OPINION

Today and the generation of 2050

today-and-the-generation-of-2050

In future history books, 2020 (and perhaps also 2021) will come with an asterisk. The footnote will say that back in that year, humanity was under heavy pressure and things were very volatile. The old world was falling apart and the uncertainty about tomorrow was generating diverse and unprecedented reactions.

On Greece, it would probably say that the extremes of the 2010s and the questioning of everything gradually gave way to a broader, silent consensus and the need to rebuild a social code. However, this overall positive direction inevitably has to go through contradictions and setbacks, fluctuations and unexpected events.

The tension that the trial of Golden Dawn brought to society showed two things. First, the electoral weakening of the neofascist party provoked new alignments in society and gave birth to opportunistic and cross-cutting mobilizations.

Second, Nazism means one thing to a 70- or 80-year-old citizen and another to a 20- or 25-year-old. The Greece chapter of the history of tomorrow is likely to say that during the 2020s, new social mobility was generated by three factors: the coronavirus pandemic, inequalities in adapting to technological change, and the degree of access to new knowledge.

Behind and parallel to these parameters, fresh tensions emerge as the limits and the responsibilities of the state regarding public education remain unclear (to society) and in flux (in terms of policy).

In the future countries will clearly be influenced by a new class of citizens that will replace the typical 20th century middle class. The key characteristic of this new class will be its flexibility in different environments and its ability to perceive change.

To paraphrase historian Yuval Noah Harari, its members will be more skilled but not necessarily more wise. The young Greeks of 2050 will examine what is being born today with a critical mind. 

It is impossible to predict what the world will look like in the near future, but it is clear that the politics of today will largely determine the global competitiveness status of the next “new generation.”