In a future warped around an increasing frequency of disruptive innovations, there will be great displacement, confusion, and much social, financial and emotional tribulation. Innovation may well a positive thing (per se), but the accelerating pace of the occurrence of innovations can (and will) leave many struggling to survive in the inevitable trauma of its deepening wake. This wave of disruptions, like a hailstorm, has already begun raining down upon us.
For the uninitiated, disruption is defined by Dictionary.Com as "
While the end of a disruptive event may produce a favorable outcome, there is apt to be a great deal of mayhem while things, i.e., changes, are "settling in". But in a futurescape scenario where disruption is layered upon disruption, that state of mayhem will be protracted and increased significantly in severity.
On our planet, we are entering an era, or perhaps an epoch, of accelerating disruptions. These may well be as traumatic to our species as a catastrophic meteor shower or a steepening climatic change. Human beings are generally resistant to change in general, whether it be advantageous or disadvantageous.
Change upsets our equilibrium and violates our 'default setting' of constancy and complacency. Going further, it could be said that a fair amount of predictability in our lives serves to keep us sane... walking upright in a straight line instead of falling all over ourselves in a situation of randomly changing gravity.
Amid this wave of accelerating disruptions, The Global Futurist anticipates the following trends [although we are not in the business of offering any type of investment, tax, financial, legal or other advice] during the next several years' time:
1) Transitional unemployment will increase dramatically. Individuals will not only be between jobs, but between careers. At present, the United States government (through the Bureau Of Labor Statistics and the Federal Reserve) reports a total unemployment rate of only 5.3%, the actual rate of people out of work but in need of employment (as reported by some very influential Wall Street advisers as of the date of this writing) may be in excess of 25%. As accelerating technological change eliminates many middle-management and other types of jobs across multiple industry sectors, The Global Futurist anticipates an increase in the 25% statistic to in excess of 33% by 2018, although the official pronouncements of the government and mainstream news media will not report this. Expect a higher crime rate and a burgeoning underground economy;
2) Smaller, more entrepreneurial enterprises will rise up in innovation, productivity, visibility and stakeholder value over short time frames, while they will be overtaken by technologically superior successors rapidly, giving them a reduced business lifespan of perhaps a mere 3 to 5 years;
3) A greatly increasing percentage of consumer income will be expended (despite the decreasing prices of various technologies and technology-based items) on purchasing updated, and upgrading items to replace the increasing amounts of techno items. At present, consumers are spending between 17% and 19% of the amount of their annual rent or mortgage payments on technological upgrades and updates. With accelerating obsolescence, the implicit consumer mandate will drive this percentage higher -- perhaps to as much as 25% by as early as 2018. This translates to reduced consumer income for survival expenditures and investment;
4) Due to the foregoing trends, an increasing portion of the population of industrialized nations will be living below the poverty line, with the middle class (the traditional backbone of stability for most every economy) all but disappearing. At present (by way of example) approximately 14.5% of the United States population, or 45 million persons live below the poverty line as defined by the U.S. government, down from a higher number in the year 2000. This trend away from poverty will reverse by 2018, and the reversal will be significant -- perhaps as high as +/- 18% by the end of 2018.
Generally speaking, this tsunami of accelerating disruptive events will create more loss than actual opportunity until a deceleration of this onslaught can be reached; but with increased instability (i.e., via disruption) comes increased volatility (in life and in the capital markets) and decreased security for individuals and organizations. Just as virtual communications are de-socializing us as fully-sensory beings, an increasing amount of our Humanity and any of its associated benefits can be expected to decay in a radioactive field of aggressive, undeterred accelerating disruption.
This effect will continue until the perceived value of stability finally begins to outweigh the perceived benefits of unbridled disruption. At this point in the evolution of society, industry and capital markets in industrialized nations, the newly positive ideological construct of disruption innovation may just be a bit overrated. I'm neither a technophobe nor a Luddite, but I have learned to take the more distant and larger view when it comes to change. There's a storm, and we've already begun to feel its first winds.
Thank you, as always, for reading me.
Douglas E. Castle for The Global Futurist, Global Edge International Consulting Associates, Inc., and the Global Edge International Blog
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disruption, disruptive innovation, technology, poverty, obsolescence, volatility, The Global Futurist, Douglas E. Castle, GEIconsulting, accelerating change, instability, prediction, trend
THE GLOBAL FUTURIST – Douglas E Castle
Discovering and following significant trends across an extensive range of domestic and international consumer, business, demographic, cultural, economic, political, technological and other key areas of influence and impact on life and business; predicting future change, preparing for it and profiting from it.
Key Terms: business, forecasting, trends, future, prediction, disruption, displacement, innovation, complexity theory, economic waves and cycles, projections, planning
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