Insights · January 6th, 2012
So, we are back. Had a wonderful holiday in Peru visiting Machu Picchu among other places. Truly an awe inspiring place, matched only by New Zealand’s south island, and parts of the Canadian Rockies for grandeur.
We here at Futurist.com continue to work on getting the new site ready to launch. Given that we have years of content and it turns out a rather quirky legacy in terms of some back-room functionality issues, what we thought would be quick and easy has turned out to be a bit harder. We are still hoping to introduce the new look by mid-month, so please stay tuned. We will blog here a bit in the mean time.
Many things are on my mind for 2012 in terms of future issues. Strategic issues include…
How the rich-poor gap issue in the U.S. and the world will play out this year. Interestingly the Greek historian and biographer Plutarch, who lived from 46-120 AD once made this observation, “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.” Unfortunately, so far the dynamic seems to be mostly that the severely wealthy interpret the current political climate as an attack on them, rather than as a call to re-ignite a system that builds the middle class and lifts up the poor.
Energy and politics. Last year I forecast that 2011 would be a year in which it would become clear whether we’ve hit peak oil, or not. If it did become clear, the evidence is that we have not hit peak oil. Yet, one must wonder whether all the industry hype about shale plays in gas and oil really mean that a new era of abundance is here, or whether this will turn out to be more hype than reality. A whole lot of public policy and global economic implications are at stake.
Climate change and global warming. Strangely 2011 was the year that this topic became virtually forbidden in the U.S. Politicians are not allowed to mention it, unless it is to say either they do not believe in climate change, or that the science is still too uncertain to do anything about it. My friend Dennis Walsh, a sustainability futurist from Canada, surprised me the other day by agreeing – saying its past time to talk about climate change, as there is no prospect of a sufficient public response anyway. Instead, he suggested, going forward it will be better to concentrate on raising the issue of planning for weather anomalies and local catastrophes. This is interesting. You’ll be hearing more from Dennis when we launch DoTheFuture.com, which has also been delayed, but will also launch this month.
Technology dominance. There may still be no more important dynamic in the world than the continued spread of communication technology, namely smart phones and wireless nets. It was strange to stand in Machu Picchu and talk to the kids at home via my iPhone – actually had better reception than some places around Seattle Washington.
Finally, at some point I will say a few words about the Mayan calendar and the impending end scheduled for 21 December this year!
Glen Hiemstra is a futurist, author, speaker, consultant, and Founder of Futurist.com. To arrange for a speech, workshop or consultation contact Futurist.com.