A Scene from the Future

by  Sam C. Chan
I'm often asked:

So, with your doom-and-gloom mind, what do you think
will happen?

Here's roughly my vision of what the American society will look like by 2033 (in 25 years).

August 8, 2008


  • substance & reality: knowledge & skills will actually determine success; not connections, capital, deceptions and various gimmicks & schemes
  • back to basics: no more excesses & waste

Societal Structure

  • downtowns across the US will be revitalized
  • agriculture: plant locally, eat locally, work locally, play locally
  • industries: modeled after Germany's post-war recovery
  • military:
    • compulsory military service for men
    • total active conscript to be merely 5% of present enlistment
    • total military budget to be less than 2% of current GDP share


  • OECD cartel and its smoke and mirror system long gone
  • World Bank and IMF naturally became obsolete
  • sophisticated near-cash barter system will be widespread
  • Americans will be doing out-sourced jobs for Germany and major Asian countries, but in a more restrained less exploitive scale
  • Highly educated Americans will avail themselves to work as au pairs in Germany, Brazil and Russia, and to a far less extend, to India and China as well
  • Once the unfair advantage of monetarism cease to be possible, virtually all remaining perception of the purported inherent "efficiency" in a so-called purely capitalistic system vanished by 2014, reversing to universal recognition of its inherent systemic inefficiency


  • pointless excessiveness and waste will vanish, as enforced by reality
  • volunteerism and community spirits revived to 1960s era level
  • 75% of current white collar work force will vanish
  • 75% of the remaining white collar work force will telecommute
  • those who physically commute will live very close to their workplaces
  • average dwelling reduced to 40% present size, cross-generational sharing common
  • public ground transportation utilization increase by 15 folds
    • rail system initially contracted to ICE/TGV makers and promptly stalled, due to payment default and mass protests, thus began domestic development
    • domestic/international air travel dropped to 5%/25% of present level
    • Joined global rail network (all continents except Australia)
  • sexual harassment/abuse incidents organically reduced
  • culinary skills emerge to prominence, as food becomes the "in" national passion
  • true substantive gender equality emerges for the first time in history by 2020
  • a new religion will be invented and adopted, which incorporates physical exercise


  • everyone will finally face reality and start learning some basic facts, for survival sake
  • foreign languages
    • the average person speaks 2 to 4 languages
    • German, French and Mandarin Chinese will rise in prominence
  • pollution relative to China: drastically drop
    • from the present 5x per capita/22x per capita-consumption
    • to 1.5x/2.5x respectively
  • Foreign aid as percentage of "federal" (or then equivalence) budget paradoxically rise
    • from current shameful 1% nominal/0.1% actual, to more than double that
    • even as GDP per-capita (PPP) ranking slides drastically downward
    • public perception of such ratio continues to be greatly exaggerate, but drops from persistent survey results of 30x down to a more realistic 10x
  • Remember the good old days in 2008?