jobs for dis- will be few because they will come
future economic growth.
placed employees. within the narrow specialty. By 2001,
The proliferation of regulations in
Many older workers have been only one person for every 50 was
the developed world could give a
displaced in this process, depriving promoted, compared with one for
competitive advantage to countries
companies of their corporate mem- every 20 in 1987.
such as India and China, where reg-
ory. Companies have replaced them • Information-based organizations
ulations that impede investment and
with younger workers, whose expe- will have to make a special effort to
capital flow are being stripped away,
rience of hard times is limited to the prepare professional specialists to
while health, occupational safety,
relatively mild recession since 2000. become business executives and
and environmental codes are still
Many firms may discover that they leaders.
rudimentary or absent.
need to recruit older workers to help Implications: Top managers will have Other lands, such as Russia, will
them adapt to adversity. to be computer-literate to retain their
remain at a competitive disadvantage
jobs and must make sure they
until they can pass and enforce the
achieve the increased span of control
47 A typical large business in 2010 will that computers make possible.
regulations needed to ensure a stable,
have fewer than half the management lev- Finding top managers with the
fair business environment.
els of its counterpart in 1990, and about broad experience needed to run a
one-third the number of managers. major business already has become Institutional Trends
• Computers and information- difficult and can only grow more so
management systems have stretched as the demand for specialization
the manager’s effective span of con- grows.
49 Multinational corporations are uniting
trol from six to 21 subordinates. In- Executives increasingly will start
the world, but also growing more exposed
formation now flows from front-line their own companies, rather than
to its risks.
workers to higher management for trusting the old-fashioned corporate • Multinational corporations that
analysis. Thus, fewer mid-level man- career path to provide advancement. rely on indigenous workers may be
agers are needed, flattening the cor- hindered by the increasing number
porate pyramid. of AIDS cases in Africa and around
• Downsizing, restructuring, re-
48 Government regulations will continue the world. Up to 90% of the popula-
organization, and cutbacks of white-
to take up a growing portion of the man- tion in parts of sub-Saharan Africa
collar workers will continue through
ager’s time and effort. reportedly tests positive for HIV in
2006. Outsourcing will continue to • In 1996, the U.S. Congress some surveys. Thailand is equally
grow until at least 2010. passed regulatory reform laws in- stricken, and many other parts of
tended to slow the proliferation of Asia show signs that the AIDS epi-
PHOTODISC INC. government regulations. Nonethe- demic is spreading among their
less, by 2001 more than 14,000 new populations.
regulations had been enacted. Not • The continuing fragmentation of
one proposed regulation was re- the post–Cold War world has re-
jected during this period. duced the stability of some lands
• The Brussels bureaucrats of the where government formerly could
European Union are churning out guarantee a favorable—or at least
regulations at an even faster rate, predictable—business environment.
overlaying a standard regulatory • One risk now declining is the
structure on all the national systems threat of currency fluctuations. In
of the member countries. Europe, at least, the adoption of the
• The growth of regulations is not euro is making for a more stable eco-
necessarily all bad. A study by the nomic environment.
U.S. Congressional Office of Man- Implications: It is becoming ever
agement and Budget estimated that more difficult for business to be con-
the annual cost of major federal reg- fident that decisions about plant lo-
ulations enacted between October cation, marketing, and other critical
Trend 47 Managers will have to be more 1992 and September 2002 amounted issues will continue to appear wise
to between $38 billion and $44 bil- even five years into the future. All
hands-on as computers and information- lion per year. However, the esti- long-term plans must include an
management systems enable organiza- mated benefits of those regulations even greater margin for risk manage-
tions to shed layers of bureaucracy. added up to between $135 billion ment. This will encourage outsourc-
and $218 billion annually. ing, rather than investment in off-

