In my forecasting of what life will be like in 2050 I envision a lot more adult children living in their parent's basements spending lots of time on video games. This will be happening because of the resonance of several trends: increasing prosperity, increasing entitlements, and increasing automation which will be decreasing the amount of "meaningful work" done by humans. It appears that this trend is already in progress.
This 21 Dec 16 WSJ article, Percentage of Young Americans Living With Parents Rises to 75-Year High Household formations by millennials lag behind other economic recoveries; high rents, mortgage standards cited by Chris Kirkham, describes this trend of more young Americans living with their parents happening right now, in the 2010's.
From the article, "Almost 40% of young Americans were living with their parents, siblings or other relatives in 2015, the largest percentage since 1940, according to an analysis of census data by real estate tracker Trulia."
The article focuses on how this trend is affecting housing sales, but the trend is going to have much wider effects. It is going to have lots of social effects which relate to the Sacred Masculine (my term) -- the tendency for adult males to become loners if there are no compelling reasons for them to stay social.
This is something that needs to be watched, and social programs need to be tweaked with this Sacred Masculine concept being kept in mind. (read more on this in my Visions of 2050 book)
The fighting in Syria started as a rebellion against Bashar al-Assad, the successor son of a popular autocrat. If he had followed historical pattern he would have been ousted about two years after he took over, and that is when the Syrian rebellion did start in 2012.
But ever since then the succession pattern has not been followed. Assad managed to hang on, and the rebellion transformed from a quick succession fight into a long-running proxy war that became the bloodletting war (my term) for the Arab Spring unrest.
Ouch! Proxy wars and bloodletters are never fun. Both are filled with lots of extra violence and frustration compared to conflicts that stay localized.
It is now four years later. Is it time for the world to move on? Is it time for a peace of exhaustion to come to Syria?
It may be, but here are some possibilities that may keep the violence and frustration humming:
o Turkey is in the throes of experiencing its own social revolution that began with a failed coup attempt this summer. If this social revolution gets frustrating and violent then it can evolve into supporting a bloodletting war, and an obvious choice is extending the Syrian conflict. The Turkish Revolution can replace the Arab Spring as the source supporting continuing the violence.
o The proxies that kept the Syrian conflict going for the last four years don't seem to have changed much in their social, political or economic standings. If there has been no change, will they be willing to keep this proxy fight going?
o These days this part of the Mid East has a pattern of supporting long wars -- the Lebanon Civil War and the Iran Iraq War being previous examples.
The fighting in Syria may wind down soon -- soon meaning some time in 2017 -- but there is a really good chance that it won't.
This thought was inspired by this 9 Dec 16 Economist article, The fall of Aleppo to Bashar al-Assad’s soldiers seems imminent, about the coming fall of Aleppo to government forces.
Update: Perhaps there has been change after all. This 10 Dec 16 Economist article, After a year of boldness, Saudi Arabia is in retreat The kingdom has experienced diplomatic reverses on all fronts, talks about Saudi Arabia changing its tune.
From the article, "But at the end of the year the kingdom finds itself in retreat on all fronts. Its ambassador has pulled out of Iraq, fleeing a torrent of abuse from Shia politicians who look towards Iran. Pounded by Iranian, Russian and Syrian government forces, the rebels in Aleppo are on the verge of defeat. The Saudis have bowed to Iran’s preference for Lebanon’s president. And at an OPEC meeting on November 30th, they agreed to shoulder the largest share of a production cut in a bid to restore prices, while letting Iran raise its production to pre-sanctions levels."
Another update: This 19 Dec 16 Economist article, The murder of Russia’s ambassador in Turkey puts the two nations on edge, talks about the Russian ambassador to Turkey getting assassinated by an off-duty Turkish cop who was unhappy about Russian war crimes in Syria. This indicates there is lots of unhappiness in Turkey with Russia. It could unfold into supporting more bloodletting war violence of some sort.
How times have changed. Just ten years ago social media was an exotic fringe activity. Now it is the center of mainstream in the media world. And, to paraphrase, "With great growth comes great responsibility."
This 6 Dec 16 WSJ article, U.S. Tech Firms to Join Forces on Takedown of Terror Content YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft to use database to speed up the removal of terror content by Natalia Drozdiak, describes a formal expression of that responsibility.
From the article, "BRUSSELS— Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Microsoft Inc. on Monday announced they would form a shared database of identifiers of online terror images and videos in a bid to speed up the takedown of content that has helped terror cells recruit followers and spread radical ideas on the Web.
“There is no place for content that promotes terrorism on our hosted consumer services,” Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter and YouTube said in a joint statement. “We hope this collaboration will lead to greater efficiency as we continue to enforce our policies.”"
This is quite a transformation to take place in just a decade. A transformation from being a bastion of free geeky-style speech into a mainstream media platform that is now fully subject to The Curse of Being Important. We live in fast-moving times... in some social areas. I just wish overall material productivity was growing as fast as social media is.
The Dakota Access pipeline project has been blocked by the US Army Corps of Engineers. This is a protest movement that got high profile on social media before it got high profile on mainstream media.
There has been a lot of cheering on social media, but, sadly, I see this as a contemporary example of goat sacrificing -- as in, people are putting their efforts behind a cause that instinctive thinking supports, not level-headed analytical thinking.
The analytic thinking is that this is a pipeline being laid across the wilds of North Dakota and it is going to help lower the cost and increase the reliability of oil and natural gas supplies to Midwest America. This will help the Midwest boom again. This boom means more prosperity, jobs and living wages to humans who are alive today.
The instinctive thinking is that it is disturbing the graves of Native American ancestors buried in these wilds more than a century ago. Yes, this is nice honoring of ancestors. But this honoring is being done at the expense of helping humans who are alive today -- humans who can sure use the help. This is what makes it goat sacrificing.
Even more sadly, this is the second oil pipeline to be cancelled in this region during this decade, the earlier one being a phase of the Keystone pipeline system. This protesting pipelines in North Dakota is becoming a goat sacrificing ritual for environmentally sensitive protesting Americans of the 2010's decade. Wow! Who would have predicted that ten years earlier? Another of the mid-2010's surprises.
This 6 Dec 16 WSJ editorial, What the Dakota Access Pipeline Is Really About The standoff isn’t about tribal rights or water, but a White House that ignores the rule of law. by Kevin Cramer, gives a more analytic thiking view of this event. It gives a list of misunderstandings that social media views don't take into account.
From the article, "Like many North Dakotans, I’ve had to endure preaching about the pipeline from the press, environmental activists, musicians and politicians in other states. More often than not, these sermons are informed by little more than a Facebook post. At the risk of spoiling the protesters’ narrative, I’d like to bring us back to ground truth."
-- The End --