2020 and beyond: heightened climate activism, wealth divides, gender power shifts, entertainment economy


The most recent Good Weekend magazine, which reaches over 1 million readers in Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald, Brisbane Times and Melbourne’s The Age, included a compact feature interview with me titled Meet the futurist with 2020 vision.

Below are some brief excerpts, or read the full article:

Answering these questions is invigorating stuff. But it’s all in a day’s work for futurist Ross Dawson, chairman of the Future Exploration Network, who compares the trajectory of major social movements to a tiny crystal spreading out across an entire frozen block. Take climate change. “The anger and frustration among those who accept the science of climate change is growing, while the position of the deniers is becoming more deeply entrenched,” he says. “This will lead to even greater polarisation. I find it impossible to imagine a scenario in which climate activism will reduce.”

Wage growth is likely to remain tepid in 2020, with an expansion in low-wage jobs resulting in a widening wealth divide. “If anything, Baby Boomers’ economic and political clout will increase because asset wealth will continue to outstrip income wealth, with Australia boasting one of the world’s most unaffordable housing markets,” Dawson says.

The #MeToo movement sparked a wider debate, not just about sexual harassment but the sexual abuse of power. “While there is the inevitable pushback against social movements like #MeToo, its larger implications – the balance of power between the genders – still has a long way to play out,” says Dawson. “The recent election of a young, female prime minister in Finland showed what’s possible.”

He predicts the era of peak entertainment content will only intensify in 2020. “More than $US100 billion is currently being spent in TV and film production across the Western world. With all our current existential worries, we’re looking for escapism.”

Image credit: Marcus Spiske