THE FUTURE IS RUSHING UPON US
We're in for a wild ride. Exponentially accelerating technological, cultural, and socioeconomic evolution means that every year will see more developments than the previous one. More change will happen between now and 2050 than during all of humanity's past. Let's explore the 21st century and ride this historic wave of planetary transition with a confident open mind.
Friday, February 10, 2012
The graying of the Northern Hemisphere is a unique historical social event much like agricultural or industrial revolutions were. Besides creating a massive demand (and eventually breakthroughs) for life extension and bio-cybernetic repair/augmentation technologies, the elderly in the world (and particularly in the Western world) also create a particular problem of adjustment.
Transition to a more technocratic, collaborative, cooperative, and supranational global arrangement will prove psychologically difficult for baby boomers in North America and within allied developed nations. In United States for instance, the numbers of people over the age of 62 are 50 million of which 41 million are over 65. The numbers of people in 18-24 block (that tends to be most aggressive and politically unclouded) are 30.7 million. In essence we have 41 million status quo force versus 31 million change agents.
The numbers of 25-44 olds are 82 million and those under 18 years of age are 74 million (of which 54 million are in 5-17 age range).
This simply means that when it comes to political struggles and domination, the 50 million boomer block only has 82 million people to try to coopt/use as reserve while the 31 million Millennial block has BOTH the 82 million to draw from (unconverted bitter Gen Xers) AND has a loyal reserve force of 54 million hyper tech savy individuals about to come online politically. It'll come down to boomer block using entrenched economic heights to slow socioeconomic change via quantity of money, experience, and established informational controls versus more mobile Millennial block accelerating change via quality of informational approaches and technological knowhow.
We can thus expect to see dramatic rise in the use of coping mechanisms among the elderly as they rapidly lose political power. We already see a rise in alcohol/comfort food abuse among those living deeper in the countryside and we saw a rare rise in annual boomer mortality in 2008 after the clear decline of Reaganism and election of a non-traditional appearing Gen-Exer. Previously such rare peculiar annual reversals in (usually declining) mortality occurred after the end of FDRism in the late 1970s.
During Soviet transition towards something else in the 1990s, there was the predictable decline in life expectancy primarily centered on the elderly. To prevent a similar demographic catastrophe and tragedy in the Western world (especially in USA since the notion of empire plays a large role in the ego and self esteem of the boomer population), preventive measures need to be thought of in advance.
The clinics need to be small, brand new and utilize environmental cues and marketing the way some pharmacies like Rite Aid have been using lately. Following Rite Aid's example, it is also prudent to localize the atmosphere of such clinics. Getting local community religious leaders involved can for instance result in southern regions having pleasant clinics with religious literature/themes, northwestern clinics having a more hippy feel, etc. The important thing is to preserve psychological sanity and thus life expectancy of the most vulnerable demographic block during a period of very rapid cultural and economic transition.
Major movie studios can be helpful in this effort by working with the government to produce a few all star cast informational movies which indirectly emphasize the benefits of these new clinics (love story taking place there, some drama of a person having a life turn around after multivitamin injections/blood oxygenation, etc). And of course it is easy to locate and pay a few major boomer role models to advocate these clinics via stories of personal use (Oprah, some former "bad boy" actor, etc).
Getting inside a clinic can require "tickets" (bringing to mind a celebratory event) and local governments can use lottery system for additional marketing (winning to go to specialized clinic in a luxurious region of the country while emphasizing there is one nearby). Even within the capitalist framework, incentives can be provided so people earn points on purchase of healthy food to get additional trips to the clinics (above the standard number of provided tickets).
Starting to think of providing services like this is essential to reverse current depression born increase in mortality among boomers (1.6+ million a year currently). Informational and psychological counseling via television can also provide continuity between prior imperial era and the world of tomorrow. Russians and British have some experience with this. Moscow has been staging military parades recently to provide some cognitive continuity for the elderly while London uses the monarchy for that purpose. Future youthful American political leadership may think of linking FDRist, religious, and Reaganist themes to the technocratic developments that the post-Millennial generation will be engaging in.
In parallel however, top down informational campaigns should gradually begin to de-emphasize prior imperial propaganda of militarism and other less savory aspects of the 20th century socioeconomic system that existed. Once again, Hollywood and cooperative younger religious leaders should be heavily used.
If management of the declining boomer population is done in a very restrained, humane, and methodical manner, besides averting a humanitarian catastrophe, a large portion of retired intuitive boomers can even be made to serve the national technocratic interest in the future (by minimum of not standing in the way of progress and maximum of encouraging it via word of mouth among peers).