From COVID-19 impacts to changes in thinking, the ‘20s predictions are here
It’s 2021. For the next hundred years, people will refer to these years as “the ‘20s”. I, Beck Westrem, have predictions for the ‘20s based on recent trends and speculation. If the past year has left you on your heels, read on.
Environmentalism has reached a record-high level of hype, and businesses are finding ways to profit from it every day. Whether it’s a new product entirely or a “sustainable” upgrade to an old one, sustainability is the ironic holy grail for consumerism. And, it’s unlikely to stop as the government begins to provide incentives for everything related to renewable energy.
Apart from sustainability, marijuana and online gambling industries will also expand as they become universally legalized.
In the same way that other generations are shaped by the events they grow up around, COVID will have lasting effects especially on Gen Z. Because of the extremely elevated stress and uncertainty in all aspects of peoples’ lives, Gen Z will become more wary, conservative and reactionary in their behavior (not politics, necessarily).
No more 9-5
Most sane people are eagerly anticipating getting back to life as it was pre-COVID. Yet, some people will find it hard to part ways with the convenience of working from home. In fact, 89% of workers want to work remotely at least part of the time, according to a study of over 200,000 people around the globe by Boston Consulting Group. And yeah, that number includes people working in manual labor and manufacturing. Just expect the uniform work week to vary much more across industries, and maybe a much milder rush hour?
When more work can be done remotely (probably not the manual laborers), the commute to work will become less important. Additionally, people have lived without pretty much everything that makes big cities nice to live, from live shows to restaurants, for over a year now. Families and young professionals will begin moving out of metropolitan areas to smaller cities and suburbs. However, people will still carry urban aspects to these smaller cities and towns as they grow, and suburbs will become more independent and self-sufficient from their nearby cities.
As COVID-19 forced schools around the world to close their doors, many small colleges in the US won’t open them again. Mostly community colleges and liberal arts colleges, their small endowments were insufficient to survive off of through the pandemic. However, some large universities have been buying these schools. This might mean that the opportunities offered by community colleges and trade schools, such as two-year degrees and vocational degrees, will soon be available at large state schools.
Another factor that is likely to change in the coming years for colleges, which has been especially prominent this year, is admission. While admission will probably never be as selective as it was for the class of 2025 across the board, colleges will still want to keep their acceptance rates down as a symbol of prestige. However, applicant numbers in the US are expected to decrease by 15% from 2025-2029. Expect schools to compensate for this deficit by recruiting more international students to apply, and as a result have a larger proportion of foreign students in the student body.
Big tech, which has sat comfortably in a gray-area of regulations, has managed to mostly avoid regulations. But as the phones that follow us around all day are more and more ingrained in our lives, privacy issues become a serious issue, and one that will become addressed with concrete policy and enforcement. Widespread coverage of this will also increase demand for things like data-security services and VPNs.
With the spotlight on police brutality after the killing of George Floyd, the police force in general has received much warranted criticism, but some who haven’t caused any harm have felt collateral damage. The recent unpopularity of the profession, coupled with the risks and small compensation, will cause this job to run thin on bodies.
Kids and adults alike are far more active today than ever before. The sports they’re playing, though, are showing signs of change. In the last decade or so, baseball has declined in both youth participation and general viewership due to multiple factors, such as the slow pace of game in a world with diminishing attention spans and too many strikeouts. Other, more global sports are taking its place in the US. Lately, Soccer has seen a massive spike in US participation, but American culture hasn’t quite adjusted for it yet, which will start to happen over the next few years. Cricket and football will continue to expand around the globe.
I wouldn’t put anything on paper that I’m not confident in. However, as Nobel Prize-winning physicist Niels Bohr put it, “Prediction is very difficult.” Regardless, if any part of this comprehensive analysis has inspired you to start a business, my Venmo is open for compensation.