Writing in today's Guardian, Deborah Orr draws our attention to the HSBC report, The World in 2050. It predicts that in 39 years time we (the UK) will be the sixth largest economy in the world, barely affected by the vast Eastward-moving structural adjustment in the global economy. I share Deborah's view that this is sheer fantasy, and commend her formulation of an alternative vision:
It involves the adoption of serious, sober, studious, self-improving and circumscribed lives that are quiet and careful, disciplined and thrifty, packed with work, mostly unpaid, highly reliant on "simple pleasures" for satisfaction and self-fulfilment, and held together by a small but tremendously reliable and highly decentralised state.
She concludes: There was a brief vogue for discussion about the adoption of such Quaker-like existences just as the crash came, but people very quickly realised that they didn't actually fancy it all that much, really. Instead, the hope is still to have it all, for ever, and in this the only real difference between the mainstream left and the mainstream right is how the fantasy gets dressed up. Happy 2050.