Chapter 1 - The Future
|41 All the more reason to worry that, in America in
1991, just 50.8 percent of children lived in traditional nuclear families (families where
both parents were present and the children were the biological offspring of both parents).
Among Hispanics, the figure was 38 percent; among Afro-Americans, 27 percent.42
Says The Economist's survey: "When men find it impossible to provide, they also seem to find it difficult to learn the nurturing bits. They may retreat into fundamentalist masculinity - the world of gangs which provides for their members a kind of rule-based behaviour that boys do not get elsewhere."
Those who lack earning power, who lack self-esteem, those who get pregnant young and don't marry, those who marry young but don't have training in parenthood, and those who are poor are those most at risk of failing as parents. In turn their children have the hardest time breaking out of the poverty trap. And unfortunately that trap is not going away.
As Jeremy Rifkin puts it so well in his brilliant book The End of Work: "The Information age has arrived. In the years ahead, new, more sophisticated software technologies are going to bring civilization ever closer to a near-workerless world. In the agricultural, manufacturing and service sectors, machines are quickly replacing human labour, and promise an economy of near automated production by the mid-decades of the 21st century. The wholesale substitution of machines for workers is going to force every nation to rethink the role of human beings in the social process."
Even if no other factor demanded a learning revolution - and a corresponding social revolution - that paragraph screams out for one.
13. The active aging of the population
Just as economies are
dramatically changing, so are demographics. And the most striking trend in developed
countries is the active aging of the population.
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