the link. And here is
the source with explanation, p.48.
"We Have a Problem"
We propose a preliminary but
plausible story in which
over life, in the labor market, in
marriage and child outcomes, and in health, is triggered by
progressively worsening labor market opportunities at the
time of entry for whites with low levels of education.
This account, which fits much of the data, has the
profoundly negative implication that policies, even ones
that successfully improve earnings and jobs, or redistribute
income, will take many years to reverse the mortality and
morbidity increase, and that those in midlife now are likely
to do much worse in old age than those currently older than
65. This is in contrast to an account in which resources
affect health contemporaneously, so that those in midlife
now can expect to do better in old age as they receive
Social Security and Medicare. None of this implies that
there are no policy levers to be pulled; preventing the
over-prescription of Opioid is an obvious target that would
clearly be helpful.
5. Solving Technology Fear from GZERO
Technology is changing faster than people or governments can keep
up. The move to an information economy is rapidly displacing old
industries. People subjected to a continual barrage of news and data
feel anxious and alienated. They're suffering from "information
These ideas could easily be part of a stock description of life at
the beginning of the 2020s. In fact, they were first popularized
half a century ago, in 1970, when the author Alvin Toffler and his
wife Heidi, later credited by Alvin as co-author,
published their book, Future Shock.
The Tofflers were trying
to make sense of a world moving faster and faster, thanks to jet
travel, mass media, the birth control pill, and the
then-still-very-nascent computer revolution, leaving people and
society struggling to cope. Some of these concerns may seem quaint
or dated (check
out the documentary film about the book, which opens with a
Pan-Am jet and a middle-aged Orson Wells walking through an airport
puffing a cigar), but many of the trends it identified are still
relevant: today's policymakers, business leaders, and citizens face
a new wave of technology-related angst. Artificial intelligence,
automation, and viral disinformation are leaving people alienated,
disrupting traditional institutions, and raising concerns about the
future of democracy.
What lessons can this 50-year-old book offer? Here are two ways to
look at it - one positive, and one slightly more pessimistic:
The world (and democracy) survived the "future shock" of the 1970s –
it will do so again. While the Tofflers may have put their finger on
an important trend, the world didn't fall apart after 1970. Future
Shock also arguably put too much stock in the idea of accelerating
change as the culprit behind the "malaise, mass neurosis,
irrationality and free-floating violence" of its time and too little
stock in society's ability to adapt to technological disruption.
People, governments and other important institutions adapted to the
technological changes of a previous era, and they can do it again.
In another 50 years, social scientists may look back on today's big
sources of tech-driven angst and see either overblown worries or
other factors besides technology as the main drivers of disruptive
trends. In other words, don't underestimate the power of human
beings to change. We've been doing it for a long time.
Future Shock was before its time: It wasn't technological change
itself that the Tofflers were worried about. It was the accelerating pace of
change. The world we live in today is scarcely recognizable from
1970, and not just because you can no longer smoke in the airport.
The information overload wrought by the internet and smartphone
revolution will only increase as technologies like artificial
intelligence and ultra-fast 5G networks lead to an exponential
increase in the amount of data that people, governments, and
criminals can access. As another futurist, the novelist William
Gibson might say, the Future Shock is here, it just isn't evenly
Readers, which of these interpretations do you think is correct? Let
us know here.
Change Will Continue
The 2010s saw collective transformation of how we work, live and
learn. We begin the 2020s with 25 times as much digital data
on the planet as when the past decade began. Change of this
magnitude is never easy. It's why we live in both an era of
opportunity and an age of anxiety. The indirect impacts of
technology are moving some people and communities forward
while leaving others behind. The populism and nationalism of
our time have their roots in the enormous global and
societal changes that technology has unleashed. And the
rising economic power of large companies – perhaps
especially those that are both tech platforms and content
aggregators – has brought renewed focus to antitrust laws.
This is the backdrop for the top ten technology issues of
the 2020s. Read