The World and the rest of your life if you are an adult now

How will the world change for the rest of your life if you are an adult now?

Here we consider super-technology, debt, growth, jobs and living the next 45 years.

We will likely remain in a ramping up phase for the next 15 years. The exact timing will vary by country, industry and major breakthroughs or breakdowns.

If you are around 50 then the challenges of reaching a financial position for a good retirement will remain the same.

Every 6 to 11 years there has been a recession in the USA. There will be one to three recessions before retirement.

World Jobs Now

The global unemployment rate has been stabilizing after a rise in 2016. It is about 5.6% in 2017. The total number of unemployed exceeding 192 million persons.

Certain African and middle eastern countries have unemployment in the 15-25% range and few have 26-50% unemployment.

Europe has Greece and some other countries have 12% to 20% unemployment. Overall the EU has 6.8% unemployment.

Debt and interest

Interest rates in the US are returning to 4% levels. After the Great Recession, interest rates were at about zero for many years.

US interest payments on over $20 trillion in debt will reach $1 trillion per year. This will be out of a total of about $5 trillion in federal revenue.

Increasing debt will make it difficult to provide more money for medical and social benefit programs.

Government Programs were slow to establish and will be slow to change

Establishing social security and corporate pensions took decades.

Four important demographic changes started in America from the mid-1880s through the 1930s that made the traditional systems of economic security increasingly unworkable:

– The Industrial Revolution
– The urbanization of America
– The disappearance of the “extended” family
– A marked increase in life expectancy

Although Social Security was passed in 1935. It took a long time to scale up.

The number of Social Security beneficiaries grew from about 222,000 at the end of 1940 to over 3 million in 1949. Average monthly benefits grew only slightly from $22.60 for a retired worker in 1940 to $26 at the end of the decade. This was less than the rate of inflation. By 1960, the old-age, survivors, and disability insurance (OASDI) programs were essentially in place as we know them today. Coverage under the program had been made nearly universal. Virtually all people reaching retirement age in the decades to come would be able to establish benefit eligibility.

Even if universal basic income came into existence it would be minimal. Debt foregiveness might happen. It would be foolish to count on some form of government rescue for your personal situation.

The smarter move is to limit the amount of debt. Limit or avoid student loans for yourself or your children. Avoid other forms of debt. Get income generating assets.

Robots, self driving cars, giant 3D printing

Global sales of industrial robots reached the new record of 387,000 units in 2017. That is an increase of 31 percent compared to the previous year (2016: 294,300 units). China saw the largest growth in demand for industrial robots, up 58%. There will be about 630,000 industrial robots installed by 2021. The number of installed robots will nearly double from 2 million in 2017 to 4 million by 2021.

South Korea has over 6 robots per 100 workers. China robot density rate rose from 25 units in 2013 to 68 units in 2016. China targets 1.5 robots per 100 workers in 2020. By 2020, China is expected to produce 150,000 industrial robot units and have 950,300 industrial robots in operation. China has about 60 million manufacturing workers. China is installing double the number of robots it produces. China is buying foreign robots. Nearly 300,000 robots will be added in China by 2020. Over a million robots could be added by 2025. China could have 5 million robots by 2025. This would be near the current South Korean level of Robots. South Korea will reach 10 robots per 100 workers by 2025.

AI and robotics and factory breakthroughs could increase the robots per workers to 15 to 30 per 100 in the 2030-2035 timeframe. The number of human workers will decline as automation displaces them. The 2040-2050 timeframe could see 40-100 robots per human worker. Beyond 2050, the predominant situation would be more robots than human workers. 2 robots per human and even 20 robots per human.

Radical life extension and curing of disease is likely

Significant life extension and medical advancement seems likely. Genetic engineering of adults will be as simple as injecting gene altering materials.

Staying Useful and valuable

Plan on remaining involved in whatever the transformed production and value adding efforts are.

Acquire and maintain expertise in a useful area.

