I’m sure that in 1985 plutonium is available in every corner drugstore

This has been kicking around the internet for a couple of days. Back in 1931, a bunch of high-powered brainwheels were asked to make predictions about what the world would look like in 80 years time. Would we all be wearing anti-gravity boots of reconstituted wine gums, or powering our cars with schadenfreude in 2011? they were asked.

Some of them didn’t do badly.

WJ Mayo said life expectancy in the US would shuffle upwards from 58 to the Biblical three score  years and ten. Good effort WJ: apparently it stands at 77 and a bit, clever clogs.

William Ogburn seemed to be troubled by a crazed utopian-dystopian dream, some of which is knuckle-gnawingly near the bone.

Inevitable technological progress and abundant natural resources yield a higher standard of living. Poverty will be eliminated and hunger as a driving force of revolution will not be a danger. Inequality of income and problems of social justice will remain. Crises of life will be met by insurance.


The role of government is bound to grow. Technicians and special interest groups will leave only a shell of democracy. The family cannot be destroyed but will be less stable in the early years of married life, divorce being greater than now. The lives of woman will be more like those of men, spent more outside the home. The principle of expediency will be the dominating one in law and ethics.

I especially like  crises of life will be met by insurance. On the other hand, I’m a bit worried by the effortless speed with which he glided from “shell of democracy” to “women outside the home.” Presumably he didn’t quite mean ‘democracy will crumble and so the women will all escape’, but, having said that, he was employed by Herbert hell-in-a-handcart Hoover.

Anyway, inspired by all this, I’m going to have a go at making three predictions about 2091 so that long after I’m gone, folk can still goggle at my living-in-a-skip-with-Shergar stupidity.

1. In 2091, everyone will be in prison. I don’t mean in the metaphoric, clever sense of ‘Denmark’s a prison’ like Hamlet says. I mean literally  everyone. We’ll all be locked up for our own safety. Last week Michael Howard told the Today Programme, he still thinks ‘prison works.’ “We’ve seen a very significant increase in the prison since 1993,” he said. “And we’ve seen an almost halving in the rate of crime.” His thinking is this, “It’s only common sense: if you send to prison persistent and serious criminals, then while they are in prison, they are not at liberty to commit crimes against the public.” So the logical conclusion of that is, if you lock up everyone, then no one is at liberty to commit crimes against the public. Statistical target slain through the eyes. Boo yaa.

2. In 2091, no one will be able to remember what liquorice was. Information super highway and all that. We’re bound to forget something. My money’s on that grinning man who’s made of sweets and walks with a stick.

3. in 2091, Queen Elizabeth II will still be alive and reigning, aged 165. She ain’t going nowhere that one. Definitely still strong in 2091. But in prison.

~ by David Thorley on December 16, 2010.

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