The United States Has Entered a New Era in History

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The United States Has Entered a New Era in History

To understand how momentous this trend is, we need to take a step back to get a better perspective. The primary mission of Trends is to prepare our subscribers to anticipate the threats and opportunities they’ll face in the future. Most of these threats and opportunities occur at the intersection of three broad forces: demographics, technology, and values.

Demographics, or who we are, is the most stable of these forces in that it describes society’s population size, income distribution, racial makeup, age makeup, educational attributes, and family structures. The needs of people change as their age, income, health status, racial background, and physical location changes. These variables change only slowly, if at all. Trends analyzes evolving patterns in demographics to help you anticipate the implications of changing demography.

Technology is rapidly changing, but with rare exceptions its sophistication and penetration increases over time, and its cost decreases. Therefore, we often speak of technological trajectories. Technology determines how we are able meet the needs of people. Trends monitors evolving technologies from their infancy in academic papers through the commercial lifecycle so that you aren’t blindsided.

Values, or attitudes, include the beliefs and assumptions of the people in a society. Values tell us why we do certain things, and choose not to do others. They shift more slowly than technology, but more rapidly than demographics. Values determine what we perceive to be our needs and how we prioritize them. Trends constantly takes the pulse of the nation’s values so you know how consumers’ needs and wants are evolving.

An understanding of those three variables provides the crucial insights needed to understand the present and anticipate the future.

Most of the time, our reporting focuses on a very specific trend; a new demographic group, a newly emerging customer preference, or a change enabled by technological evolution. We examine its immediate implications, and our forecasts grow directly out of those implications.

However, it’s sometimes necessary to discuss the long-range secular trends that provide the context within which other trends must be interpreted. This is one such moment.

From 1968 to 2004, we’ve lived in a so-called “libertarian era.” Every year, we could count on the free market becoming increasingly accepted as the economic “gold standard.” Just as surely, every year brought socialism and the welfare state into disrepute...

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