Futurism: America Beyond 2001
The bridge to the 21st century is under construction, and the only way we’re going to be able to build it quickly and correctly is if we understand the technological challenges ahead of us. If we ignore those challenges, then we’ll likely end up in the river. These are market-driven challenges for industry, and anytime the marketplace challenges us, that’s a tremendous opportunity for business growth and profitability. Global market forces are opening up these new opportunities, and they’re driving the development of new technology and products.
There are many new innovations and a great incline in the development of new technology. Richard Alm agrees and states that:
Few Americans would deny today’s technology explosion. Even in this era of supercomputers, space travel, and cloning, though, technology isn’t always seen as a boom (20).
While thinking of what will come, an allusion to a literary work comes up and describes a Rip Van Winkle later in the future that awakes to "the whoosh of trains being propelled through the air by superconducting magnets" (Elmer-DeWitt 42). This is what is to come very soon with the push of technology along with such innovations as "7-ft. TV images as crisp as 35-mm slides and enticing new food products concocted in the lab" (42).
The United States has missed several opportunities to overcome such technological countries like Japan. One of which was America’s chance to patent "hydrogen-storing alloys that are used in tiny batteries for … notebook computers" (Black 168).
After reflecting these thoughts, Philip Elmer-DeWitt says that if our fictional character Rip Van Winkle were to:
… read the labels on those futuristic creations, he might also discover the outcome of America’s struggle to remain the leading technological superpower. Sad to say, a majority of those products might well bear the words MADE IN JAPAN (42).
Advantages and disadvantages come about from being involved in the global market. The "expanding world markets are a key driving force for the 21st century economy" (Mandel 67). Michael J. Mandel states that "…the severe slump in Asia points [out] the vulnerabilities of the global market place, but the long-term trends of fast-rising trade and rising world incomes still remain in place" (67).
De-Witt continues by saying that this is "the worrisome analysis of U.S. experts in government, industry and academia" (42). He finishes up with the thought that:
Virtually every week seems to bring fresh evidence that Japan is catching up with the U.S. – often surpassing it – in creating the cutting-edge products that long were the turf of U.S. firms (42)
The changes that have occurred in America are becoming ever more clear and will be even more evident in the near future and Tom Morganthau agrees with the statement that "The percentage of Latinos, African-Americans and Asians will jump, and whites could become a minority as early as the 2050s" (57). He also states, "there are signs that Americans are adapting to ethnic diversity – and there are forces at work that will tend to obscure it" (58). "The intermarriage rate between blacks and whites, while still small, is rising, and the number of Latinos marrying across ethnic lines is increasing as well" (58). Many changes in America’s culture are coming about with the rise of the new generations and some traditions and cultural habits may become lost in the mixture of society in America.
New ways of life will come about in this new millennium. "We are conscious of … the desperate need for new ways for people to make money in our society, particularly ways that create jobs" (Gordon 17). The market changes are becoming more apparent as well in the coming years by analyzing the past.
Opportunities such as when the "U.S. electronics firms licensed away their breakthroughs in televisions and VCRs, materials companies divested theirs to foreign competitors" (Black 168). Such market changes could easily bring the market to a screeching halt and Americans would become completely dependent upon other countries.
Some examples of new markets that will be coming about would include "microelectronics… video imaging…superconductivity…[and] biotechnology…" (Elmer-De-Witt 43).
Advances in medicine are becoming evidently clearer. "The burgeoning field known as tissue engineering didn’t even exist 15 years ago" (Cowley 66). Cowley states "Today its pioneers are finding that almost any biological material can be coaxed