Clearly the election of Donald Trump will trigger a lot of change. As will Brexit and the on-going challenges to the EU zone and its critical weaknesses. In addition the beginning of the shift from a global fossil fuel economy to one increasingly moving to renewable energy will trigger massive disruption. [note: see Newsletter #39]
While there are many reasons for concern as the world is becoming more dangerous as a result, as a futurist I embrace change. The status quo and the entrenched vested interests are always the enemy of change and the unfolding future. The question becomes whether Brexit and the Trump election open up and trigger ways for humanity to move forward as they cause everyone to pay attention and realize that a new reality is and has to emerge and to contemplate what is truly important for everyone.
What I see going on is the rising up of old paradigms from the 19th and 20th century that worked in the past but for a variety of reasons will not continue or be sustainable through this century. A last gasp of nationalism and old time political parties that have become completely corrupt. We are in a time of creative destruction, shift and transformation. The reality we have lived in our lives is giving way to new realities across the board.
The old orders are collapsing or fading away and the new ones can be seen but are not yet fully understood, accepted and in place. We are in a transit in history of great import, danger and almost incalculable possibilities.
I understand people being upset, scared or angry with Trump as president. No question. Particularly recent actions [tweets] he has made. Many people look at what they fear might happen during his administration. Understood. As a futurist I look at the status quo of America and it is awful. We are a great country but since 2000 it is hard to say that. The question I have frequently been asked since 2008 is "Are we going to remain a great country?"
I am the Futurist in Residence and Guest Lecturer at the Ringling College of Art + Design. This means that I get to interact with some of the brightest, creative 18-23 year old students on the planet. It is during these interactions that I realize that for American students born in the late 1990s they have grown up in a country different than any recent generation.
The country they have experienced since 2000 has always been at war, experienced the longest and deepest recession in the country's history, has wealth inequality at the greatest it has been since October 1929, has collapsing infrastructure, a failing education system, a health care system that is over priced and exclusionary, increasing poverty, a national capital that is gridlocked and completely controlled by money, a country that has, by far, the highest per capita gun ownership in the world, a country that has no vision going forward but a lingering vision of past greatness. Gee, is that a status quo worth preserving?
Dystopia is defined as; 'a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease and overcrowding". That doesn't describe America today but it certainly describes dozens of other countries around the world. So the parties, the governments, the economic structures, the global elites, the global corporations, all the entities that have control or 20th century power that have created this global human situation are not ones to look to if we want to live in a better world in the near future.
What most people don't fully understand is that "reality" is always what they have known in their lifetime plus what their parents passed onto them as their reality. That reality always changes. Bigger 'realities' can, through time become outdated. Capitalism doesn't seem to be working. Democracies don't seem to be working. Capitalism has consumed Democracy around the world. Corruption is rampant in most governments. Many significant entities and institutions have run their course.
The difficulty with disruption, transformation and creative destruction is that it breaks up the "reality" we know today but we can't see what will follow tomorrow
It is not clear that Trump or Brexit or the coming European elections are the right realities, they are just being embraced as the current reality isn't working and has run its course.
In this Newsletter and my much more frequent blog I will try to suggest what is ahead, what we need to prepare for and the choices we will have ahead of us.
The next 20 years will bring about entire new realities that must be faced. That is why I have developed a new presentation [see below] to prompt thought, discussion and awareness that much of our thinking about major areas of society, economics, geo-politics and life itself will be challenged and changed.
Welcome to the 21st Century!
I have created a new general future keynote speech. It is in follow-up to the "Shift Age" and "Entering the Shift Age" presentations that have been delivered all over the world in the last eight years. These are the presentations many of you have heard.
Given the new levels of uncertainty, change and disruption across all areas, many past clients - and some new ones - have reached out to me to request an updated presentation to their members, customers and members. "Shift//Transformation: 2017-2037" is that new presentation. I started to present it last November and it has been quite well received.
In the presentation I look ahead to the major disruptions beginning to occur: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, robotics, the Internet of Things, Augmented and Virtual Reality, DNA medicine, the historic changes in energy and transportation and the realities of Climate Change. Any one of these developments is significant and disruptive. The fact that they are all occurring in the next five to ten years means that the reality in which we live and work will be unalterably changed. We have entered a historic transit from what was/is to what will be. This will happen very quickly. We must begin to prepare ourselves for this eventuality, now.
A very short video describing this new presentation is to the right. Please take a look and let me know if you might be interested in having me speak to your conference or at your company retreat. You can hit reply or reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org