Predictions pleasant and unpleasant for the world a century from now

Although in 1930 the world was already sliding into the Great Depression, Keynes was relatively optimistic in his long-term outlook, suggesting that per capita incomes in his part of the world (Britain, and probably including Western Europe and North America – he wasn’t specific) would rise by a factor of eight and that the workweek would have fallen to 15 hours, suggesting that people would have a lot more leisure.

At least since 1950 the world as a whole is on track to achieve the first result, equivalent to 2.1 percent a year on average. The working week has fallen substantially, albeit not nearly to 15 hours, although paid vacations have increased substantially, especially in Western Europe, providing greater leisure in a different form.

There are a number of common themes in the new book, projecting out to 2113: technological progress will continue, bringing many new and some unsuspected developments; as a result per capita income will continue to grow, perhaps even at the rate of recent decades, although partly in areas where measurement is more problematic; population growth will continue to decline, perhaps even leading to a decline in world population 100 years hence; poverty will continue to decline, and by current World Bank measurements will probably disappear altogether, although of course relative poverty will be present perpetually; longevity will continue to increase, mainly as a result of continued advances in pharmaceuticals and medical science.

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