What Ideas, Values, and Institutions Won't Be Here in 2040?

Successful entrepreneur and friend Dave Zinman is now the Senior VP of Marketing at Zinio, a company delivering magazines digitally in a proprietary reader. I read a lot of magazines in print and haven’t been totally sold on the digital magazine/e-book industry. But, Dave kindly offered a free subscription to one of the zines from Zinio and I got my first issue of Foreign Policy magazine the other day. My initial reaction is that reading mags in digital format works for magazines that are largely reference based – like tech rags – without long essays.

In the Sept/Oct issue of Foreign Policy there was a provocative feature on what values/ideas/institutions  will not be here in 35 years. I’m sick of futuristic predictions so it was a refreshing change. Some of the more interesting ones:

  1. Political Parties – Overlapping senses of identities new affiliations other than class and ideology, and the rejection of the EU constitution in some countries will lead to political parties becoming irrelevant (unless they re-invent themselves, of course).
  2. Japanese Passivity – They can no longer afford to rely on the U.S. for military support and will regain a spine and more aggressive posture in the world.
  3. Monogamy – 200 years ago no one foresaw easy divorce or open homosexuality. Monogamy, a useful social convention, will cease to exist as a radical new conception of love relationships emerges because of extended life expectency, technology advances, and so forth.
  4. Religious Hierarchy – More and more people view religions as a buffet from which they can pick and choose. Command control religious organizations will need to inspire and cajole. Between the woes of the Christian church and the rise of bottom up religions, religious organizations will change.
  5. Chinese Communist Party – Many of us see this coming. You know the Party is in trouble when its leaders consult fortune tellers.
  6. War on Drugs – It will neither be won nor lost, only become obsolete because there won’t be plants to find. The new drug scene will revolve around drugs custom built for one’s body chemistry…just look at crystal meth which can be made in anyone’s basement.
  7. Sovereignty – Globalization, basically. More countries will accept WTO rules and subscribe to more internationalist governance while ceding some of their sovereignty.
  8. Anonymity – We will have less privacy than ever. My generation is certainly a driving factor – we are ready to reveal more information about us than ever in exchange for more personalization.
  9. Sanctity of Human Life – Only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will still believe that every human life, from conception to death, is sacrosanct. The decision to end the life of a human body will not be controversial when the "person" is already dead.

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