28 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future


• Nothing will for disruption throughout the region

prevent small, local from Turkey to the Philippines.
political organiza- The economies of the industrial-
tions and special- ized nations could be thrown into
i n t e re s t g ro u p s recession at any time by another
from using terror terrorist event on the scale of
to promote their September 11. This is particularly
causes. true of the United States. The impact
•However, as the would be greatest if the attack dis-
United States has couraged travel.
been forced to rec- The U.S. economy is being affected
ognize, the most already by American antiterrorism
dangerous terrorist measures. Since Washington began
Trend 49 Multinational corporations are helping unite the groups are no to photograph incoming travelers
longer motivated and required more extensive identifi-
world but exposing themselves to increased risk, such as to by specific political cation from them, tourism to the
terrorism and to the effects of local problems like AIDS or nat- goals, but by gen- United States is off by some 30%.
ural disasters. eralized, virulent The number of foreign students
hatred based on re- coming to American universities has
ligion and culture. declined by a similar amount.
shore facilities that could be endan- • On balance, the amount of ter-
gered by sudden changes in business rorist activity in the world is likely to
conditions. go up, not down, in the next 10
51 Consumers increasingly demand social
Countries that can demonstrate a years. This was seen in corrections to
responsibility from companies and each
significant likelihood of stability will the State Department’s April 2004 re-
enjoy a strong competitive advan- port on terrorism, which originally • Companies increasingly will be
tage over neighbors that cannot. Wit- seemed to show a sharp decline in judged on how they treat the envi-
ness the rapid growth of investment terrorist incidents and was used to ronment. For example, home-im-
in India now that deregulation and claim success for the Bush adminis- provement retailers Home Depot
privatization have general political tration’s tactics in the “war on ter- and Lowe’s have stopped buying
support, compared with other Asian ror.” In fact, the State Department’s wood from countries with endan-
lands where conditions are less pre- corrections in June 2004 showed that gered forests.
dictable. terrorist attacks have risen sharply • Safety testing of children’s prod-
Major corporations also can help since the invasion of Iraq, both in ucts also enforces corporate respon-
to moderate some risks in unstable number and in severity. sibility. One company recently was
countries, such as by threatening to • Risks of terrorism are greatest in forced to recall 7 million child car
take their business elsewhere. countries with repressive govern- seats. Another recalled more than
ments and large numbers of unem- 440,000 pairs of children’s sneakers
ployed, educated young men. with metal eyelets that could become
50 International exposure includes a Implications: Western corporations detached and pose a choking hazard.
greater risk of terrorist attack. may have to devote more of their re- • Government intervention will
• State-sponsored terrorism ap- sources to self-defense, while accept- supplant deregulation in the airline
pears to be on the decline, as tougher ing smaller-than-expected profits industry (in the interest of safety and
sanctions make it more trouble than from operations in the developing services), financial services (to con-
it is worth. However, some rogue countries. trol instability and costs), electric
states may still provide logistical or Like the attacks on the World utilities (nuclear problems), and the
technological support for indepen- Trade Center and Pentagon, and the chemical industry (toxic wastes).
dent terrorist organizations when American embassies in Kenya and • With 5% of the world’s popula-
opportunities present themselves. Tanzania before them, any attacks on tion and 66% of the lawyers on the
• Until recently, attacks on U.S. major corporate facilities are likely to planet, American citizens will not
companies were limited to rock- be designed for maximum destruc- hesitate to litigate if their demands
throwing at the local McDonald’s, oc- tion and casualties. Bloodshed for are not met.
casional bombings of bank branches bloodshed’s sake has become a char- Implications: For industry, this
and of U.S.-owned pipelines in acteristic of modern terrorism. represents one more powerful pres-
South America, and kidnappings. Where terrorism is most common, sure to adopt environmentally
Since September 11, U.S.-owned ho- countries will find it impossible to friendly technologies, to work with
tel chains have experienced several attract foreign investment, no matter area schools and community groups,
major bombings, in part because how attractive their resources. and to participate in other local ac-
U.S. government facilities overseas Though Islamic terrorists form tivities. It also represents an oppor-
have been effectively hardened only a tiny part of the Muslim com- tunity to market to environmentally
against terrorist assault. munity, they have a large potential concerned consumers.

