Counterculture begets culture. This is how history has always taken shape; in our new (semi) post-pandemic world, we have experienced such a jolt in our once normalized lifestyles and this newfound uncertainty is making us look back to move forward. Marian Salzman’s new book, The New Megatrends: Seeing Clearly in the Age of Disruption, brings relief to the confusion and chaos that concerned citizens, opinion leaders and business decision makers have faced about the current state of the world. Salzman, SVP of Global Communication at Philip Morris International, has been a Global Trendspotter for over four decades. Using her experience in spotting trends, Salzman focuses specifically on the periods between Y2K (the year 2000) and what she establishes as Y2K38 (the year 2038)”[starting] peering into the past to perceive how it has flowed into the present, blending the roles of cultural historian and futurist” (Salzman XV). His intuitive yet data-driven expertise lends itself to thoughtfully articulating some of the major seismic trends we will see over the next two decades.
Covid has set the tone for the “great reset” of the global cultural, political, technological and social movement. When health is truly wealth and all we have is each other and ourselves, a minimalist approach to life shook and lifted the veiled facade of many of our complex and complex daily routines and values. previous. What once seemed necessary, like office spaces and extended twelve-hour workdays, turned out to be in vain when the pressure came in the age of the pandemic. The new megatrends identified by Salzman ultimately call forth the radical new world of humanity. Pushing through the white noise of information overload and hyper-fast-paced lifestyles, we must turn inward to find a calmer, safer future filled with literal and figurative breathing and authenticity.
Will climate change have an impact where you live?
Climate change “overshadows all aspects of our lives”, meaning that humanity will prepare for habitation through the lens of sustainability and environmentalism. (Salzman 33) Extreme weather, from droughts in Asia and Africa to the wildfire season now commonplace in California, forces the common consumer to “[begin] change their habits” (Salzman 40) and “become ‘more environmentally friendly’” (Salzman 42). This paradigm shift plans to “inject a sense of control into a world that seems to be permanently on the edge of chaos”. (Salzman 44) People will begin to migrate and live in places with clean water and air, as a spotless environment will become the upper echelon of luxury living.
Why Tribalism May Be the Leading Cause of Misinformation
Bunker mentality and peaceful coexistence as Covid PTSD means the rise of tribalism in our social groups. “The pandemic has given people around the world a collective experience, a sense of unity unfamiliar in the digital age.” (Salzman 96) This may lead to an increase in misinformation and fake news, but we will continue our internet benevolence mission to form like-minded communities as a way to connect.
Will the Big Resign kill the 5-day work week?
Boundaries dissolve and reform in new ways, including how we think about work-life balance and physical office spaces. “Many cultural boundaries related to gender and social status continue to melt away, new boundaries emerge – and some are defined by the people once classified as victims.” (Salzman 105) Previously marginalized people are rising up to speak out against misogyny, cultural appropriation, workplace abuse, and demanding the limits and limits of what is socially acceptable.
Will the future be truly inclusive?
The fight for equality continues as we work towards a more inclusive future. “The inequity is no longer so easy to hide and is growing exponentially, with little indication that the pattern will change.” (Salzman 140) Even harder to ignore during the Covid shutdowns, disparities in privilege through health care, household income, race and general injustices have been exposed. The world responds by adopting the “notion of a universal basic income [becoming] less and less radical” and with a “mitigation of excesses”. (Salzman 153) Identity is a spectrum, with “people increasingly reluctant to squeeze into the societal boxes prescribed by others”. (Salzman 157)
Can education survive another pandemic?
Education, including the crucial moments of childhood development and socialization, helps to engender a thoughtful individual, but has been profoundly affected by the pandemic. Now ourselves is the key. The rise of selfie culture “encompasses a cultural tendency toward self-totality: self-absorption, self-promotion, even self-loathing.” (Salzman 197) We organize our lives on social media and broadcast on a democratized internet where everyone has a chance to be the next TikTok star. Although the global web intends to bridge the gap between us all and is instrumental in distance education, our individualized algorithms end up isolating our hyper-targeted interests. Our online lives are no longer an alternative to reality but an integral part of it; by 2038, there are bound to be thought- and mind-driven technologies suitable for everyone. We are already seeing this through personalized streams and virtual reality. The trick for humanity is to ensure that while we are self-centered, we work to effectively unite instead of divide us.
Essential reading for any reader worried but excited about our near future, Salzman identifies the exact themes to identify by 2038 for all critical thinkers and business leaders. You can find The new megatrends available now to devour and write notes at your own pace on Amazon here.