Let’s face it, the world is on a tightrope right now. The current pandemic will likely cause changes even faster than before, and it will now happen on a very broad scale. That is what this post is all about.
I hate to break it to all of you who are panicked about the pace of change, but you ain’t seen nothin yet!
There is a distinct feeling among those who study change that a break with the past is currently happening and our nation and society will be radically different from the way we now are. If anything that change will likely be accelerated by the current pandemic.
Here are some examples of that.
- Supply Lines — Our supply chains to pharmaceuticals that hamper rapid development of critically needed drugs, along with patent abuses are coming to the forefront. Changing this will require more efficient, far more resilient government approach that will replace our failed, 40-year experiment with market-based incentives. Even with our very divided government we will soon see laws and regulations for more direct government driven responsibility for the development and manufacture of medicines. It is now quite evident that it is just too dangerous to leave this totally in the hands of private for-profit industries.
- Going Virtual — One institution that would greatly benefit from this change is the U.S. Congress. We need Congress that continues working through the current and future crisis, but given social distancing doing so in person is not a wise option. Instead, this is a great time for congresspeople to return to their districts and start the process of permanent virtual legislating. Lawmakers will be closer to the voters they represent and a virtual Congress is harder to lobby. Party conformity also might loosen with representatives realizing local loyalties over party ties. Wouldn’t that alone be worth the change?
- Representation –– The House has not grown meaningfully in size in almost a hundred years, which means that a representative, on average, speaks for 770,000 constituents, rather than the 30,000 the Founding Fathers mandated. If we demonstrate that a virtual Congress can do the job as well or better using 21st-century technologies, rather than 18th-century ones, perhaps we could return the house to the 30,000:1 ratio George Washington prescribed.
- Job Displacement — By 2022 alone, 75 million jobs will likely be displaced across the developing world, while 133 million new ones will spring up in industries that are only just gaining traction. In 10 years time, 50% of jobs will be changed by automation – but only 5% eliminated. 9 out of 10 jobs will require digital skills. Young, low-skilled and vulnerable people – all need help with up-skilling.
It’s estimated that nearly two-thirds of children who started school in 2016 will go on to have jobs that don’t yet exist.
- Up-skilling — The lack of up-skilling opportunities disproportionately affects populations who are already vulnerable today. Without addressing this need, we are headed towards a future of even more drastic inequality. There is a need to grow and support existing up-skilling initiatives for vulnerable populations, and there is an equal need for increased involvement from business leaders and the private sector in that effort.
These are just a few of the areas that will see tremendous changes in the coming years. If we REALLY want to make America Great, they need to have our full attention and support going forward. Resisting that change is a futile and damaging effort.