Megachanges 1946-2066

Right after hearing Mary Ellen Bates talk about “change is constant,” I heard an excellent B&F division presentation on Business Intelligence in a Changing World. Daniel Franklin has been editorial director of the prestigious Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and editor of the annual publication, “The World in…” He is about to start as the new editor of The Economist and editor-in-chief of Needless to say, the room was overflowing with eager listeners.
EIU was born in 1946 and is now celebrating its 60th anniversary, thus the choice of dates for his commentary—60 years back and 60 years forward. Citing a wide range of authoritative sources, he provided statistics, graphs, and facts to illuminate his fascinating look at 10 themes of change during these years. He covered demographics, the world economy, countries, companies, technology, and more. I won’t go into details on the 10 since I’ve been told that the presentation will be posted on the B&F Web site. [Don’t miss his fanciful list of the top companies in 2066, like ExxonHydro, MyMcSpace, and GGS (formerly Google Goldman Sachs).]

These are just a few highlights of what he covered. First, the people. Our global population has expanded by more than 150 percent since 1950, rising from 2.55 billion to 6.47 billion. The UN projects 9.08 billion for 2050, and increase of 40 percent from today. In 2006, for the first time in human history, more than half the world’s population is urban, rather than rural. The world economy is nearly 10 times bigger in 2006 than 60 years ago. Countries in emerging markets will experience faster growth in the future, but the U.S. will still grow at 3 percent per year and outpace other rich countries. We’ve also seen great changes in the balance of military power and international crises have actually lessened. “Yes, the world is actually a safer place. There’s less really bloody conflicts.” We’ve also experience quite a social revolution—changing work roles for women, single parent households, gay marriage, and more.

He urged the audience to reflect on these 10 themes—these subjects will be driving business in the future. “The past 60 years have seen extraordinary changes, but we’ll see even faster changes in the next 60 years. Prepare for a risky ride, but also an exhilarating one.”

Paula J. Hane
News Bureau Chief
Information Today, Inc.

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