Correia sees it both ways:
Where are we headed in twenty years? I see two distinct possibilities. If we continue down our current path of ever-growing government, increasing dependency, bloated bureaucracy, and never-ending spending, then within twenty years we will see an economic collapse like the world has never known. My background is as a finance guy, and I can’t even wrap my brain around what we’re doing right now. Our current policies are simply incoherent. There simply aren’t enough producers to pay for that many consumers’ good time, yet both parties (however, one far more than the other) keep on proposing new methods to set money on fire.
Neither side wants to cut their pet projects, but we are simply broke. Every time anyone talks about cutting anything, there is an institutional freak-out because that particular program is so vital and important and regardless of what it is, cutting it will be the end of the world. So nobody ever cuts anything. They are called budget cuts, not budget pillows or budget cuddles. Cuts are supposed to hurt.
The other possibility is that enough of the American people say to hell with this, and put their foot down. The Tea Party movement gives me hope in that respect. If enough of America’s producers stand up against the bloat, then we are overdue for an economic boom. Companies are sitting on their hands right now because they are scared of the future. Remove that fear, let them know that their government isn’t going to screw them for a while, and we are overdue for an economic boom.
For Hoyt, it’s the economic and freeing possibilities of new technology which she believes will bring us out of the current malaise:
There are breaches in the wall. We’re not there yet, but we’re starting to see an age where information is power and information is cheap, a time when individuals can live anywhere and work anywhere, which means territorial governments better play nice or else, a time when skilled labor is everything and education is at everyone’s fingertips, if they want it.
It’s a stance with which Kratman disagrees. He sees civilization dissolving and a new dark age on the way:
A new civil war (will break out) in China with a probable break-up of the PRC into perhaps five groupings. Australia will continue its progress in enviro-fascistic seppuku. For a while. Then all the lampposts in Sidney, Perth, Canberra, Melbourne, etc. will acquire new decorations. As will those in Sacramento, L.A., San Francisco, D.C., Boston, New York, Chicago, Atlanta.…
I don’t know if the United States will finally break up. I do expect us to descend into a civil war in the manner of Beirut in the 1980s — on steroids. I further expect a nasty war with racial overtones in Cali … excuse me, Mexifornia and the southwest, as we have to fight to retain our righteously stolen gains of 1846 to 1848.
Latin America? Hopeless.
In short, it’s all going to crap and there’s little or nothing we can do about it to stop it.
Correia thinks it’s fixable:
In twenty years, either we are living in a nation slowly going broke and dwindling in importance on its road to decline, or we are living in the America that we want to live in.
I suppose there could be a middle path, where we keep on doing what we’re doing and things somehow stay about the same for our society, but I doubt it. It is make-or-break time.
I grew up on a dairy farm. Every now and then you would have a cow become terminally bloated. It is actually a medical condition in a ruminant animal where gas has built up in its stomach and has become trapped. This can be, and often is, extremely fatal. When you have a cow that is terminally bloated, and you haven’t been able to release the gas through other less invasive means (like a hose jammed down its throat), you’ve either got to stab the cow in the stomach (with a device called a bloat knife) to let out all the pent up gas, or you let it die. Stabbing the cow is always dangerous, always painful, and sometimes still deadly anyway. America is our cow, and it is about to pop, yet many of our politicians want to stick that cow to an air compressor and try to blow her up like a balloon. It is time to cut or die.
So that’s the take from the SF futurists: without a major change of course, America as we know it is doomed.