It seems today that we are entering a permanently different, and maybe more frugal, approach to economy. In this video I pose questions about the future status of national and global economy, and also about the changing nature of jobs in terms of availability and longevity. I have lived through enough recessions now, and enough warnings that this time we will see a “jobless recover” to be careful about making that forecast again. But, as with many forecasts, at some point they often become correct. Replacement of work with technology along with the continuing integration of the global, as compared to local, workforce are causing chaos in regular assumptions about jobs. Of course, the flood of cutting government jobs at this time is part of the picture as well. But, ultimately when the economy finally returns to “normal” whatever that is, I do think we will be in a different job’s landscape than we’ve seen before.
Writers at the Economist and CNN are wondering about the future of jobs as well.
Is it wise to choose a better diet over surgery? The answer may be yes! After studying cancer and finding that certain cultures around the world do not get heart disease, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn Jr., a general surgeon, discovered that a strict diet can prevent heart attacks. In this case, the diet is difficult to abide by, but definitely possible. Dr. Esselstyn recommends no dairy, no eggs, no added oils and no meat.
This is not really new. Such diet ideas have been around for a long time, and are occasionally modified by new information. But, is the idea of intervening in your own health via diet becoming a significant future trend? The trend appears in the continued interest in and market for nutraceuticals – food supplements aimed at better health – and in the faster growing interest in organic, natural and local foods.
When the Institute for Systems Biology envisions the future of medicine, they propose that health care will become increasingly predictive, preventive, personalized, and participatory. By participatory they mean that through better access to information individuals will take more charge of, and responsibility for their health. How you eat seems likely to become a key ingredient in participating in being healthy.
One of the most interesting, and vital, questions for the future of the U.S., and any country really, is whether it is possible to have a viable economy without any manufacturing capacity in your country. Former Intel CEO Andy Grove weighs in on this question in an interview in the current issue of Technology Review. His answer: rebuild a basic manufacturing capacity, including protecting your manufacturing sector and products. Check it out.
There was a time when I thought that raising the retirement age was a good idea. People were living longer and healthier, and most work was information or service work. So why not? The U.S. age for Social Security is already going up to 67. What would be the harm in raising it to 70?
More recently I have come to the view that this would be bad public policy. Why? For those in the top 50% of earners life span is indeed increasing, but for those in the bottom 50% of earners life span is barely changing. Raising the retirement age would be quite harmful to those earning less, who are often in the most physically demanding jobs.
Digby has written about this with passion and clarity.
Then there is the recent proposal being floated to save some Medicare spending by increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67 here in the U.S. This would be a disaster for many, many people age 65-67, who could not afford private health insurance (if they could get it) and may no longer be covered by employers. And it may not save much money for the government. It is Insurance 101 to keep younger, healthier people in your program. In fact a recent analysis shows that while there may be a small saving in Medicare itself, the costs to individuals, employers, and states, plus higher costs to remaining Medicare enrollees will be more than twice any anticipated savings. Uh oh. Maybe this idea needs to be re-thought.
Glen Hiemstra is a futurist speaker, author, consultant, blogger, internet video producer and Founder of Futurist.com. We are booking events for the Fall-Winter and for 2012. To arrange for a speech contact Futurist.com.