Gain a good reputation with others. Ideally with those with wealth, power and influence.

Gain greater power and influence for yourself.

Gain wealth and income that is diversified. Future diversification means major shift with AI or technology or jobs or companies or industries will not take out all of your wealth and income.

Another strategy would be to become debt free while owning an acceptable house and income generating asset as soon as possible. This would where you could transition to a jobless mode without major difficulty.

There are effective debt reduction methods and overall plans to get rid of all debts.

76 thoughts on “The World and the rest of your life if you are an adult now”

  1. Ya, on first episode of season 3, Rick and Morty, Rick changed the value of that coin from 1 to 0, thereby destroying the alien civilization (that was occupying the Earth at the time) through the power of total economic meltdown.

    Reply
  2. No, you get inflation when there is more nominal value in money than there is value in the economy. Because you have no idea what inflation is, you never had an argument to start with.

    Reply
  3. It was a response to Mass, just below. No idea how it ended up up here.

    Sadly, it’s from the fantasies of supposedly serious people. Do a search for “trillion dollar coin”.

    Our previous President was seriously considering doing it:

    “There were all kinds of wacky ideas about how potentially you could have this massive coin – I mean it was like some primitive, some, you know it was like out of the Stone Age or something. And I pictured rolling some coin – for those who are listening it gets pretty technical, but there was this theory that I had the authority to just issue through the mint – I could just issue this massive, trillion-dollar coin – a commemorative coin – and then on that basis we could try to pay off U.S. Treasuries.”

    Some people have this weird idea that printing your own money means you can never run out of money. They’d be less dangerous if they weren’t running the government.

    Reply
  4. You get inflation when the productive capacity cannot meet demand. You have not established that federal U.S. federal spending does this. For this reason, your argument fails.

    Reply
  5. That last we can agree on. It will be a societal transformation, the nature of which we can’t fully anticipate in advance.

    Reply
  6. Yes there will be a few things that won’t be free (or very close to free). Beach-front property perhaps. Though I can envision a town deciding to create a scenic lake and then using 1000 robots (or 10,000 or 100,000…their marginal cost will be almost zero) to complete the project in a month, complete with luxurious villas for every resident. When labor becomes too cheap to meter, the world will be transformed into something we won’t recognize.

    Reply
  7. I certainly hope it’s in the next 10-15 years, as I’ve got a good chance of living that much longer.

    Five years? No freaking way, unless somebody has been developing something in secret for years.

    “There will be no more money. Everything will cost as much as a free tooth pick.
    In my book that’s called utopia.”

    Hey, you know what “utopia” means, literally? “Nowhere”. So, we’re in agreement.

    Even in a world of Drexlerian nanotechnology, desktop replicators, and so many solar power satellites they darken the sky, everything will not be “free”, because there will still be scarce resources, and thus need for a system to allocate them.

    You can’t give every beach bum a super-yacht, unless maybe you want to be able to walk across the Pacific without getting your feet wet. You can’t let everybody have access to unlimited energy, unless you want the urban heat island effect to raise the temperature in cities 50 degrees, with hurricane force updrafts. (Read an SF novel where that happened.)

    There are physical and resource limits regardless of your production technology. And so the need to ration, and so the need for money.

    And that’s without even mentioning that the people who invent the replicator, just possibly, might not give it away for free…

    Reply
  8. The baby boomer generation is quite large. We should see some easing on the social programs as they die. This will also open up a lot of positions and jobs that they are holding on to.

    Reply
  9. “Increasing debt will make it difficult to provide more money for medical and social benefit programs.” Wrong. The U.S. federal gov’t is monetarily sovereign, which means it can never run out of money to pay for things, since it is the source of money. Learn MMT.

