The Weekender – 6PR Radio – Where is Australia headed between now and 2050?

1970 was 40 years ago.

Yeah I know that’s obvious, but for many it seems like only yesterday and 40 years from now we will be sitting in the year 2050 thinking back to 2010 and trying to convince ourselves that 2010 was the good old days we all yearn for.

We will believe that :
2010’s property prices were cheap.
2010’s family values were traditional and exemplary.
2010’s communication tools were rudimentary and simple.
2010’s education system was better equipped to upskill our children for what lies ahead.

What a load of nostalgic twaddle.

The next 40 years are going to both evolutionary and revolutionary.

The discussion this week on my 6PR radio segment with Brendon was about how the Australian Government sees the next 40 years.

In their recently released Intergenerational report, the Government tells us our population will increase to 35.9 million an increase of over 50% (as of today our population is 22,144,950), as high as this seems I’m betting we’re going to be closer to 39 million.

They rightly claim that at the moment (2010) we have 5 people working to support every Australian over 65 years of age and in 2050 we may have 2.7 people working to support every 1 person over 65 years of age.

Our ageing population means that we will have double the number of 65 – 84 year olds we have now and quadruple the number of people we have now that are older than 85.

Our population growth will slow down to annual rate of 1.2%, slightly less than the 1.4 we have had for the last 40 years.

We will have climate change issues and water issues to contend with that are vastly different from today’s

To this I add just a few basic assumptions:

Our technology will also have advanced, medical breakthroughs will have found work arounds and cures for many of today’s common ailments and killers, but we will have discovered a new range of illnesses related to our longevity and changing environmental issues.

Our work will be different with many of us in careers and jobs we can not fathom today, working very differently, using the entire globe as our backyard and remaining in work well into our 70’s.

The world over the next 40 years will in many ways be vastly different and incomparable to today, I still maintain that in the next decade will we progress 100 years and in the next 40 some 500 years in technology, but in many ways we will be the same, a humanity working to “better understand” our relevance and purpose and playing with a whole new set of toys to do it with.

Our challenge then for the next 40 years is how best can we use the small insight we have of what lies ahead to achieve our ambitions and create our own exquisite future.

Listen in as Brendon and I chat our way through this discussion and try and figure out what it all means, how it will actually effect us and who and how are we going to pay for it all. Recorded live 7th February 2010.

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