Archive for category Information Society
As the US economy slowly rebuilds and the smoke from four years of charred capital starts to dissipate, we can discern the shape of the next 20 years of job growth. What we see is an economy unlike any we’ve ever known.
The recovery needs to be revolutionary, because our most recent financial meltdown laid bare a fundamental change in the US economy. Since sometime in the 1970s—economists generally agree on the trend, if not the exact date—the US has been increasingly divided into two groups: those whose economic fortunes grow and those whose wages stay stagnant. This divide has many potential causes, including the rise in global trade, technological advances, the decline in unions, and slowing growth in education. But the full impact of these shifts was long masked, first by the stock market bubble and then by a massive credit and housing bubble, which flooded the economy with money we hadn’t really earned. For nearly 20 years we felt richer than we were.
Now, as the economy slowly rebounds, it is doing more than just gaining jobs. By looking closely at data from both government and academic sources, we can see the gradual emergence of a whole new category of middle-class jobs: a realm of work that (given time and luck) could begin to close the chasm in American employment. These new middle-class jobs are what you might call smart jobs. They’re innovative and high tech, but most of them are located far from Silicon Valley or New York. They’re specialized, but that doesn’t mean you need a PhD or even (in some cases) a college degree to get them or to do them well—though they do require some serious training, whether on the job or in a vocational program.
In 2011, expect companies to monitor consumers’ public moods and act upon them with random acts of kindness…marketing may never be the same 😉 Read more »
Are you ready for hundreds of millions of more daring, more experienced consumers? Oh, and that’s just one side effect of rapid global urbanization… Read more »
Flash sales, group buying, GPS-driven deals: this year, pricing will never be the same… Read more »
Expect an increasing number of ‘Western’ brands to launch new products or even new brands dedicated (if not paying proper respect) to consumers in emerging markets… Read more »
This year, you can’t go wrong supplying your (online-loving) customers with any kind of symbol, virtual or ‘real world’, that helps them display to peers their online contributions, creations or popularity…Read more »
As good health is now as important to some consumers as having the biggest, newest or shiniest status symbols, growing numbers of consumers will expect health products and services in the next 12 months (and beyond) to prevent misery (if not improve their quality of life), rather than merely treating illnesses and ailments… Read more »
Expect even more consumers to become curators: broadcasting, compiling, commenting, sharing and recommending content, products, purchases, and experiences to both their friends and wider audiences… Read more »
Brands and wealthy individuals from emerging markets (yes, especially China) will increasingly be expected to give, donate, care and sympathize versus just sell and take. And not just in their home countries, but on a global scale… Read more »
With lifestyles having become fragmented, with dense urban environments offering consumers any number of instantly available options, and with cell/smartphones having created a generation who have little experience of making (or sticking to) rigid plans, this new year will see full-on PLANNED SPONTANEITY… Read more »
When it comes to ‘green consumption’, expect a rise in ECO-SUPERIOR products: products that are not only eco-friendly, but superior to polluting incumbents in every possible way… Read more »
This could be the year when sharing and renting really tips into mainstream consumer consciousness as big brands and governments put their weight behind this cultural shift… Read more »
Why the old model of command and control regulation doesn’t work, and how increased transparency and public participation will replace it
…Some of the issues that challenge today’s regulators include the sclerotic pace of rule making, growing economic complexity, increasing international interdependency, the corrosive influence of “junk science” and industry lobbying, and a broadly insufficient capacity for effective oversight.
Arguably some of today’s troubles are self-inflicted. After dismantling or circumscribing centralized regulatory agencies in the 1980s and 1990s, many governments handed industry the power to police itself in areas ranging from toxic emissions to financial services. The thinking was that government regulation was too burdensome and costly, and the mechanics of updating it were clunky. Delegating rule making to industry bodies would make regulation more responsive to the needs of industries that were evolving quickly and becoming increasingly global in scope. Governments were to be the “regulators of last resort”—stepping in only after self-regulation was deemed to have failed.
The problem, in practice, is that most instances of industry self-regulation have deficiencies (like lax rules or inadequate enforcement) and governments (for the most part) have proven unable or unwilling to take swift action when market failures become evident. Indeed, after years of chronic underfunding, it should be no surprise that many regulatory agencies are ill equipped to pick up the slack, let alone confront novel challenges for which they have neither the resources nor the expertise…