    Reply
  10. Hi Ronald,
    if it is going to become a post-scarcity society, I hope it is fast. The slow transition is the nightmare. Say there are some kinds of AI intelligence bottlenecks we don’t foresee that don’t make post-scarcity impossible, but drag it out. Imagine a quarter or half of the workforce unemployed. The Great Depression saw unemployment hit 25% and that resulted in soup kitchen queues and Hooverville! It starts soon, with drivers unemployed, and possibly longer-term *unemployable!* What we really need is the remaining workers to be so productive the government can guarantee a UBI that offers a quality of life for the unemployables. Imagine the UBI starts off at $20k a year. What would people do? Shack up together with a few families living together in shared homes? How could they combine their incomes in alternative shared home arrangements? But eventually the UBI would rise until everyone was pretty much on $100k or more, and as the robot-industrial-ecosystem took over production, people would be free to invest their time in whatever research or hobbies or communities grabbed their interest. The top 1% of the smartest of us might research with the AI of the future out of sheer boredom and solve the challenges and questions of tomorrow. Me? I would campaign for my local town to volunteer to architecturally transition to look like all the best towns and castles from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings — while also commanding an army of drones to kill pests on the Great Barrier Reef and rid Australia of feral animals. But that’s my thing. What’s your way to spend maybe the equivalent of $300k a year for the next 1000 years — especially when everyone you know is on the same human pocket-money allowance? 😉

    Reply
  11. I take focusing on such a typo to be an admission my point was made and correct.

    The fixes insisted on by environmentalists for what they claim is AGW, will kill hundreds of millions if they have their way.

    Reply
  12. Neither of those countries has an economically diverse economy that can absorb an injection of government spending, whereas countries like the U.S. do. It’s all about balancing government spending against demand and growth. Taxation can be used to slow growth and spending. It serves as a counterbalance to government spending.

    Reply
  13. Wrong. If that were the case, then there would be no money in circulation in the first place. Also, a quick read of the constitution establishes that the Treasury has the sole authority to coin money. The U.S. government does not need to tax or sell bonds to have money since it can create it with a keystroke. If you went to the IRS to pay your taxes in cash, they would just shred the money, because they don’t need your money to be able to pay for things. Moreover, taxes serve the purpose of ‘destroying’ money, since it takes money out of the economy.

    Reply
  14. “Plan on remaining involved in whatever the transformed production and value adding efforts are.”

    This will work for some people, it can’t work for everyone especially as, at some point, you may have to be a rock start to stay in the work force. On the other hand, if you are reading this website of your own free will, you probably have more on the ball than most people.

    “Acquire and maintain expertise in a useful area.”

    Good luck figuring out where this will be, but yeah, do try. Oddly enough, the politicians and lawyers (and an awful lot of the politicians are lawyers) may be the last ones standing. So much for “in a useful area.”

    “Gain a good reputation with others. Ideally with those with wealth, power and influence.”

    Try not to confuse this with brownnosing.

    “Gain greater power and influence for yourself.”

    “Power is not a means, it is an end.” — George Orwell
    But on the other hand, there are darn few of us that turn away when it may be gained.

    “Gain wealth and income that is diversified. Future diversification means major shift with AI or technology or jobs or companies or industries will not take out all of your wealth and income.”

    Or, you know, invest a fair amount in AI itself. Lots of room for diversification, even within AI.

    “Another strategy would be to become debt free while owning an acceptable house and income generating asset as soon as possible. This would where you could transition to a jobless mode without major difficulty.”

    Get it while the getting is good. Check.

    “There are effective debt reduction methods and overall plans to get rid of all debts.” True, whether you’ve done that or not, the most important one whether you still have debt or not, is “Live below your means.”

    Reply
  15. I’m not sure about your replicator comment though. Cell phones were once considered miracles of technology that indicated status and were only possessed by the wealthy. Now 90% of adults worldwide own them, and the even the most basic models can do things that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. 3D printing, digital photography, internet access are all dropping in price while advancing in quality and becoming more widespread.

    Reply
  16. Because they’re teaching that in the schools now, and not teaching critical thinking skills that might result in students questioning the rest of what’s being taught.