53 Trends Now Shaping the Future 29


ment. In mid-2004, as midsized, “plain vanilla” com-

t h i s re l u c t a n c e t o petitors die out. This trend extends
question Washington to nearly every endeavor, from retail
appeared to be evap- to agriculture.
orating in the wake • “Boutique” businesses that pro-
of the torture scandal vide entertainment, financial plan-
in Iraq. ning, and preventive medical care
• Wars against ter- for aging baby boomers will be
rorism, drug traffick- among the fastest-growing segments
ing, and money laun- of the U.S. economy.
dering are opening Implications: Thus far, industries
the world’s money dominated by small, regional, often
conduits to greater family-owned companies have been
Trend 52 Institutional integrity may become the norm as scrutiny. Also open- relatively exempt from the consoli-
ing up are the opera- dation now transforming many
stakeholders demand transparency and accountability. tions of nongovern- other businesses. Takeovers are
mental organizations likely even in these industries in the
that function prima- next decade.
As the Internet spreads Western rily as charitable and social-service This consolidation will extend in-
attitudes throughout the world, en- agencies but are linked to terrorism creasingly to Internet-based busi-
vironmental activists in other re- as well. nesses, where well-financed com-
gions will find ways to use local Implications: Countries with high lev- panies are trying to absorb or
court systems to promote their goals. els of transparency tend to be much outcompete tiny online start-ups,
Litigation is likely to become a more stable than more opaque lands. much as they have done in the brick-
global risk for companies that do not They also tend to be much more and-mortar world.
make the environment a priority. prosperous, in part because they find This trend leads us to believe that
it easier to attract foreign investment. AT&T may be reconsolidated by
Greater transparency seems likely 2010.
52 On average, institutions are growing to reduce the operational effective- No company is too large to be a
more transparent in their operations, and ness of the world’s drug traffickers takeover target if it dominates a
more accountable for their misdeeds. and terrorist organizations. profitable market or has other fea-
• China, rated by Pricewater- tures attractive to profit-hungry
houseCooper as the most opaque of investors. ■
the major nations, was forced to
53 Institutions are undergoing a bimodal
open many of its records as a precon-
distribution: The big get bigger, the small
dition for joining the World Trade
survive, and the midsized are squeezed
• In India, a country generally re- • By 2010, there will be only five
garded as one of the world’s most giant automobile firms. Production
corrupt, the Central Vigilance Com- and assembly will be centered in
mission has opened the country’s Korea, Italy, and Latin America.
banking system to more effective • Seven domestic airlines in the
oversight. United States today control 80% of
• In the United States, powerful the market, leaving the smaller do- Cetron Davies
forces are inspiring demands for mestic carriers with only 20%.
About the Authors
greater transparency and accounta- • Where local regulations allow,
Marvin J. Cetron is president of Forecasting
bility in large institutions. These mergers and acquisitions are an International Ltd. in Virginia. His e-mail
include both the current wave of international game. Witness the address is
business scandals and the contro- takeovers of the United States MCI Owen Davies is a former senior editor at
versy over child abuse within the by WorldCom in the United King- Omni magazine and is a freelance writer
Catholic Church. dom and of Chrysler by Daimler- specializing in science, technology, and the
• The wave of support for govern- Benz. The continuing removal of future.
ment since the September 11 terrorist trade barriers among EU nations will Cetron and Davies have collaborated on
attacks has made Americans willing keep this trend active for at least the many books, including most recently Hospi-
tality 2010: The Future of Hospitality and
to accept greater transparency—that next decade.
Travel with Fred DeMicco (Prentice Hall,
is, less privacy—in their personal • We are now in the second
lives. decade of the micro-segmentation Extra copies of this report are available
• At the same time, the nationalist trend, as more and more highly spe- for $8 each ($7.20 for Society members).
response to September 11 temporar- cialized businesses and entre- The report is also available as a PDF file.
ily muted most demands for trans- preneurs search for narrower niches. Order online from the Futurist Bookshelf,
parency in the American govern- These small firms will prosper, even

30 53 Trends Now Shaping the Future

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