Global Risks 2012
Dystopia, the opposite of a utopia, describes a place where life is full of hardship and devoid of hope. Analysis of linkages across various global risks reveals a constellation of fiscal, demographic and societal risks signalling a dystopian future for much of humanity. The interplay among these risks could result in a world where a large youth population contends with chronic, high levels of unemployment, while concurrently, the largest population of retirees in history becomes dependent upon already heavily indebted governments. Both young and old could face an income gap, as well as a skills gap so wide as to threaten social and political stability.
The word dystopia describes what happens when attempts to build a better world unintentionally go wrong. This case considers how current fiscal and demographic trends could reverse the gains brought by globalization and prompt the emergence of a new class of critical fragile states formerly wealthy countries that descend into lawlessness and unrest as they become unable to meet their social and fiscal obligations. Such states could be developed economies where citizens lament the loss of social entitlements, emerging economies that fail to provide opportunities for their young population or to redress rising inequalities, or least-developed economies where wealth and social gains are declining.
Two dominant issues of concern emerged from the Arab Spring, the Occupy movements worldwide and recent similar incidents of civil discontent: the growing frustration among citizens with the political and economic establishment, and the rapid public mobilization enabled by greater technological connectivity. A macro and longer-term interpretation of these events highlights the need to improve the management of global economic and demographic transformations that stand to increasingly define global social trends in the decade to come.
These trends are evolving differently across developed, emerging and least developed economies. In developed economies, such as those of Western Europe, North America and Japan, the social contract that has in recent decades been taken for granted is in danger of being destroyed. Workers nearing retirement fear cutbacks in social entitlements they have grown up to expect, such as state pensions, pre-established retirement age and guaranteed access to quality healthcare.
Meanwhile, young adults in this same group of economies realize that they are part of a compressed labour force that is expected to support a growing population of elderly citizens, while bearing the brunt of austerity measures required to offset growing national debts. At the same time, these same youths must save enough to provide for their own old-age needs in the most challenging economic climate in a generation. Experts anticipate that high unemployment rates will increasingly co-exist with employers unmet demands for skilled labour a sign that many young people may lack the skills needed to make the necessary economic and social contributions.
Present dystopia. Social and political instability "threatening" the dystopic status quo and power structures offers a way out of continuous dystopia getting just worse and worse.
It only expresses discontent, it does not offer solutions to reconcile the possible with what has been promised.
as I understand the meaning of the word, refers to discontinuity of structures recreating dystopic situation.
No need to assume dystopia is some sort of natural state that requires proactive solutions to rectify, when in fact creation of dystopia takes huge amount of continuous active effort, work that is not only unnecessary but harmful. To put in more simply, no need to try to fix the world gone batshit, just remove the cause of problems or rather let it dissolve by itself.
As a concrete example, don't try to save bankrupt banks "too big to fail" and fix things and then refix and refix and refix with new and new bailouts etc. etc. that just cause more and more problems. Just sit down, do nothing and let the banks fail. And when banks fail, that means "instability" and discontinuity of their structural ability to upkeep, recreate and worsen dystopic situations for humanity and planet.
Don't try to fix problems, just stop causing them.
Without the financial system as we know it, what is the basis of fulfilling obligations?
Does that simply invalidate it all?
Interest on debt? And all the dystopian destruction fulfilling those promises requires
Or food, clothes and shelter and satisfaction of basic needs? Financial system has never been doing that but the opposite, dystopian artificial scarcity in world of abundance.
Eutopia (or Utopia), the opposite of dystopia, has historical roots that go back to European descriptions of "primitive" native way of life of American tribes.
If that were true, the vast majority of Americans should be content. Also what are basic needs? Cable TV? Entertainment? Travel money? Cell phones? 2000 square foot house? Football? Our expectations as to what we are promised as Americans goes way beyond the necessities.
together with many others blinded by greed, power and money - and fear - closing their hearts and minds. It's nothing new, same sickness of European imperialists everywhere they went, and the roots of that sickness go very deep. But the process of healing and getting balanced is also going on as we speak.
As for basic needs, there is great individual variety, but close enough general approximation for many practical purposes is expressed by Maslow's hierarchy of needs: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs
PS edit: what you said about Americans first associated with small child having a tantrum at parents when not being promised and given what it wants. Good thing about childish tantrums is that they don't last long, in the next moment the child will be playing again happily.