    Reply
  17. In the tail end of a hyperinflation, when all the other employees of the Mint have gone begging for food because their morning pay won’t cover the cost of a meal by evening, the heroic Secretary of the Treasury is walking down the deserted streets of Washington. Acting with steelly resolve, he reaches down, and snags one of the billion dollar bills blowing down the street.

    He runs some quick numbers in his head, and scribbles 5 additional zeros on the bill, to get ahead of the trend, and signs it. Crisis averted, the nation is now flush!

    Is that how you picture it going down?

    Reply
  18. “The U.S. federal gov’t is monetarily sovereign, which means it can never run out of money to pay for things, since it is the source of money.”

    Stop thinking of numbers on a screen and think of what money means. Money is just shorthand for “resources and labour”. If there is more demand and less supply of resources and labour, then there is less to go around. What the numbers in the bank accounts do is not going to help that.

    The government can give everyone a billion dollars, but that doesn’t increase the amount of cars or food or healthcare. That is determined by how many people are working and how productive they are, compared to how many people want to use cars or food or healthcare.

    Reply
  19. The source of the money is the U.S. tax payer. Money is borrowed from others and paid back with taxes, or taxed directly from the the tax payer. Both modes of debt lower overall productivity of the U.S. In essence, you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Or slowly choke it. Europe has much lower wealth per capita than the U.S. due to social programs. They gave up a chance to get ahead for implied safety nets. That has led to higher unemployment and slow growth. Taxes and debt are a downward spiraling trap.

    Reply
  20. It’s a wonderful thing your abject stupidity and thirst for the death if hundreds of millions is being continually denied.

    Among other things by reality.

    Reply
  21. Wow, get rid of the pessimism and get your head out of the sand. If you can live anouther 5 to 10 years you won’t die of old age. Death will be optional for you.

    Richard Parfett, when we increase your IQ by 500% in the near future you personally will be able to solve both the problems of climate change and extinction will be a thing of the past.

    Fred D, what scientific study led you to believe we will be gone in 5 years barring some unforeseen natural disaster?

    Shigg you are absolutely right, but thinking further ahead what will be consequences of all work being done by robots? (Since money is a barter system my time for your time) There will be no more money. Everything will cost as much as a free tooth pick.
    In my book that’s called utopia.

    Reply
  22. Nothing here about the impact of climate change and species extinction. If those continue unabated, you can kiss all this goodbye by 2050.

    Reply
  23. I think economists have told themselves that AI will create more jobs than it displaces enough times where they actually believe it. Ad Naseum.

    Reply
  24. Ya, on first episode of season 3, Rick and Morty, Rick changed the value of that coin from 1 to 0, thereby destroying the alien civilization (that was occupying the Earth at the time) through the power of total economic meltdown.

    Reply
  25. I take focusing on such a typo to be an admission my point was made and correct.

    The fixes insisted on by environmentalists for what they claim is AGW, will kill hundreds of millions if they have their way.

    Reply
  26. No, you get inflation when there is more nominal value in money than there is value in the economy. Because you have no idea what inflation is, you never had an argument to start with.

    Reply
  27. It was a response to Mass, just below. No idea how it ended up up here.

    Sadly, it’s from the fantasies of supposedly serious people. Do a search for “trillion dollar coin”.

    Our previous President was seriously considering doing it:

    “There were all kinds of wacky ideas about how potentially you could have this massive coin – I mean it was like some primitive, some, you know it was like out of the Stone Age or something. And I pictured rolling some coin – for those who are listening it gets pretty technical, but there was this theory that I had the authority to just issue through the mint – I could just issue this massive, trillion-dollar coin – a commemorative coin – and then on that basis we could try to pay off U.S. Treasuries.”

    Some people have this weird idea that printing your own money means you can never run out of money. They’d be less dangerous if they weren’t running the government.

