The best way to end 2019 is to look forward. Bloomberg has released an exciting article about our global future. In contrast, I fear a better world needs losers, and that us South Africans may fill that role. I’d appreciate your thoughts, especially those that have good reason to disagree with me.
1. 3.2 billion people will be middle class in 2020, an enormous increase from 1.8 billion in 2009. This positivity results from the economic advances of India and China (which makes me think that Africa desperately needs better governments).
2. Globally, 76-million people are estimated to move from rural areas to the cities per year.
3. By 2025, only 5 years from now, China will have 33 cities with over 10-million people. That means that two-thirds of the world’s megacities will be in China.
4. Delhi, a city in India, will have a population of 39 million within 10 years – wow!
5. Urbanisation means increased education and better technologies.
6. The majority of people in developed countries are prepared to pay more for climate friendly products. Copenhagen is expected to become the first carbon neutral city. Even Formula 1 racing aims for the same. This highlights that countries such as South Africa are lagging far behind international trends. Whether we choose to be part of the world or not, our future will be affected.
With progress there are challenges. Even if the majority win, some have to lose. I’m hoping that’s not going to be us but thoughts need radical action to become true.
1. The demand for dwindling resources will increase, and with it prices will rise.
2. Countries with huge debt, such as South Africa, will be leveraged by richer countries who will loan and bribe their way to our resources. Their attitude will be understandable because they’ll simply be doing the best they can for their citizens and corporates. The only way to counterbalance is for our Government to do it’s best for us. I fear there’s no chance of that unless we become a citizen revolution.
3. As much as a climbing middle class is to be applauded for planet stability, Africa lags behind and will find it harder to catch up the more the others progress.
4. Internationally, the damages of future stock market crashes become larger.
5. With more technology, especially for defence and within the home, we become more susceptible to viruses and hackers. If that fear isn’t always with you, you need to watch the sobering ‘Zero Days‘.
6. You should also watch short documentaries such as ‘Quants, the Alchemists of Wall Street‘ and ‘Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box‘ to understand that bankers will make our lives smaller. We’ll pay more for less, but likely bow to corporates who will offer us stability. We’ll trade our freedoms and luxuries for it.
7. The age of retirement in developed countries will have to increase. Where it’s 60 it’ll become 65. Where its 65, it may become 70. Better healthcare in those nations has become a burden on state welfare. Consequently, people will work longer after their outcry is subdued. The bigger workforce and brain power of those nations will make slaves of countries where education systems and mortality rates are worse.
8. Socially, we will become more disconnected as we become more digitally connected. We’ll become even more distracted from what is most meaningful. Poor people with good wi-fi will obsess over digitally manufactured celebrities. ‘The People’s Republic of Desire’ should frighten you.
9. Mannequins and robots as friends and sex partners will become more acceptable. We’re already talking to pets and plant. Conversations with plastic has already begun.
10. In countries lacking digital education, unemployment will rise as robotisation radically increases.
11. War only grew in our minds because it became televised. The fact is that it’s far less than we think it is. Of course, I’m speaking about bombs and bullets rather than economic war (which has increased). However, the friction between desperate nations, or those wishing to exploit the weaker, could always lead to something physically bigger. The precursor is dissatisfaction stimulating negative populism and its associated rise of unqualified politicians. Blame will become the only game so that some places may have to become ashes before their people conform to expecting less in a more crowded world.
THE END OR BEGINNING?
To end on a positive, when humankind is pressurised, staring down a precipice, is when we become innovative. We’re top of the food chain for good reason. Some of us may die, most of us will be willing slaves, but, as a species, we’re fucking survivors.
As South Africans, we need to do much more, beginning with the eradication of corruption and its greatest tool, our apathy. If you’re unwilling to participate, buy gold, alternative energy shares and better security for your home.
TRAILER ‘ZERO DAYS’