Page 22 - CSA Speaker Bulletin January 2017 | CSA Celebrity Speakers
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   The Trends of 2017

For over 30 years Ray Hammond              The reaction produced by Future           "anticipatory democracy". His hope
has been researching, writing and          Shock is the rise of so-called            was that informed governments of
speaking about how future trends           "populist" politics in Western societies  the 21st Century would anticipate
will affect society and business.          which led to the UK's unwise vote         the social changes wrought by
He is Europe’s most experienced            for Brexit, the hate-filled politics of   technological disruption and would
and most widely published                  the USA which led to the even more        plan social alleviations and solutions
futurologist.                              unwise election of Donald Trump           accordingly.
                                           and the rise of both right and left-
The most noticeable short-term             wing populist movements across            But the governments he imagined
         trends of 2017 will be continued  Europe. I am afraid that additional       - advised by social scientists,
         disruption in the politics of     social damage is likely to follow as      futurologists and technologists - have
Western nations, the probable              more working people feel unsettled,       not materialised. If anything, I regard
retrenchment of the Eurozone               displaced and undervalued as the          most of today's western governments
and the possible beginning of a            arrival of A.I. and automation reduces    as more technophobic, incompetent
reformation of the European Union          opportunities for human employment        and short-sighted than they were
itself.                                    and advancement still further.            when Alvin Toffler was writing his
                                                                                     prescient masterpiece. Having been
The wild card of the year, the joker in    In both the UK and the USA the            an advisor to Western governments
the pack is, of course, the presidency     percentage of adults who have             on future planning, I am sad to report
of Donald Trump.                           attended university or college is about   that very few politicians care about
                                           one third; most of this group are in      any issues with implications further
As the great futurist Alvin Toffler        work and are socially mobile, at least    ahead than their own next elections.
predicted in his eponymous 1970            for now.                                 
book, the peoples of the developed
world are suffering from "Future           But the less-skilled two thirds of the
Shock" - more or less on the timeline      population that did not benefit from
he predicted 47 years ago.                 further education find employment
                                           either unrewarding or impossible
For many adult voters, the future          to find. Those working are mostly
is now coming at them too fast             stuck in jobs that pay little more
and too hard. Although few of              than the minimum wage, have few
those feeling discomfited would            opportunities for promotion and are
identify the forces of exponential         faced with competition for their jobs
technology development (and the            from keen, lowly-paid immigrants
rapid globalization that it produces)      or automation. This two-thirds of
as the cause of their resentment           the population also votes, and it is
at their own lack of social mobility       their dissatisfaction, their reaction to
and the increasing loss of low-            Future Shock, that is now disrupting
skilled jobs, these long-term trends       domestic politics.
are the underlying causes of their         Alvin Toffler suggested that a
unhappiness.                               new form of governance would be
                                           needed for this period; he called it

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