The Future

An income of $1,000 per month isn’t nearly enough if you live in America, England or Australia.

An income of $1,000 per month is adequate if you live in South Africa, The Philippines or Russia.

An income of $1,000 per month is a small fortune if you live in Pakistan, Botswana or Guinea.

Why don’t those of us who conduct business online all move to Pakistan, Botswana or Guinea?

Culture.

We want to speak our own language. We want to live among people who look like us, think like us, eat like us, pray like us, work like us.

But this is changing. Cultures are converging at a staggering rate. A hundred years ago, visiting a foreign country was like visiting another planet. Today you can get McDonald’s and a good hotel almost anywhere on earth. Within one or two generations Pakistan, Botswana and Guinea will look a lot like America, England and Australia. The cultures of the world will be something most people only encounter in documentaries. (Not in books. Books won’t be around except as a luxury item. Mind you, documentaries probably won’t be around either, but that’s another post.)

As this transition gathers momentum people will start to migrate from the first world to the easy life of the third world. Only the brave at first – much as in the time of empires and colonies – because bravery will be required initially. As countries all start to look the same the cautious and the timid will find the courage to follow. The economies of the Third World will grow rapidly as they catch up with the rest of the world. Eventually, national borders and national cultures will become history.

People will say “We are, after all, the same.”

Implications for us today:

1. Prejudice belongs to the past, but as America showed us in its last election, it stubbornly clings to its place in our hearts. It is time to shake it off. Benefits gained from your nationality, your skin color, your sex and your breeding will erode. Deal with it now.

2. The power and influence of the arts will continue to rise as we look for cultural anchors.

3. Religions will converge, being closely tied to culture. As a devoted Christian this saddens me, but it seems inevitable.

4. Investment in third-world countries will steadily increase, as is already the case.

5. The concept of superpowers will begin to fade.

Economic growth in the Third World will come at the expense of economic growth in the First World. Some resistance is to be expected. Anti-globalization sentiment, driven primarily by first-world selfishness, will cause convulsions. Looking after “your own” is after all easier when you do not include all humans in “your own”.

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