Looking at the broad perspective

Each year, the Trends Research Institute in Rhinebeck, N.Y. picks the 10 areas out of 300 in which it sees the biggest global changes in social, economic, and political structures.
This year they are:
•The Energy Revolution
•New Millennium Religion
•New Millennium Family
•Whole Health Planning
•WWWMD-1
•Renaissance 2000
•Virtual Education
•Cold War II
•The New Politics
•The Home
I explored most of them in previous columns. Here are the rest.
•WWWMD-1
First, the bad news: there will be global wars. At least one World War of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WWWMD) will pit mighty superpowers against determined groups of new millennium warriors.
We call those terrorists.
Technology exists now for making suitcase-sized arms. Black markets sell materials for mass destruction weapons. Despite treaties, persuasion, and condemnation, these weapons will be used.
Current examples are Yugoslavia, Chechnya, several African nations, and the Philippines.
The most likely future war theatres are Russia, the Middle East, and China. Given the size of those populations, we cannot assume that won’t affect us drastically.
Now the better and good news.
•Whole Health Planning
The Trends Research Institute people believe governments will not provide security through human services. Wages and benefits will keep shrinking. Illness care quality levels will not return to those of the past.
The 25-30 percent “leading edgers” will take charge of their own health. Their “Whole Health Planning” includes fitness, nutrition, pro-active disease prevention, alternative treatments, stress management, self-discipline, and self-reliance.
New enterprises will spring up, such as longevity centres where programs blend financial, emotional, spiritual, and physical health practices.
But what will happen to care of the sick? That needs special attention!
•Renaissance 2000
The end of the Industrial Age will be seen as a time when economic needs were put before human needs, materialism before spirituality, and technological development before personal development.
The new era will be one of rich intellectual, philosophical, and scientific achievement. It will be a period of genius, a time of great leaps in every aspect of human endeavour.
Creativity and new art forms will be rampant–if the WWWMD doesn’t get us first!
•The New Politics
In the U.S., voter turnouts will decline to under 30 percent. People are disgusted with the lack of choice in a two-party system, and they despair of “bought-and-paid-for politicians” in office.
Baby-boomers and their offspring will be together on the same social and political platform. Their issues and ideals will blend together–a first in history for successive generations.
Their missions will be to throw out corrupt officials and return power to the people, with the help of the Internet.
The Trends Research Institute only discusses the U.S. under this topic but Canada probably will parallel that experience. Third World countries will go through more upheavals in quest of getting the economic benefits we enjoy.
But trend is not destiny. The more we understand, the broader our perspective on what is happening, and the better we can steer in positive directions.

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