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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About the Author

The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.

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