What About 2021?
To say 2021 will be interesting is a clear understatement. We have little experience in situations like this: a pandemic and political chaos in the United States. What we know is our old normal has been torn down. What will matter is how we deal with building a new one. Remember improv. Yes, to accept the idea then “and” to grow with it.
What we know
- Social interaction has changed for now. Some parts of it will remain changed, but we don’t know what parts. Yet.
- There is a vaccine for Covid-19, but it is new, and we don’t really know if it works as advertised.
- If it does, the technique will be used to prevent all sorts of other diseases. That’s a good thing.
- Most politicians like to be bossy, even when there is next to nothing to support their action. We needed proof.
- The media has a business model that demands clicks. They use exciting, usually fearful things to get that attention. It will get worse as they must become more and more hysterical to attract any attention at all. Until someone finds a better business model.
- There are responsible journalists, but they are more oppressed than we are.
- Commercial landlords are in trouble. Many businesses will not reopen, and those that do will have learned to work with less space. Telecommuting and office hotelling will be things we notice.
- Software for meetings of all kinds will become better.
- There will be less traffic, so commuting will become easier. Roads will last longer too. Maybe less need for new ones.
- Less traffic means fewer deaths in motor vehicle accidents.
- We will be more careful in trusting others. We will have our cadre of reliable reporters and ignore the others.
- We will learn critical thinking and skepticism or be in trouble.
- Many restaurants and bars will disappear. Something new will replace them. People like tog rather and enjoy experiences.
- Restaurants that have always done just delivery and pickup will flourish.
- Convenience and value-added service will become more common. That’s where local businesses will flourish.
- There will be less wealth, so ideologues must wait for their funding.
- Technology will boom—especially energy. Look for 5th generation nuclear to be a thing.
- Bureaucracies will act faster or perish. Perfection is not a useful goal. The FDA in the US thought it would take 5 years to get a vaccine. They thought at least 6 months to review the data about the disease. It took 2 weeks to review the data, and the initial formulation of the vaccine took less than a week. The other time was spent testing.
- We will develop better testing methods for all kinds of diseases. Ones that are not so easy to manipulate.
- Some of us will find more holistic ways to live.
- Service clubs, churches, neighbourhoods, and extended family will become more important.
- We will come to realize that governing is an important job, and seeking political advantage is not. Politicians who merely show well will become unelectable. Competence will be a desirable characteristic. Charisma less so.
- Media, politicians, and citizens must reinvent their incentives.
- Capitalism is not political; it is a way to distribute the goods society has created. Socialism is such a thing, too, except it is less good at creating the wealth to distribute.
- We are more resourceful and capable than we knew. Be a warrior. Adopt a motto. “That what doesn’t kill me better be running.”
As a people, we have faced challenges before, and we have learned and changed to be better for it. This time will be no different. When we look back from 2041, the changes will seem to have been necessary and properly handled.
We won’t see the effects in the short run, but our attitudes have changed already. It is just the expression of that new attitude that needs work to implement
May your New Year 2021 be joyful, prosperous, and satisfying.
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