”A lot of people today are deferring their future to a very limited number of leaders – political leaders and powerful tech company leaders. That’s a tragedy.”
”There is a sense of ’postalgia’: a hankering for the present: ’This is as good as it gets. The future will be worse.’ This is a paralyzing mindset. It can spiral into nihilism”, says the Johannesburg based futurist, trend analyst and economist Bronwyn Williams.
She challenges the doom and gloom and points to doors that can lead to a bright future.
There is more hope and energy in some of the younger economies, with much larger youth bulges, than in the West.
”There is a lot to learn from younger countries about having more optimism about the future.”
One of the reasons behind the widespread gloom is the unequal distribution of the benefits of globalization.
The distribution of wealth is tightly tied to the systems of money and nation states, which we are so used to we hardly ever question them, but which are not nature-given.
”Money is propped up by faith and by force. We have to believe in it for it to work. Money itself does not have any intrinsic value. We have value. Our time has value. Our labor has value. And the real natural resources.”
”We need more equitable money, not money that makes some countries richer at the expense of others.”
Cryptocurrencies are only backed by faith, not by force and the nation states. They are an interesting alternative, says Williams. But not necessarily the solution.
The catch is how to arrange for social welfare in a borderless space. One idea floating right now is called open basic income.
There are also trials with digital citizenship out there.
In the future perhaps we can base citizenship not on our place of birth but rather on our values, reasons Williams.
”Some want more security and more rules, some want more freedom and less rules. Maybe we can group those people in a way that's fair?”
She gives two examples: the democracy movement in Hong Kong and the polarization after the US election.
”How to take the ethos of Hong Kong’s freedom movement somewhere else even if the territory has to cede to mainland China? And what if there was a way to let both sides get what they want after the US election? Subscribe to either a left wing or a right wing agenda? Pay one’s taxes to either?”