    Reply
  28. Neither of those countries has an economically diverse economy that can absorb an injection of government spending, whereas countries like the U.S. do. It’s all about balancing government spending against demand and growth. Taxation can be used to slow growth and spending. It serves as a counterbalance to government spending.

    Reply
  29. Wrong. If that were the case, then there would be no money in circulation in the first place. Also, a quick read of the constitution establishes that the Treasury has the sole authority to coin money. The U.S. government does not need to tax or sell bonds to have money since it can create it with a keystroke. If you went to the IRS to pay your taxes in cash, they would just shred the money, because they don’t need your money to be able to pay for things. Moreover, taxes serve the purpose of ‘destroying’ money, since it takes money out of the economy.

    Reply
  30. You get inflation when the productive capacity cannot meet demand. You have not established that federal U.S. federal spending does this. For this reason, your argument fails.

    Reply
  31. “Plan on remaining involved in whatever the transformed production and value adding efforts are.”

    This will work for some people, it can’t work for everyone especially as, at some point, you may have to be a rock start to stay in the work force. On the other hand, if you are reading this website of your own free will, you probably have more on the ball than most people.

    “Acquire and maintain expertise in a useful area.”

    Good luck figuring out where this will be, but yeah, do try. Oddly enough, the politicians and lawyers (and an awful lot of the politicians are lawyers) may be the last ones standing. So much for “in a useful area.”

    “Gain a good reputation with others. Ideally with those with wealth, power and influence.”

    Try not to confuse this with brownnosing.

    “Gain greater power and influence for yourself.”

    “Power is not a means, it is an end.” — George Orwell
    But on the other hand, there are darn few of us that turn away when it may be gained.

    “Gain wealth and income that is diversified. Future diversification means major shift with AI or technology or jobs or companies or industries will not take out all of your wealth and income.”

    Or, you know, invest a fair amount in AI itself. Lots of room for diversification, even within AI.

    “Another strategy would be to become debt free while owning an acceptable house and income generating asset as soon as possible. This would where you could transition to a jobless mode without major difficulty.”

    Get it while the getting is good. Check.

    “There are effective debt reduction methods and overall plans to get rid of all debts.” True, whether you’ve done that or not, the most important one whether you still have debt or not, is “Live below your means.”

    Reply
  32. I’m not sure about your replicator comment though. Cell phones were once considered miracles of technology that indicated status and were only possessed by the wealthy. Now 90% of adults worldwide own them, and the even the most basic models can do things that would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. 3D printing, digital photography, internet access are all dropping in price while advancing in quality and becoming more widespread.

    Reply
  33. Yes there will be a few things that won’t be free (or very close to free). Beach-front property perhaps. Though I can envision a town deciding to create a scenic lake and then using 1000 robots (or 10,000 or 100,000…their marginal cost will be almost zero) to complete the project in a month, complete with luxurious villas for every resident. When labor becomes too cheap to meter, the world will be transformed into something we won’t recognize.

    Reply
  34. I certainly hope it’s in the next 10-15 years, as I’ve got a good chance of living that much longer.

    Five years? No freaking way, unless somebody has been developing something in secret for years.

    “There will be no more money. Everything will cost as much as a free tooth pick.
    In my book that’s called utopia.”

    Hey, you know what “utopia” means, literally? “Nowhere”. So, we’re in agreement.

    Even in a world of Drexlerian nanotechnology, desktop replicators, and so many solar power satellites they darken the sky, everything will not be “free”, because there will still be scarce resources, and thus need for a system to allocate them.

    You can’t give every beach bum a super-yacht, unless maybe you want to be able to walk across the Pacific without getting your feet wet. You can’t let everybody have access to unlimited energy, unless you want the urban heat island effect to raise the temperature in cities 50 degrees, with hurricane force updrafts. (Read an SF novel where that happened.)

    There are physical and resource limits regardless of your production technology. And so the need to ration, and so the need for money.

