Book Review – The Next Hundred Million – America in 2050

The Next Hundred Million –  America in 2050 - by Joel Kotkin

With its population predicted to grow 100 million by 2050, Joel Kotkin envisions a resurgent U.S., according to an article in the Dallas Morning News written by Dr. Larry Allums.

Between 2000 and 2050, census data suggest, the U.S. 15-to-64 age group is expected to grow 42%.  In contrast, because of falling fertility rates, the number of young and working-age people is expected to decline elsewhere: by 10% in China, 25% in Europe, 30% in South Korea and more than 40 % in Japan.

Immigration will continue to be a major force in U.S. Life.  The United Nations estimates that 2 million people a year will move from poorer to developed nations over the next 40 years, and more than half of those will come to the U.S., the world’s preferred destination for educated, skilled migrants.

The new suburbia will be far more environmentally friendly, what I call “greenurbia.”  The Internet, wireless phones, video conferencing and other communication technologies will allow more people to work from home: at least one in four or five will do so full time or part time, up from roughly one in six or seven today.

Entrepreneurs, small businesses and self-employed workers will become more common.  Between 1980, and 2000 the number of self-employed individuals expanded, to about 15% of the work force.  More workers will live in an economic environment like that of Hollywood or Silicon Valley, with constant job hopping and changes in alliances among companies.

Describing America’s “fundamental strengths,” Kotkin ironically, but perhaps appropriately, employs a non-Anglo word: “These traits provide the United States with what Japanese scholar Fuji Kamiya has described as sokojikara; a reserve power that allows it to overcome both the inadequacies of its leaders and the foibles of its citizens.”

The America of 2050 will likely remain the one truly transcendent superpower in terms of society, technology and culture.  It will rely on what has been called America’s “civil religion” – its ability to forge a unique common national culture amid great diversity of people and place.  We have no reason to lose faith in the possibilities of the future.

Note from Petey: It is a hard book to read so I was delighted to have this article to rely on.  I must confess that I call myself an Edgy Conservative and therefore had a hard time not feeling offended because I still believe in the ethics, standard, ‘can do’ spirit, proud to be an American generation and hate to let that go with only a whimper of, “Oh, well … it’s time to let someone else take over” But, that’s just me. Read the book and see what you think.

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