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24 March 2012
Megachange ~ Economist on The World in 2050
The Economist has just published Megachange: The World in 2050. First, their own internal correspondents and editors discuss such prognostication, asserting It's not all gloom and doom. Next, the BBC's Nick Higham meets the Economist's Executive Editor, Daniel Franklin. Then, here's Franklin's own words...
"In 2050 there will be 9.3 billion people alive -- compared with 7 billion today -- and the number will still be rising. The population aged over sixty-five will have more than doubled, to more than 16 per cent; China's GDP will be 80 per cent more than America's; and the number of cars on India's roads will have increased by 3,880 per cent. And, in 2050 it should be clear whether we are alone in the universe."
Finally, the Guardian's review by Will Self is a scathing knock-down:
"A free-market, Panglossian set of prophecies fails to impress [...] workaday familiarity with the imperfections of futurology that makes [editor] Franklin so keen to distance himself from any great likelihood of being right. [...] instead of a steely-eyed look ahead, Megachange offers us a straightforward survey of the world as it is today, together with a lot of future hedging. Thus the text is bedizened with these qualifiers: "it may well be", "probably", "possibly" and indeed "likely" appear so often that the casual reader might well be lulled into thinking these Economist stalwarts are genuinely sceptical about their claims -- but don't be fooled. Franklin sets out their stall thus: "there is every chance that the world in 2050 will be richer, healthier, more connected, more sustainable, more productive, more innovative, better educated, with less inequality between rich and poor and between men and women, and with more opportunity for billions of people." [...] if you want to know what the world might actually be like in 2050 you'd do better to browse in the science fiction and fantasy section of your local online retailer, which is where Megachange properly belongs."
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