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So, what will the world be like in 5 yrs? in 10?(8 posts)

So, what will the world be like in 5 yrs? in 10?AllisonHayes
Oct 2, 2002 5:29 AM
The political, economic and social landscapes looks pretty bleak right now.

b On the political front:

i Will the situation in the Middle East lead us into a war and will that in turn lead us into into WWIII? Will terrorism and terrorist attacks continue? And will we develop a way to counter it?

b On the economic front:

i Is the stock market due for a major crash? Are we in a long downward spiral that leads to depression and negative inflation? We are geared to handle inflation, but what happens when you are asked to take a salary cut? Is the job market going to continue to worsen?

i Currently the American consumer is keeping the world from diving headlong into a global downturn. How long can that be sustained? Will we end up having three major currencies in the world - Yen, Euro & dollar?

b On the social front:

i Is it just me or does it seem there is an increase in violent crime as the economy worsens? For example, first time bank robbers are now willing to kill -- and there seem to be more thugs who will kill for next to nothing. Is there an increase in drugs, particularly crystal meth? What will become of the middle class?

b What positive things will emerge during this same period?

i What breakthroughs will be achieved in science, in medicine, in technology? Will Liberty ever return?

What do you prosnostigators out there think?

AH
the same. the same.mr_spin
Oct 2, 2002 6:31 AM
Even for a cynic like me, I am amazed at how bad you feel things are.

On the political front:

The situation in the Middle East has essentially remained unchanged for thousands of years. There is always somebody trying to conquer someone else. Government has always been autocratic. Terrorism is definitely not new and it will always exist because the sad truth is that terrorism is very effective.

On the economic front:

The economic conditions necessary for a depression are not present, so don't worry about it. Depressions are not localized things, so the rest of the world has to also be in a depression. That's not going to happen any time soon. The stock market crashing? You mean from it's overvalued position to a more reasonable position? Probably, but it won't happen overnight. Personally, I've already taken a salary cut due to the fact that I haven't gotten a raise in two years.

On the social front:

All crime increases as the economy worsens. I doubt the level and types of crime are any different than they were in the 1930s. Turn off the news, because it is totally skewing things. There are very few bank robberies where anyone gets killed. Remember the recent kidnapping fear? That was blown so far out of proportion it was sickening. I think there were seven kids actually kidnapped by non-relatives last year. Funny how crime was sensationalized back in the 1930s as well, with famous criminals known everywhere, like Bonnie and Clyde, John Dillinger, etc.

What positive things will emerge during this same period?

If I knew what breakthroughs will occur in any field, I'd invest my money now and not tell anyone. Then I'll be rich!!!

Where did liberty go, by the way?
huh?tao
Oct 2, 2002 7:49 AM
1) Terrorists will always be and always attack. But I don't see this as a political issue, it's really more of a religious and fall from grace from a cultural standpoint for Muslims, former rulers of the world for thousands of years.

2) The market already crashed, technically we haven't even had a recession (two straight quarters of negative growth), so talk of a depression seems ludicrous. And I'm not sure how slow growth in the job market is worse?

3) Actually violent crime has decreased each of the last two years according to the FBI and state stats. And drug use is down from the mid 90s. The middle class has never been so big in any society or as well off, and it's growing.

Of course everything isn't perfect, but you can't look at a few episodes, isolated or not, and see gloom and doom everywhere. I'm far from an optimist, but I just don't see the world as we know it ending anytime soon. And if I could accurately predict technological advancement, well, I'd be a very rich man.
Yes, but I don't think that the middle class is really growing.rtyszko
Oct 2, 2002 10:25 AM
According to what I've seen (and I'm no economist) the middle class is shrinking as a percentage of the population isn't it? A small point to an otherwise pertinent response.

Bob T.
It depends on how you measure it...TJeanloz
Oct 2, 2002 10:55 AM
Like all things, the result depends on how you define. When I was in school (which was quite recently), I read a study by an anti-poverty group that pointed out that the number of people in poverty was steadily rising; it turned out that their definition of 'in poverty' was 'in the lowest 10% of the income scale'. Of course, this number is always going to be .1 x the total population, and as long as the population is growing, the number of people 'in poverty' will be growing.

So, how do we define 'the middle class'? It's quite difficult to do based on income statistics, because somebody can live quite comfortably in Iowa on $30,000/year, while they would starve in New York City on the same earnings. The best way that economists have come up with to do this is to calculate 'quality of life' factors; i.e. what do people own that are not necessities? This is why we have reasonably good statistics about how many televisions the average household has, how many people have telephone lines, how many bathrooms, etc.

It really, purely, comes down to definitions. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate in the U.S. was 11.7% in 2001; up from 11.3% in 2000 (the first rise in four years). There is an interesting bit of 'income inequality' info from the census @ http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/histinc/ie1.html
If I could see out five or ten years....rwbadley
Oct 2, 2002 12:18 PM
I would have retired wealthy from the stock market!

Allison, each scenario is a possibilty. On the other hand, maybe the keen diplomatic skills of the current US administration will defuse the mideast, and solve economic problems at home. The crime wave will take care of itself when everyone understands that we are living in a kinder, gentler, society. ;-)

I like to think we will avoid turmoil on these issues and others. The direction we are taking, at the moment, gives me the feeling that the next few years may be very interesting.

To answer your questions with my own opinion. 1. Maybe. yes. no. 2. Yes. maybe. depends. yes. 3. Yes. yes. The middle class may go the way of Argentina. I think the concept of living standards are due for re-assessment.

This is a subject I find interesting. I'll get back when I get more free time.

Keep smiling!

RW
It all reverts back to the meanmoneyman
Oct 2, 2002 1:48 PM
The more things change,....

$$
what book/movie had the line/theme...PdxMark
Oct 2, 2002 3:20 PM
that the "situation was normal... desparate as usual"...

ok - barely a paraphrase - but everything seems as it was... better in some ways, worse than oterhs, but all in the normal range... and really really better that the Cold War is over...