Here are some of the real issues we’re facing right now:
1. The UK and the USA have ageing populations. The baby boom was from 1946-1964, so in 2016 a great wave of people started turning 70. Every day for the next 10 years will be a new world record for the most people turning 70. When populations age, productivity slows, incomes goes flat and governments don’t collect much in taxes.
2. Millennials aren’t settling down. People aged 20-35 are in a bind thanks to debt, low wages and expensive houses. They don’t get married, they don’t buy homes and they don’t have kids until much later in life. They’re also not interested in buying the big houses that the baby boomers want to sell at 15-20x the average wage.
3. Technology is replacing jobs. The USA is manufacturing twice as much as it did in the 80’s with less than a third of the people in manufacturing – automation is taking jobs, not China. The teen at the Tesco check-out is gone, so is the manager who checks the inventory, so is the store accountant who reports the daily takings. To put it in comparison, Vodafone has over 100,000 employees and WhatsApp has less than 250. New technology doesn’t create jobs, it obliterates them. Driving jobs will soon be gone due to driverless cars, vans, lories and busses. The accountancy industry will shrink by over 80% due to technology and so will many other industries. Schools are teaching our children to give them the skills they need for jobs that don’t even exist yet!
4. Governments have no clue how to tax global companies or the rich. In 2020 66% of the world will be online and the labour market will be truly globalised. In a globalised world, a geographically defined government can’t keep up with the movement of cash bouncing around the world at the speed of light. This leaves it with very few options but to expand its borrowing to pay for the things we demand. In particular the baby boomers want healthcare at a time when governments are losing tax payers.
These four big issues are either your friend or your enemy. You either see the benefits of technology and demographics or you see them as a threat.
Your entrepreneurial mind can turn adversity into opportunity. It can see solutions where others see problems, and you can create a business that surfs the waves others are dumped by.