High-confidence predictions

On the weekends, I cook and listen to podcasts. Today was Razib Khan’s interview with demographer Eric Kaufmann and, combined with the usual flurry of January prediction posts, it made me wonder what highly confident statements we can make about 2050 based on what’s true today.

It’s hotter
Your parents’ carbon emissions over the last thirty years guarantee the planet will be (at least) 1.5 degrees warmer than today in 2050. Extreme weather events will be more common. Read the IPCC report for the updated models and choose your property investments accordingly.

It’s probably sicker
Looking at rates of childhood obesity today, it’s likely that we’ll see a higher level of healthcare required for a younger generation than historical norms. Hard to see how sugar (and equivalents) probably aren’t banned by then.

It’s more religious
Statistically, religious couples have higher reproductive rates than secular couples (this is also driven by poorer versus wealthier nations). But, at least based on current fertility trends, it virtually guarantees that the world’s population will be more, not less, religious.

It’s possibly wealthier
Although a lot has been written on this generation being less well-off than their parents (they currently are), much of that wealth will get inherited.

It’s more highly taxed
National balance sheets are funded by the future. Several are at historic levels of leverage (or at least since WW2). This doesn’t just disappear.

This sounds depressing! I must think about a glass half-full version.

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