Kossacks Under 35 is a weekly diary series designed to create a community within DailyKos that focuses on young people. Our overall goals are to work on increasing young voters' Democratic majority, and to raise awareness about issues that particularly affect young people, with a potential eye to policy solutions. Kossacks of all ages are welcome to participate (and do!), but the overall framework of each diary will likely be on or from a younger person's perspective. If you would like more information or want to contribute a diary, please email kath25 at kossacksunder35 (at) gmail dot com
Full Disclosure: I am not under 35 but I was for a while, and chances are in 35 years you won't be under 35, either. So there. :)
Okey doke...the One True Kath25 asked me to use my future forecasting powers for
evil the good of the group. I was advised to deal with topics of daily life interest as best I could manage, so I made a list (drawing from past Kossacks Under 35 diaries and trying to parse out from my oodles o futurology-ish diaries and the forecasting programs I have designed over the years to come up with some forecasts.
Alrighty, time to set the stage
W00t! And, yes, words like w00t and pwn are in common spoken parlance...by old geezers. Image and aural iconography is hip among the young. And, gets better, being "young" got a lot older, thanks to longevity extensions and far more valuable, vitality extensions.
We're going to be America-centric here just because I will get lost in the weeds and you will be, too, if I am free to run amok across the Earth and beyond.
The recent acceleration in older age life expectancy has continued in the United States for four decades. In the year 2010, American seniors at age 65 could expect to live on average to age 85. but now (in 2043), they can expect to reach 95.
There is an ongoing debate in Congress to accelerate the eligibility age of retirement from 69 1/2 years to 74 1/2, as there are now instances -- of people living longer on Social Security than they were work (a lot of people are seeing 120 birthdays these days). Voters 18-34 would like to see the retirement age raised and caps lowered. Voters in the 35-65 band tend want to retire, then once grandfathered in raise the retirement age behind them. The over 65 crowd doesn't care; no one is about to take their checks away, as they are far and away the most powerful electoral constituency in the country.
And that has changed things greatly, the hegemony of seniority in American politics. So everything you love and cherish will be The Establishment in 2043. Noooooo..... haha.
Alrighty, what about Congress? And politics?
Who is running things? What are the issues?
And who won in 2008? Sorry I can tell you that.
It's fairly safe to say that it will be a more conservative society BUT what it's conservative about are the progressive notions of Right Now. So build the home for your ideolological hopes and dreams well, once the foundations are laid in this coming election.
What you build in 2008 is gonna be around for a long time to come, so please get it right, and get it done the right way.
There are approximately 453 million of them. And we are startng to see in sufficient numbers distinctive combinations of the admixtures among the various demographic categories, and hints here and there of all the possibilities that could be as, perhaps a thousand years hence, perhaps less, all the many threads of Humanity unite anew in the children of America, as so many bloodlines join together. Some lament the mixing, it even has an ugly label - miscegenation. But what love brings together, let no one put asunder.
Ah, yes, the topic of marriage and civil unions. No one even mentions that last term anymore, without think of other shameful political contrivances like "poll tax" and "enemy combatant" and "separate but equal". People meet, fall in love, some live together, some get married. Some have children. Some share gender, some share religion, some share race. Not all do, and the law says not only do they don't have to but discrimination for their doing (or NOT doing) so isn't acceptable in any way. People got over their fear of other people's happiness, the world is so scarce of joy as it is.
Nations do not have permanent friends, just permanent interests... excpt those interests shift over time too. This happens to be my specialty, forecasting wars, who is likely to fight then, when and against whom.
The challenges of the early 21st century are still with us in the mid-2040s. The sins of our forebears and all that.
The United States is still the largest world economy and military power -- the last barely, for both China and India can be called true superpowers now. Brazil and Indonesia have surpassed Japan. Russia, Colombia, Canada and Mexico round out the Top Ten.
For the very long haul, the targeted long-term sustained growth forecast favors Indonesia, Zaire, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, India, Argentina, then China..then the Philippines and Russia. At least among the biggest economies.
The picture is one where South America has everyone's close attention, so letting in all dem immigrants is suddenly looking like a really, really smart decision. Good thing the Americans of 2008 didn't election in a bunch of xenophobes else the US of A might have been shut out and facing instead an adversarial federation of Hispanic countries to the south, one that enjoyed enthusiastic backing from the Asian powers.
But that very stupid choice was not made, so "America" in quotes is part of America -- all of the New World, and it's a great feeling.
As for hot spots...Iraq is still a cluster, thanks to the war of forty years before, but tensions exist in Zaire, Uganda, Sudan, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, India, Zambia and Colombia, in some due to the uneven distribution of wealth, in others due to desperate destitution.
