Anticipatory Antipathy

Most of us look toward the future with hopeful, wistful anticipation.

Every New Years eve we celebrate the past and tip a glass with ceremonious merriment for the coming new year. That’s the picture most of us can bring to mind with the coming new year.

Bucky Fuller standing in front of geodesic dome

Buckminster Fuller – so far ahead of his time, we still haven’t caught up.

Overall 2013 wasn’t too bad, a few containable wars here and there, a few tornadoes and so far at least, no major hurricanes like those of the past. We saw the beginning stages for a new government sponsored and controlled health care system put into place. The enrollment web site was a bit shaky, but there’s always 2014 to work out the kinks.

So, having that simple of a summary, let’s fast forward a decade give or take a couple of years. What can we look forward to, at least in the good ‘ol US of A.
Here’s to making predictions. Anyone reading this has a right to be skeptical since I’ve never made claims to predicting the future and everyone that I know hasn’t done too well on it either. Having said that, I’m still willing to make a complete and utter(1) fool of myself in hopes that rather than these coming true, our trajectory as a nation will have drastically improved.

George Orwell seeing in front of our noseI present them in no particular order:

  1. Massive food shortages in most major urban areas. Home heating shortages, brownouts, business operating during hours proscribed by energy rationing. Independent transportation / trucking extinct like the family farm.
  2. Spontaneous flash mob riots that disappear faster than law enforcement can mobilize. Entire burned out neighborhoods. Government facilities looking more like armed encampments.
  3. Health care shortages – including but not limited to availability of vaccinations, doctors and nurses, facilities over run with patients. Everyone will be insured but most unable to obtain adequate medical treatment except for emergencies.
  4. Formal education will be sporadic and inadequate. Many of the most competent educators in what we now call K-12 will have left on their own or be rooted out because of their unwillingness to comply with the increasing bureaucratic demands. Increased violence in schools will cause them to resemble prison systems for security and continue to erode the ability of educators to deliver on the expectation of teaching something of value. Speaking of value, this will be another major problem, unlikely to be addressed, government mandated values education will supersede earlier basic understood fundamentals of required learning.
  5. Continuing breakdown of communication. Spoken communication as well as signs giving basic information will not be adequate to keep up with the diversity of languages.
  6. Diseases which were once completely under control or thought to eradicated will return with a vengeance, due to inadequate health care delivery mechanisms. For example, polio, whooping-cough and tuberculosis. Also new strains of bacterial infections will cause strange skin and lung infections.
  7. Laws restricting private citizens of owning weapons along with court decisions going against citizens who defend themselves will make the next predictions easier to contemplate.
  8. Along with massive riots which break out in waves and disappear quickly, home invasions will be a routine occurrence. Even though there will be more demand and head count of law enforcement officials, protection will be low in priority except in wealthy neighborhoods or government controlled conclaves. Highly mobile and tactically trained gangs will emerge, some of them as a response to the lack of ordinary citizens being able to legally defend themselves.
  9. Almost every central major urban area will no longer have stores and services they once enjoyed. Grocery and department store chains will have pulled out due to theft, vandalism and acts of violence perpetrated within their store or parking lot. Utility, ambulance / emergency services will often be long-delayed or non-existent. Fast food chains will be in decline due to increases in minimum wage and labor laws. Some of the labor laws which will be difficult for the larger businesses to survive will be meeting all of the needs of gender identification and perceived discrimination law suits.
  10. Massive transportation problems. Vehicles will initially attempt to comply with all of the environmental and safety laws but the combination of new law and decreasing supplies of available fuel will idle many more car companies. For the first time, many countries will no longer sell into the United States because of regulation and squeezed profit margin. Many business and communication facilities shuttered due to not being able to get people to and from work areas.
  11. Along with the educational issues described earlier, another set of problems will manifest themselves for higher education. The US will no longer be seen as a country that values and provides quality education. Institutes of higher learning will find it increasingly difficult to attract enough foreign students coming to fulfill Doctoral programs and conduct advanced research. Facilities in other emerging countries will be more attractive and there will be a shortage of domestic students able to meet the entry-level requirements toward achieving a bachelor’s degree.
  12. The entertainment, sports and gaming industries will be the most attractive and lucrative opportunities for young and bright people, therefore institutions will devise programs to train and enhance those areas of demand. Traditional science and art will be regarded with less value thereby furthering the decline for many years after the next decade.
  13. The US will no longer be considered a super power. At least two other nations will be stronger and able to project their will on the other nations of the world.
  14. One final mention in this gloomy list, the economy of the US will be in shambles and getting worse. Those that have jobs will not be able to keep up with the rate of inflation. The $200 /hour minimum wage will not be able to keep up with the combination of soaring energy costs, food, transportation and housing. Airline tickets are an absolute luxury. Speaking of luxury, comedians will have a large panorama of jokes about what it must have been like in the good ‘ol days. Jokes about, remember when people used to go on cruise ships for vacation, or have you heard about the family that used to get into a SUV and drive to the local Walmart to buy presents for Christmas?
Cardboard flying car

Cardboard imaginations

Of course I hope I’m wrong in all of the above. It’s not what I want or would gloat in the idea of saying, ‘see I told you so’. This just looks like the trajectory we’re on as of this time and it’s only going to get worse unless we decide to stop, examine what we are doing and prioritize things with higher value than we do now.

If you’re one of those people who live for parties and good times and think, “life is too short, let’s live it up,” you’re deceiving yourself and cutting short the opportunity of development for yourself and probably others.

(1) I wanted to type the word udder but I figured no one but me would see the humor and just think I misspelled the intended word.