Data is always boring, but it offers good support for reflections. To analyze the situation in which we find ourselves, to understand if there are sufficient reasons to be optimistic or if we need to resign ourselves to‘abyss of pessimism, I put the data in it and the reader, on his behalf, will derive reasons to be euphoric or depressed.
All the journalistic and television comments on the dying 2021 and all the forecasts for the 2022 that is born will dripping with references to the pandemic, the Green pass and the no vaxes. Therefore I abstain from it and divert the reader to other matters. The socio-economic system is, by its nature, a multifaceted prism. For lack of time and space, I will look at just six of these faces: demographics, gender, ecology, technology, economy, and leisure.
The world population is now 7.7 billion. Annex‘at the beginning of the century, in 2000, it was 6.1 billion. It took us a few million years to reach the first billion, to add l‘last billion it took us less than a decade. When we say 7.7 billion, we immediately think of as many mouths to feed but, fortunately, above every mouth there is a brain. Therefore our planet had never been inhabited by so many brains that think during the day and dream at night. Furthermore, never have so many brains been so educated and so interconnected.
In Italy, as we know, the resident population is decreasing and it is expected that in 2050 it will go from the current 59 to 54 million inhabitants. The average life expectancy is 83 years and, fortunately for us, it tends to grow despite the pandemic.
Every 20-year-old has 63 years of life ahead of him, equal to 551,880 hours. If even the‘working hours remained the current one, our 20-year-old would work 69 thousand hours in all and would have 483 thousand hours of non-work left. Excluding the hours devoted to sleep and body care, he would have 253,000 hours of total free time.
How to occupy all this time? How to avoid boredom and depression? How to grow intellectually? Will violence or social peace increase? The difference will be determined by our level of culture and intellectual curiosity. It will therefore be necessary to train ourselves in free time, starting today, more than we usually train in working time.
In an illuminating 1930 essay entitled “Economic Perspectives for Our Grandchildren,” the great economist John Maynard Keynes wisely predicted: “For the first time since its creation, the‘human being will be faced with his true, constant problem: how to use the free time that science el‘compound interest will have earned him, to live well, pleasantly and wisely “…
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