It’s a new decade, ladies and gentelman. Insert your favorite 2020 meme above.
Ahhh… to the New Decade. In the first six months, so much has happened. Tragic and severe events, such as pandemics, the migrant crisis, plague level locust infestations, brush fires in Australia, Kobe Bryant dies in a helicopter crash, the Olympics are postponed, world economies in free fall …(catches breath)4.
I’ll stop right there.
What were (are) your expectations for 2020? What were the historical expectations for our new decade? Are we getting better?
Are we getting better?
Let’s divide this into two categories; first, standard of living and second, quality of life. Standard of living is mostly associated with income and is measured by GDP and other economic factors. Yet, this metric does not measure the people of the country’s welfare19. Quality life is the wellbeing of people and societies23. The World Population Review takes the health, comfort and happiness of a population and ranks them. Denmark ranks first, America ranks thirteenth24. Although, the US has had the largest GDP since 187125.
Though the world’s most dominant militiary and economic power, the country still ranks thirteenth, even moving up two positions from 2019-202026. In the last two hundred years, the number of those living in extreme poverty has greatly reduced. In 2015, it is estimated that less than 10% of the worlds populations lives in extreme poverty, compared to the near 90% in 182026. Literacy and health have improved worldwide.
As a result, we are better than we’ve ever been. It’s unclear how the events of our new decade will impact this trend. Some warn that the COVID-19 epidemic could undo all the progress for poverty that has been accomplished11.
New Decade Resolutions
The top 10 new years resolutions25 for 2020 were:
- Actually doing your resolution
- Trying something new
- Eat more of favorite foods
- Lose weight/Diet
- Go to the gym2
- Be happier/better mental health
- Be healthier
- Be a better person
- Upgrade technology
- Stay Motivated
Okay, humanity. The second half is a little better, but number one being doing a resolution on a list of top resolutions?
Very disappointing, humanity.
What did you resolve to do in this new decade?
How It’s Supposed to Be
In 1951, we predicted that we’d all have our own personal helicopters. It was predicted that we wont have roads but instead a network of pneumatic tubes in 1957. In 1913, the president of the American Meat Packers Association predicted that everyone would be vegetarian due to a shortage of meat5. Oh and also, humans will only have one large toe27.
We pretty much suck at predicting the future. Most of us don’t know which factors are the most important in the calculation. Our biases that navigate us away from reality and we simply can’t process that much data to make a sound decision29.
So what weight to we put on the current status of the world? Politicians are using the current situations to suit their agendas. Media outlets telling us that the events of the world are changing everything. It’s difficult to know how to feel or navigate any of it.
Currently, 52% of Americans are critical of the country’s reaction to COVID-19. 47% say the US did good or excellent. Expectedly, this near 50/50 split can be found right down party lines22. Unfortunate to see a country once again divided in extreme. I believe this division is something painted by the media for clicks and ad revenue and not necessarily true.
The belief is that the effects of the Pandemic could be limited to a year or two, especially if there is a vaccine produced during this time29. Monday’s (6/8/2020) WHO (World Health Organization) announcement that asymptomatic carriers of the virus are “very rare”, quickly walked back those comments on Tuesday30. This is another example in a long list of contradictory information confusing the situation. This type of thing creates a dissonance in the public, causing many to just tune out.
Currently, fatal police shootings among black Americans are higher than any other ethnicity30. About 52 in 1,000 black men and boys are killed by police31. It is widely believed that a key obstacle to any meaningful reform is overcoming the protection police are afforded. For example, police unions have “a proud willingness to defend even the worst agents of police violence at any cost, and to gum up investigations and lawsuits and prevent penalties when abuse occurs”32.
In an article posted today (June 10th, 2020), Karen Hao discussed the process of ending police brutality. First, witness what’s happening.
“These videos [the witnessing] are definitely making people who may have been in denial about African-Americans’ current oppression unable to deny that anymore”.
Second, changing legislation. Qualified immunity, the objective reasonableness standard and the police bill of rights. Often, footage of the brutality is not released by witnesses until after the official report is released to illustrate the defects in the system, as the video shows another story than the official report. And third, community copwatching. A grass roots organized group monitoring police behavior that may lead to brutality33.
If you are white, start here to begin with your understanding of the difference between black and white perceptions. It’s cool and interactive. Notably, it points out that in recent surveys 49% of whites support the protests for George Floyd’s death in opposition to 77% of blacks34.
The Rest of the Decade
MIT predicts that Africa will be the testing ground for robot/human coexistence. Ten years ago, robot traffic cops were installed in Africa and the surprising finding was that humans were more likely to obey them than a human cop. They reasoned that the robot was not corrupt35.
By 2030, depression will surpass heart related disorders as the leading global disease burden36.
We could have … wait for it … a permanent moon base. NASA plans on having a lunar lander in the moon’s orbit by 202437. Elon Musk promises to have us landed on Mars by 2028. Populations will be about 8.5 billion, two thirds of us will live in cities and privacy will be a thing of the past38.
In the future, our meat will be grown in a lab. Relatedly, the market for artificial meat is subject to a 15.3% annual growth rate until 202039. In the next ten years, our diets will be tailored to our personal genome40. We will be eating healthier and therefore, living longer. By 2030, there will be one billion people over the age of 65. Governments will struggle for balance in short term economic decisions and long term environmental needs. Technology will be driven towards efficiency in part because of the government’s ability to act41.
These trends will continue to push forward at an accelerated rate. And many of this issues that face humanity have relatively known solutions, however, leaders are not acting41.
So look forward to eating better, less privacy, more technology and things moving at an even faster rate of change.