Japan is remilitarized and doing its best to hold the Philippines together, in an odd and US-sanctioned replay of events a century earlier. Colombia is in a full-blown war with Venezuela, which has spilled out across all of the Americas. Brazil has remained aloof, preoccupied with its own designs in central Africa which run afoul of Nigeria's plans for the place. Europe is involved in several peacekeeping projects most prominently the (again the strange twists) mostly-German support force in and near Israel, consequences of the angry stand-off with the Qaidi governments that now rule Algeria, Egypt Sudan and Saudi Arabia; the French and the British contingents are more involved in the now-protected North Africa War.
It is a world that has dismayed the Americans, who have turned some of their energies elsewhere.
If you are wondering what the jobs for Kossacks under 35 would be, well, they might not be in a place where you can just walk out with a jacket. They might be someplace else like, say, being a subglacial habitat architect in Antarctica (population 1.0 million), or a submarine CAD designer (undersea colonies, population 1million) or even, you guessed it, figuring out ways to sift out Helium-3 from the lunar regolith (291,000 peeps on the Moon these days). Sorry, no towns on Mars yet...the isolation is just too daunting.
this is the sketch for the world in 2100, it's a bit too far ahead of our target date here but it will give you an idea of what's up.
Let me see what's apropos for our exercise tonight...
Less powerful mass media. The reduction in the danger of mass media has been almost universal. There is a nearly-allergic reaction to monoculture of ideas. People just don't shine to having their emotions and thoughts messed with like they once did.
And with the decline of broadcasting, weaker state control. The alliance of the two was the basis of 20th century nationalism -- and totalitarianism. The most repressive regimes in the year 2100 are praetorian republics, assembled on the 'Republican' model, and the mechanics of containing and innoculating against such threats are now well-understood; the United States is much freer, happier and more prosperous now, and has been cheered back into the community of civilized and lovable nations. (We're lovable again! Yay!)
More agriculture, out of necessity. This means more local-grown, by a variety of means. This is less meat and more produce ; there has to be, livestock is for several reasons too rare and too expensive. Given the proscription against monoculture, factory farming is out. Now ha the risks are better understand, personal testing kits available and there siply are too many people to be choosy all the time, GM foods are now acceptable, but only in the context of enhancing, not restricting, diversities within and of species.
Introduciton of things you'd not recognize as machines. Much of the information gear, the boxlike terminals, the keyboards, the televisions, the radios, is now being replaced by gear that is embedded in wardrobe -- or in the users themselves.
The jihads and reactionary crusades of the 21st century are discrediting religion as a mode of conduct, but the ecological and biological cataclysms of the era, as well as the discovery of worlds full of life nearby and the detection of distant neighbors elsewhere in the galaxy has had a paradoxical boosting effect on faith. Fewer go to church, there is much less demand for professional clergy, and widespread skepticism of their motives, even where churches and mosques and temples receive common visitation.
Lots more internet, for we wear our connectivity, with sights and sounds and data and commerce available on a whim. It takes up both less of our attention and more of our lives. There are greater risks of trouble, now that the health consequences of a programming virus and a biological one are identical. Likewise, the defenses are more robust, and the prosecution of deliberate tampering with the data of others is considered personal violence, and punished as such.
Some very scary hackers. In some cases, hackers' products have killed by the thousands. Wars are being fought online; there are powers and there are superpowers in this domain; for programming it is China and India. For hardware, the Americans. For bioware, the Russians, who have less compunction about such things than their traditional rivals. For cybernetics, now understood to be the mating of flesh and mechanics, the Brazilians are making strong moves.
Data storage is out; data continuum is in. There is so much realtime information, supported by quantum processing and protection by quantum encryption, that storage of information offline is not only redundant but uneconomical for legitimate pursuits. People treat such secretive behaviors as suspicious; there are notorious examples from the early 21st century of excessive sequestration of information. We do our utmost to keep our lives open and honest...largely because of quantum decryption, there is little point in subterfuge. Still, humans require their secrets, and there are strict privacy laws to provide some refuge from the ubiquitous cyber-observation that we live with.
School's out forever. Part of the abolition of monoculture is the elimination of mass education. We have group education in a variety of ad hoc settings; there is still daycare and classes, but the days when millions of hectares of valuable land and trillions of dollars of wealth were poured into public education are over. Most of the socialization and all of the instruction benefits can be handled at the ad hoc class level, and we find that diversification of settings raises the likelihood of forward progress in a child, and identification of what settings and personas complement a given individual's learning success.
This is a world many of us are likely to see. I am, so if that is true then so are most of you guys who read the Under 35 series. I have decided to elide past some of the darker forecastings, the fun topics like global warming and future plagues and the possible use of WMDs (for real) in the next 35 years. But for the most part I see the nexy 35 yeasr -- our lives -- as being extensons of , well, our lives. History rarely throws true surprises. Mostly it sends up told-you-so's.
So, I hope this was interesting, and in some corners here you got some thoughts going on what you want to be doing to make the house you are building out of your own ideas into a great place to life, because what you right now is going to be with you a very long time, not just in an election year but in your life, with your career, your families in the making, you friendships and your dreams.
So snap to it. The future's waiting for us to float down the river of time and visit.