    And that’s without even mentioning that the people who invent the replicator, just possibly, might not give it away for free…

    Reply
  35. In the tail end of a hyperinflation, when all the other employees of the Mint have gone begging for food because their morning pay won’t cover the cost of a meal by evening, the heroic Secretary of the Treasury is walking down the deserted streets of Washington. Acting with steelly resolve, he reaches down, and snags one of the billion dollar bills blowing down the street.

    He runs some quick numbers in his head, and scribbles 5 additional zeros on the bill, to get ahead of the trend, and signs it. Crisis averted, the nation is now flush!

    Is that how you picture it going down?

    Reply
  36. “The U.S. federal gov’t is monetarily sovereign, which means it can never run out of money to pay for things, since it is the source of money.”

    Stop thinking of numbers on a screen and think of what money means. Money is just shorthand for “resources and labour”. If there is more demand and less supply of resources and labour, then there is less to go around. What the numbers in the bank accounts do is not going to help that.

    The government can give everyone a billion dollars, but that doesn’t increase the amount of cars or food or healthcare. That is determined by how many people are working and how productive they are, compared to how many people want to use cars or food or healthcare.

    Reply
  37. The source of the money is the U.S. tax payer. Money is borrowed from others and paid back with taxes, or taxed directly from the the tax payer. Both modes of debt lower overall productivity of the U.S. In essence, you kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. Or slowly choke it. Europe has much lower wealth per capita than the U.S. due to social programs. They gave up a chance to get ahead for implied safety nets. That has led to higher unemployment and slow growth. Taxes and debt are a downward spiraling trap.

    Reply
  38. “Increasing debt will make it difficult to provide more money for medical and social benefit programs.” Wrong. The U.S. federal gov’t is monetarily sovereign, which means it can never run out of money to pay for things, since it is the source of money. Learn MMT.

    Reply
  39. Hi Ronald,
    if it is going to become a post-scarcity society, I hope it is fast. The slow transition is the nightmare. Say there are some kinds of AI intelligence bottlenecks we don’t foresee that don’t make post-scarcity impossible, but drag it out. Imagine a quarter or half of the workforce unemployed. The Great Depression saw unemployment hit 25% and that resulted in soup kitchen queues and Hooverville! It starts soon, with drivers unemployed, and possibly longer-term *unemployable!* What we really need is the remaining workers to be so productive the government can guarantee a UBI that offers a quality of life for the unemployables. Imagine the UBI starts off at $20k a year. What would people do? Shack up together with a few families living together in shared homes? How could they combine their incomes in alternative shared home arrangements? But eventually the UBI would rise until everyone was pretty much on $100k or more, and as the robot-industrial-ecosystem took over production, people would be free to invest their time in whatever research or hobbies or communities grabbed their interest. The top 1% of the smartest of us might research with the AI of the future out of sheer boredom and solve the challenges and questions of tomorrow. Me? I would campaign for my local town to volunteer to architecturally transition to look like all the best towns and castles from Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings — while also commanding an army of drones to kill pests on the Great Barrier Reef and rid Australia of feral animals. But that’s my thing. What’s your way to spend maybe the equivalent of $300k a year for the next 1000 years — especially when everyone you know is on the same human pocket-money allowance? 😉

    Reply
  40. Wow, get rid of the pessimism and get your head out of the sand. If you can live anouther 5 to 10 years you won’t die of old age. Death will be optional for you.

    Richard Parfett, when we increase your IQ by 500% in the near future you personally will be able to solve both the problems of climate change and extinction will be a thing of the past.

    Fred D, what scientific study led you to believe we will be gone in 5 years barring some unforeseen natural disaster?

    Shigg you are absolutely right, but thinking further ahead what will be consequences of all work being done by robots? (Since money is a barter system my time for your time) There will be no more money. Everything will cost as much as a free tooth pick.
    In my book that’s called utopia.

    Reply

Leave a Comment